Tips and reminders for when the power goes out

As thousands of New Hampshire homes remained without power Saturday, here are some tips and reminders about what to do when the power goes out.

The power company probably knows that electricity in your neighborhood is down, but just in case, call to let them know about the outage.

Unless there is an emergency, don’t call 911. Emergency workers won’t be able to help you with a power outage.

If power lines are down in your neighborhood, call 911 and your utility company. Don’t go near or try to touch downed power lines.

Listen to your battery-powered radio or TV, especially for news at the top of each hour, to find out when the power might be restored.

Dress to stay warm. Wear layers, including a sweater, sweatshirt or even a jacket. You lose heat through your hands and the top of your head, so wear gloves and a knit hat, not just a baseball cap.

Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer as much as possible. Food inside should stay cold for hours if the door is left closed.

If you’re cold, take a warm shower to increase your body temperature. Your hot water tank, even if electric, will stay warm for a few hours.

Unplug some of your major appliances. When the power comes back on, all of those appliances can create a drain or power surge that can harm sensitive equipment. Turn off TVs, stereos and other unnecessary electronic equipment at the power source, but leave a light on so you’ll know when the power is restored.

If you have a generator, don’t connect it to your home’s power system unless it has been properly installed and disconnects you from the main power grid when it’s operating. If you don’t disconnect from the power grid, you can be sending electricity back down the lines, not just to your home. That could be deadly for power company workers.

If you have a regular wood stove or fireplace, you can use it for heat. However, don’t attempt to use kerosene heaters, barbecues or any other type of outdoor heater. Such devices create poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide, an odorless and colorless gas that can be deadly.

Check on your elderly neighbors or those who may have medical conditions to make sure they’re dressed warmly. If they use medical machinery that operates on electricity, move them to a place where electricity is working.

If you have to go out, drive carefully. Remember that traffic signals may be out during a power outage. Consider each intersection to be a four-way stop and drive defensively.

The state offers several emergency services and shelters for when there are power outages. Contact one if you need assistance.