Precautions Needed During Power Outage

Emergency Management Office

December 24, 2008 1:53 PM

In the wake of widespread power outages, the Emergency Management Office (EMO) and provincial officials are reminding Nova Scotians to use added caution in and outside their homes.

People are reminded to be particularly aware of dangers in places serviced only by electric-powered smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, which will not work during outages.

The fire marshal also offers the following safety tips:
-- Be sure battery-powered detectors and alarms have fresh batteries and are in good working condition.
-- Using candles is not recommended, but if you must use them, make sure they are properly supported. Use a non-combustible container that is larger than the candle and keep materials at least half a metre away. Extinguish all candles before leaving the room.
-- Put the correct fuel in portable appliances like Coleman stoves or oil lamps. Substituting fuels is extremely dangerous. Propane and liquid camp stoves are for outdoor use only.
-- Space heaters create carbon monoxide. Ensure they are used in rooms with good ventilation and placed on a flat hard surface to prevent tipping. Do not leave the units unattended. If using a portable, unvented kerosene heater, it is vital to open a window one inch or keep a door ajar to another room to provide safe ventilation, especially if the room is less than 13.5 sq. metres (150 sq. ft).
-- Generators should be operated in well ventilated locations outside away from doors, windows and vent openings so exhaust fumes cannot enter the home. Generators must be certified and connected to the electrical system of a house by an electrician. They should be used to power equipment such as lights, portable electric heaters and water pumps, and other equipment that may be connected directly by plug to the generator.

As always, in an emergency call 911.

The Department of Agriculture encourages consumers to be careful about foods in refrigerators or deep freeze units. Foods will generally stay safe in a refrigerator for several hours even without power, especially if the door is kept closed.

The department offers the following food safety tips:
-- Perishable food that has reached room temperature for more than two hours must be discarded. Also discard any food that feels warm or has an unusual odour or colour.
-- Any food in a deep freeze that is fully stocked is good for two days from the time of power failure.
-- Any food in a half-filled deep freeze is safe to eat for one day from the time of power failure.
-- Food retail outlets are advised to keep food below 4 C (40 F). Any perishable food left above this temperature for more than two hours should be discarded immediately.

For more information on food safety, call 902-424-1173, or visit the website at www.gov.ns.ca/agri/foodsafety/factsht/ .

For more information on power outages in specific neighbourhoods, call 902-428-6004 or 1-877-428-6004. Remember that many people are calling this number. Do not hang up; calls are taken in the order they are received.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     In the wake of widespread power outages, the Emergency

Management Office (EMO) and provincial officials are reminding

Nova Scotians to use added caution in and outside their homes.

     People are reminded to be particularly aware of dangers in

places serviced only by electric-powered smoke and carbon

monoxide detectors, which will not work during outages.

     The Department of Agriculture also encourages consumers to

be careful about foods in refrigerators or deep freeze units.
     
     As always, in an emergency call 9-1-1.

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Media Contact: David Rodenhiser
              Emergency Management Office
              902-424-0284
              Cell: 902-220-7956
              E-mail: rodenhde@gov.ns.ca