Saturday, June 30, 2012

Widespread Power Outages Prompt Important Warnings and Reminders from Fire Officials

Rockville - - - As of 1:00 this afternoon, Fire and Rescue personnel have responded to over 800 emergency calls since last night’s severe storm system moved through the area. During the height of the storm, fire personnel responded to over 300 calls in a three-hour period. Emergency calls have ranged from structure fires, critical medical calls, collisions, elevator rescues, lightening strikes, wires down and a large number of homes damaged by trees and tree limbs. 

Fire officials urge residents to continue to reach out and check on elderly friends and neighbors as well as those with health conditions. Officials provide the following important reminders as the area rebounds from the storm:

  • Use extreme caution when cleaning up storm damage on your property. Downed or damaged power lines can send electrical currents through tree branches and metal fences, so survey the area carefully - especially if you'll be using a pruning pole, ax or chainsaw. Do not remove fallen tree limbs or other debris from power lines. Tree limbs and other objects can conduct electricity and carry a current strong enough to cause serious injury or death.
  • Keep your distance from any downed power lines and call 911 to report them.
  • Don’t drive over downed lines and treat all wires – even those that are hanging or down – as if they are “live” (energized).
  • Keep children and pets away from areas where power lines may have fallen.
  • Do NOT use candles for lighting. Using candles during a power outage poses an extreme risk of fire. Use flashlights or battery-powered lighting options.  
  • Turn off any heat-producing appliances (toaster oven, range, irons, etc.) that were running when the power went out to prevent them from starting unexpectedly when power is restored.  If left on, they can pose a serious fire hazard.  
  • If you are using a generator, make sure it is in a well-ventilated area to reduce the risk of breathing harmful fumes. Never place a generator under an open window and follow all manufacturer instructions.
  • Make sure the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm are fresh. Test alarms to ensure they are working. 

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