EPPING, N.H. (AP) – A disabled New Hampshire man who died without power to run oxygen equipment due to last week’s ice storm had not told the Epping Fire Department to keep a watch over him in outages.

Fire Capt. Marc Nickerson said Tuesday that there is no requirement for people to let authorities know when they have special medical needs.

Nickerson said the fire department keeps watch over a few residents on oxygen who notified them of their needs, but the 60-year-old man found dead Sunday had not told them he was on oxygen.

“We have some residents who we know are on oxygen. We had no notification on him,” said Nickerson.

Police, who have not identified the victim, said was dependent on oxygen equipment for breathing, and the battery pack that kicked in when the electricity went out didn’t last.

It was the state’s second death linked to the storm that left more than 1 million utility customers in the Northeast without power.

A Danville man died Friday of carbon monoxide poisoning stemming from an improperly ventilated generator.

Public Service Company of New Hampshire maintains a list of medical emergency customers whose lives are jeopardized by loss of power.

“We learn of their status through the customers themselves,” said spokesman Martin Murray.

It wasn’t clear Tuesday which utility served the disabled man, or if he had asked to be put on a list.

Murray said restoring power to customers on the medical emergency list is a priority, but they know to have a backup power source or plan to move to another location.

Jim Van Dongen, of New Hampshire’s Office of Emergency Management, said nothing requires residents to notify authorities of such needs.

“There’s no requirement for that. It’s strongly encouraged. You can’t force them,” said Van Dongen. “It’s good practice but we’re the Live Free or Die state.”

Amanda Noonan, director of the consumer affairs division at the Public Utilities Commission, said the commission is only made aware of deaths due to such things as accidents involving electric poles, not due to power loss.

Nothing requires customers to notify authorities of medical problems to be put on utility lists, she said.

“These are voluntary lists. It’s incumbent upon the customer to notify the utility they have these conditions,” she said.

Commission rules require the utilities to notify such customers of planned outages.

“Obviously in an ice storm like we just had, there’d be no notice,” she said.


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