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January 19, 2012 at 12:56 PM

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What to do — and what not to do — when the power goes out

Power is out throughout the region. Here are some safety tips on how to deal with a power outage:

• Have a power-outage kit that includes flashlights and batteries, glow-in-the-dark sticks, a lantern, matches, a wind-up clock, a portable radio, a Mylar blanket and a can opener.

• To avoid deadly carbon-monoxide poisoning, keep generators outdoors when they're running. Make sure the exhaust is not near a window or other opening to the home. Keep the exhaust and muffler away from combustible material.

• Never burn charcoal indoors. Charcoal produces toxic fumes that can kill quickly.

• Use hot water sparingly.

• Turn off most electrical devices, and unplug sensitive electrical equipment. Leave a light switched on, however, so you'll know when the power returns.

• Never handle or approach a downed power line.

• Dress in layers and cover your head. Close off unused rooms. Close drapes to prevent drafts.

• Use only space heaters designed for the indoors. Even those need to be adequately vented to avoid carbon-monoxide poisoning. Keep space heaters away from curtains and clothing. Always turn off the heaters before going to bed or leaving home.

• Get fresh air and get help right away if you feel sick or dizzy while using a generator or space heater. Fatigue, nausea or sleepiness are signs of carbon-monoxide poisoning.

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