Tips to help you get through power outages

As residents across the state continue to deal with the aftermath of the recent ice storm, the N.H. Red Cross reminds everyone that safety comes first. Make sure you consider the following safety tips.


Never run a generator inside a home, trailer or garage. Always allow for lots of ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system.

Use flashlights or hurricane oil lamps instead of candles; if you must use a candle, keep young children away from it and never leave a candle unattended.

Be careful about eating food that has not been kept at appropriate temperatures; make sure it has not spoiled.

Turn off or disconnect any appliances, equipment (like air conditioners) or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can damage equipment such as computers and motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer, or furnace.

Leave a light turned on so you’ll know when your power returns.

Use the phone for emergencies only. Listening to a portable radio can provide the latest information. Do not call 911 for information – only call to report a life-threatening emergency.

Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion.

Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines and elevators may not work during a power outage.

If it is cold outside, put on layers of warm clothing rather than one heavy coat.


Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors.

Never use your oven as a source of heat.

If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (a Red Cross shelter, relative, friend, or public facility) that has heat to keep warm.


56 shelters are currently open – use them!

Red Cross shelters are staffed by trained volunteers throughout the day and night.

Shelters offer sleeping cots; warm space; bathroom and shower facilities; food; a warm welcome and comforting words from workers.

Bring to the shelter with you: blankets, bedding, or sleeping bag; pillows; personal medications or other health-related items; personal toiletries and care supplies.

People are encouraged to make use of shelters; don’t delay in assuring that your family is warm and safe.

Arrangements need to be made with local vets or animal shelters for pets; ARC shelters can accept only service animals, no pets.


All open flames in homes present a serious fire danger, as well as a severe risk of exposure to lethal carbon monoxide.

Never connect a space heater to an extension cord unless that cord is rated for that level of use.

Make sure portable space heaters are far away from curtains and any other flammable materials.

Be especially careful around evergreen holiday decorations.


If you have no heat in your house, let the cold water drip from faucets. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.

If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Locate the suspected frozen area of the water pipe. Likely places include pipes running against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.

Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, and electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device. A blowtorch can make water in a frozen pipe boil and cause the pipe to explode.