BREAKING NEWS: IBHS offers shelter-in-place safety tips
Posted Monday, Oct. 29 3:30 p.m. -- The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)recommends the following ways to reduce or prevent property losses and injuries from Sandy for those who shelter in place:
Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed to maintain the cold and preserve contents.
Turn off or unplug propane tanks, electronic equipment and appliances.
Stay indoors. Drive only if absolutely necessary.
If you go outside during the storm, stay away from loose or dangling power lines. Avoid even slightly flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
During power outages, be very, very careful with candles — they are a significant fire hazard.
Do not use gas cooking ranges for heating your home, because of carbon monoxide hazards.
Use your cell phone for emergency calls only, to conserve battery life.
If the power goes out, many residents may decide to use portable gas-powered generators. IBHS offers the following guidance for safely using these devices to minimize the risks:
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from engine exhaust is a common, serious danger that can cause death if generators are used improperly – in particular, if fuel is not burned completely.
Never use generators indoors or outside near windows, vents, or air intakes that could allow CO to come indoors.
Maintain plenty of air flow space around the generator.
When using an emergency generator, get fresh air immediately if you begin to feel nauseous, dizzy or light-headed.
Carefully follow all instructions for properly “grounding” the generator.
Keep the generator dry. If needed, operate portable generators under an open canopy type structure. Short circuits may occur in wet conditions, resulting in the generator catching fire.
Store fuel in an approved container or holding tank designed for such use.
Only use fuel that is recommended in the owner’s manual. Never store fuel indoors.
Do not keep fuel near the generator while the generator is in use; this could start a fire.
Never refuel while the generator is running.
Always keep a fully charged fire extinguisher located nearby.
Keep cords out of the way to avoid injury, but in plain view to allow visual inspections of any damage, such as fraying or cuts, that could result in a fire.