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StaySTAY refers to situations where it is safer for people to remain in their homes than it is to venture outside.

This happens frequently during a heavy snowstorm. All people have to do is remain at home for several hours or perhaps a day to give public works crews time to clear roads and highways. In a heavy storm, schools and businesses are likely to be closed anyway. The situation only becomes dangerous if people try to travel in the storm or before roads are cleared. It is better to stay home and enjoy a day off than to risk an accident or getting stuck.

Of course, a winter storm can be more dangerous than just a heavy dump of snow. High winds and blizzard conditions or an ice storm can complicate things. The ice storm in December 2008 knocked out power to more than half the state and some people were without power for two weeks. New Hampshire residents need to be prepared for that kind of storm as well.

Anytime power is knocked out during a storm there is the possibility that it could be out for a long time. Utilities begin restoration work immediately, but a widespread outage could take a long time to fix, especially for people who are in isolated areas.

People who have secondary heat sources, such as wood or gas stoves, may be able to continue to stay in their homes. Others may need to stay at local shelters. People using generators to provide electricity to their homes should have them properly installed and vented. Never operate a generator in an enclosed area. And never use an outdoor heating appliance indoors. Both will generate deadly carbon monoxide.

Finally, people may need to remain in their homes because of a chemical spill or radiation leak from a nuclear power plant. This involves a technique called "sheltering in place." This is a protective or precautionary action taken when the danger is outside and it is safer to remain indoors.

Sheltering in place requires sealing off the interior of a residence from outside air as much as possible. Ventilation systems should be shut off and all windows and doors to the outside tightly closed. People should continue sheltering in place until authorities notify them that the danger is passed.

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