What do you need to do if there is a blackout?

Plan for batteries and other alternative power sources to meet your needs when the power goes out, such as a portable charger or power bank. Have flashlights for every household member. Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.

While candles can provide lightning, they do pose a significant fire risk. Make sure that flammable items are moved away from any candles that are being burned.

What should you do during blackout?

Turn off all tools, appliances and electronic equipment, and turn the thermostat(s) for the home heating system down to minimum to prevent damage from a power surge when power is restored. Also, power can be restored more easily when there is not a heavy load on the electrical system.

Important items to have on hand:

Know where you can go to stay warm. The Center located at 163 West Main St may be opened as a warming center. This can occur outside of “business hours”

Keep candles and/or oil lamps on hand for light. Don't forget matches! Also, do not light candles and/or oil lamps if there is a possibility of a gas leak in your home.

Keep the emergency number for your electric utility handy in case you need to call.

Keep an ice chest readily available to store medications that must remain cold. Store ice packs in your freezer and ready for the ice chest.

If you use electricity for your water, such as a well with an electric pump, have enough water available to last a couple of days. You should have at least a gallon of drinking water a day for each person in your house for drinking and cooking. Non-potable water uses, such as water for flushing toilets, can be met with water from rain catchment barrels.

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced whenever anything burns—and it often sickens or kills people during power outages. Don’t run generators or grills inside garages or outside near open windows. Make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working, and replace the batteries if needed.

Have sustainably sourced disposable utensils and dinnerware on hand so you do not need to use water to wash dishes.  

Keep the pantry stocked with some easy-to-open, non-perishable foods that require no cooking. Don’t forget your pets

If you have an outdoor gas grill keep the gas tank full, or if it is an open burning grill make sure to have plenty of charcoal or wood on hand. A grill can be a handy to cook while the power is down.

Keep a household first aid kit and a disaster preparedness backpack kit in case something happens.

Have a household disaster plan that you and your family can follow if something occurs.

Make sure you have at least 3 days of medication available at all times

Have cash on hand sometimes ATMs may be out of service

Make it fun, play board games the entire family can enjoy or have a few books on hand

Carbon Monoxide Information

1.What Is It?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that interferes with the delivery of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body. It is produced by the incomplete combustion of fuels.

2.What Are the Major Sources of CO?

Carbon monoxide is produced as a result of incomplete burning of carbon-containing fuels including coal, wood, charcoal, natural gas, and fuel oil. It can be emitted by combustion sources such as unvented kerosene and gas space heaters, furnaces, woodstoves, gas stoves, fireplaces and water heaters, automobile exhaust from attached garages, and tobacco smoke. Problems can arise as a result of improper installation, maintenance, or inadequate ventilation.

3.What Are the Health Effects?

Carbon monoxide interferes with the distribution of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body. Depending on the amount inhaled, this gas can impede coordination, worsen cardiovascular conditions, and produce fatigue, headache, weakness, confusion, disorientation, nausea, and dizziness. Very high levels can cause death.

The symptoms are sometimes confused with the flu or food poisoning. Fetuses, infants, the elderly, and people with heart and respiratory illnesses are particularly at high risk for the adverse health effects of carbon monoxide.  An estimated 300 people die each year as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning and thousands of others end up in hospital emergency rooms.

4.What Can Be Done to Prevent CO Poisoning?

o   Do not burn charcoal inside a home, cabin, recreational vehicle, or camper.   

o   Do not use ovens and gas ranges to heat your home.   

o   Do not use unvented gas or kerosene space heaters in enclosed spaces.   

o   Ensure that appliances are properly adjusted and working to manufacturers' instructions and local building codes.   

o   Make sure stoves and heaters are vented to the outside and that exhaust systems do not leak.   

o   Make sure your furnace has an adequate intake of outside air.  

o   Never leave a car or lawnmower engine running in a shed or garage, or in any enclosed space.   

o   Obtain annual inspections for heating systems, chimneys, and flues and have them cleaned by a qualified technician.   

o   Open flues when fireplaces are in use.   

o   Use proper fuel in kerosene space heaters.  

5.What If I Have Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Don't ignore symptoms, especially if more than one person is feeling them. If you think you are suffering from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, you should

o   Get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows. Turn off combustion appliances and leave the house.

o   Call 911 or go to an emergency room. Be sure to tell the EMT or physician that you suspect CO poisoning.

Be prepared to answer the following questions: Is anyone else in your household complaining of similar symptoms? Did everyone's symptoms appear about the same time? Are you using any fuel-burning appliances in the home? Has anyone inspected your appliances lately? Are you certain they are working properly?   

6.What about Carbon Monoxide Detectors?

Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors can be used as a backup but not as a replacement for proper use and maintenance of your fuel-burning appliances. CO detector technology is still being developed and the detectors are not generally considered to be as reliable as the smoke detectors found in homes today. You should not choose a CO detector solely on the basis of cost; do some research on the different features available.  Carbon monoxide detectors should meet Underwriters Laboratories Inc. standards, have a long-term warranty, and be easily self-tested and reset to ensure proper functioning. For maximum effectiveness during sleeping hours, carbon monoxide detectors should be placed close to sleeping areas.  They should also be located in the area of your heating equipment.  

o   Check to see if any member of your household is experiencing symptoms.   

o   Have a qualified technician inspect your fuel-burning appliances and chimneys to make sure they are operating correctly.

o   If no one is feeling symptoms, ventilate the home with fresh air and turn off all potential sources of CO.   

o   If they are, get them out of the house immediately and seek medical attention.   

o   If your CO detector goes off, you should:  

o   Make sure it is the CO detector and not the smoke alarm.

Power Outage Information Link


Wildland Fire Safety

Wildland fires are a constant threat to areas of Massachusetts and of course Groton. Some simple steps can prevent brush and wildland fires from spreading to homes or other buildings.

Areas of landscaping to consider include the 100-foot area around the home, areas of greenspace within, and wildlands surrounding a community. Landscaping around homes and other buildings and infrastructure should be especially well maintained. Research shows that maintaining this area properly can improve home survival in the event of a fire.

Zone 1 (0-5ft)

Includes the structure, deck/patio/balcony, or other outside entertaining space as well as fencing that is attached to the home and the immediate landscaping from the home to 5 feet away.

·       Remove all combustible materials like wood mulches, dead or dry vegetation, and leaves and pine needles from roofs and gutters.

·       Trim tree branches that hang over the roof, eaves, and chimney.

Zone 2 (5-30ft)

Includes the area from 5 feet to 30 feet away from the home, including the property and all outbuildings.

·       Keep this area lean, clean, and green by pruning and removing dead and dying branches from well-spaced bushes and trees.

·       Make sure to keep this area well maintained and watered during a hot, dry summer.

·       Stack wood piles on bare or gravel areas or in an enclosed shed at least 30 feet from the home.

Zone 3 (30-100ft)

This is the area farthest from the home, extending from Zone 2 to your property’s boundary from 30 to 100 feet. Reduce fuels by thinning and spacing vegetation vertically and limbing up trees horizontally to interrupt fire’s path and keep flames small and on the ground.

For more information on wildland fires, you can visit https://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Fire-causes-and-risks/Wildfire/Firewise-USA/Firewise-USA-Resources

MEMA link:


FEMA link:


Emergency Preparedness link: