What to do in a winter power outage

blog-default Earlier this year, Nova Scotia was slammed by a winter storm that knocked out power across three provinces. The temperatures continue to drop as winter arrives, and homeowners should heighten home security precautions in preparation for potential power outages. Stay warm and safe Dress in layers and use plenty of throws to stay warm. If you have emergency blankets, this is a good time to use the items. Additionally, you'll want to think about pulling out any sleeping bags you own. If your family doesn't feel like moving around, huddle together for warmth. You can open the blinds open during the day to take advantage of the sun's heat and close it during the night to help keep out any drafts.  The Consumer Energy Center warns against using any kerosene heaters or other devices to heat your home that aren't specifically designed for indoor use, as these can produce carbon monoxide. You'll want to unplug any large electronics, such as computers and televisions. When the power is turned back on, there could be an electrical surge that may destroy your devices. Try to avoid opening your refrigerator or freezer, since the limited cold air will escape. The city of Boston pointed out that large snowdrifts can be used as makeshift refrigerators, but noted that it may also attract animals. Keep a battery-operated radio or television on-hand to stay on top of the news and for a better idea of when your home may get its power back. If there are any power lines that have fallen down outside, call your local electrical company and 911. If someone has been electrocuted, don't make physical contact with the victim, as the electricity could pass over to you. Instead, contact emergency services immediately. The CEC pointed out that elderly neighbors should be checked on regularly, since they can be more prone to hypothermia and exhibit fewer symptoms. It's important to recognize when emergency services are required and should be contacted. The group also pointed out that 911 services should only be called upon in real emergencies, since there will be many others who need help. Depending on how long the outage may go for, you may want to consider staying over at a relative's home or at a nearby hotel. Proper preparation and knowing what to do in a power outage will ensure that your family stays safe this winter.   Sources: http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/tips/winter_lightsout.html http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/winter-storm-wallops-maritimes-causing-gridlock-and-power-outages/article15769446/ http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/poweroutage/needtoknow.asp