Central Maine Power Co., a subsidiary of AVANGRID Inc., a diversified energy and utility company, urges customers to take measures to stay safe and warm during the bitterly cold weather that is forecast for Maine.
“The risk of fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, and other hazards can increase as residents try to stay warm during the extreme cold,” said Bob Kump, CEO of Avangrid Networks, parent company of Central Maine Power. “As this extreme cold weather settles in, we encourage customers to look around their homes and make sure they’re able to keep themselves and their families warm, and to identify any potential safety risks that must be addressed.”
If one is unable to keep one’s home heated safely and comfortably, one should call 211 for resources that can help.
Exposure to extreme cold can cause serious medical conditions, including hypothermia and frostbite. To avoid them, stay indoors if possible and wear warm clothing, including head covering and gloves or mittens.
For information about frostbite, hypothermia, and other concerns, go to cdc.gov/disasters/winter/index.html.
Fire and carbon monoxide detectors
Incidences of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning rise during cold weather as a result of malfunctioning appliances, poor ventilation, and improper use of heat sources. One should place smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of the home, outside of sleeping areas, and inside each bedroom. Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly to make sure the batteries are working, and replace the batteries at least twice a year.
Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and tasteless — but toxic. It is a product of fuel combustion, and a buildup can result from a furnace or space heater problem. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic the flu, so one should make sure the carbon monoxide detector is in working order.
For more information about fire and carbon monoxide dangers, go to tinyurl.com/yd9o7wzw.
Stove and range
The stove, range, and other kitchen appliances are designed for cooking, not heating. Use them only as specified in the manufacturer’s instructions. In addition to creating a fire hazard, a natural gas stove or oven can present a carbon monoxide risk when used for heating.
Use only space heaters that have been tested and certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Never use a device designed for outdoor use indoors. Place the space heater on a level surface away from foot traffic, at least three feet from combustible materials. Inspect the cord for fraying, and after plugging it in, periodically feel the cord near the outlet to make sure the coating is not getting hot. Do not run the space heater cord under a rug or carpeting, and never use an extension cord for a space heater. Keep children and pets away, and turn off the space heater when leaving the area.
More space heater safety information can be found at energy.gov/energysaver/portable-heaters.
Heating, hot water, and plumbing
Keep the furnace area clear of flammable materials and keep vents clear to provide a good air supply to a heating system to ensure proper combustion.
Water pipes that are exposed to cold temperatures may freeze and burst. Don’t ignore drips or odd noises from a heating system — call a heating company to investigate. Wrap exposed pipes in the basement with pipe insulation to help them retain heat and avoid freezing.
The American Red Cross offers additional tips for avoiding frozen pipes at tinyurl.com/d5bjgmt.