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Having a power outage at home? Here's what to do if you're stuck

Having a power outage at home? Here's what to do if you're stuck

A powerful noreaster swept through Massachusetts overnight and into Wednesday, causing wind speeds of up to 90 miles per hour, burning trees, and putting hundreds of thousands of people without electricity.

According to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, as of 12 p.m., nearly 500,000 people were without power, with the outages centered on the South Shore and Cape Cod. A high wind warning was in effect along Massachusetts coast until late afternoon, with forecasters warning that widespread power outages were expected as a result of sweltering winds.

National Grid and Eversource said Wednesday that their crews were clearing trees and debris that had fallen onto power lines to restore power.

Heres what state officials will tell you if youre one of those without power.

Residents should avoid downed power lines and assume that a downing power line is active, according to MEMA officials. If you notice a downed power line, contact local emergency officials.

Eversource recommends that people stay as far away from fallen tree limbs and electrical wires as possible, including anything they are touching, such as puddles or metal fences. Stay in your car until emergency crews arrive if youre in a car and shattered power line is on the road. The utility suggests you dont drive over a downed line and, even if its merely puddles, keep your distance.

Officials recommend a number of precautions when it comes to using generators, which should only be used outdoors because their fumes contain carbon monoxide.

If youre using a generator, officials recommend keeping it away from doors, windows, and vents. Officials advise placing a generator 5 to 10 feet from the house to prevent one from being used in 'a house, basement, or crawl space'.

Appliances should be plugged directly into the generator, or you can use heavy-duty, outdoor extension cords. The state says that you should not exceed the number of outlets on the generator and to make sure that the cords arent cut or damaged.

The generator should be kept dry and hands should also be dried before touching it.

If you can, state officials recommend using flashlights rather than candles.

If candles must be lit, place them in safe containers away from anything that could catch fire, and dont leave a candle unattended.

Officials suggest unplugging sensitive electronics to avoid a power surge when power is restored.

Keep your fridge and freezer doors locked. Unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours, according to state officials, while a full freezer will maintain the temperature for approximately 48 hours.

When using space heaters, fireplaces and a woodstove to heat your home, be cautious.

Amanda Kaufman is a writer and editor at Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1

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