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Gov. Shumlin, Emergency Officials Urge Vermonters to Seek Shelter if Without Power

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Waterbury, VT

Gov. Peter Shumlin and Vermont emergency officials said late today that many areas of Franklin County, Chittenden County, and the Northeast Kingdom remain without power.

Restoration has been slowed by lines that were repaired once and damaged again as precipitation continued to fall, and ice melted and then refroze.

As temperatures drop this evening and are forecast to remain low, the Governor and Vermont Emergency Management Director Joe Flynn are urging residents, particularly those without power in their homes, to make certain they find shelter before it is too late.

"Even though much of Vermont was spared the worst predictions of this ice storm, the Champlain Valley and the Northeast Kingdom were hit hard, and we are doing everything to ensure the roads are open, the power is restored and people have a safe place to stay while the work is completed," Gov. Shumlin said.

Shelters were opened Sunday by the Vermont Red Cross and will remain open at North Country High School in Newport, Enosburg High School, and the Barton Village Office. Vermont Emergency Management and Homeland Security remain in constant contact with Vermont utilities to be aware of areas of greatest outages, are providing support to help facilitate the restoration process, and are working to ensure public safety.

"We are concerned that some Vermonters remain in their homes and are reluctant to seek shelter while awaiting power restoration," Gov. Shumlin said. "Anytime you have freezing temperatures and no power, people are put at risk. We want anyone who may need shelter for the next couple of days to get there safely, as soon as possible."

Director Joe Flynn advised that emergency managers "continue to closely monitor the incident, remain in constant contact with Vermont utilities to be aware of areas of greatest outages, are providing support to help facilitate the restoration process, and are working to ensure public safety."

Vermonter should also be aware of the dangers of exposure to carbon monoxide poisoning. Today, the Health Department confirmed one death from carbon monoxide poisoning in the Northeast Kingdom, along with multiple cases of illness related to the odorless, colorless gas reported by Emergency Medical Services crews in Newport yesterday.

The risk of CO poisoning increases when generators and heat sources such as propane cooking stoves are more likely to be improperly used indoors.

Early symptoms of CO poisoning can be confused with flu-like symptoms --headache, dizziness and nausea. It can also cause sleepiness, vision problems (including blurred vision), ringing in the ears, aching arms and legs, irregular breathing, fatigue and confusion. At very high levels, it causes loss of consciousness and death.

Actions those in affected areas should take are:
Check in with your neighbors, especially those who are elderly or may be in need of assistance.
Ensure your home has a sufficient supply of whatever you use as "fuel" to heat your home.
Have extra items on hand in case you can't leave your house for a while.
Flashlight
Batteries
Battery powered radio
Water
Non-perishable foods
If you lose power and need a warm place to go Vermont 211 has a list of shelters that are open.
If you see a downed power line, leave it alone -- always treat power lines as if they are live. A live wire can kill you.
If clearing trees or limbs, make certain they are not in contact with a power line. Trees and branches can conduct electricity and electrocute you on contact.
Never run a generator indoors. Ensure it is outside -- far away from windows or any other area from which exhaust can vent back into a living area. Carbon monoxide can cause injury or death.
Have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

Helpful links:
DEMHS: http://vem.vermont.gov/preparedness/hazards/winter
National Weather Service Albany (Forecast office for Bennington and Windham counties): http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/aly/
National Weather Service Burlington (Rest of Vermont): http://www.erh.noaa.gov/er/btv/
Vermont power outages: www.vtoutages.com
Vermont Division of Fire Safety: http://firesafety.vermont.gov/
DEMHS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vermontemergencymanagement
DEMHS on Twitter: https://twitter.com/vemvt
Road conditions: www.511vt.com


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