As we again approach the New England winter and snowstorms are likely, here’s a friendly reminder about the appropriate times to call 911 and when not to. An important disclaimer on these guidelines is that they are not written or approved by the Darien Police and are not applicable in all situations — just guidelines based on previous storms.

There are many reasons to call 911. The most obvious rule of thumb is that it is an actual emergency and you feel you are in danger. If you are a victim of a crime, have been in a car accident, if you or a family member has been injured or is having a medical emergency, fear a fire or carbon monoxide leak, or feel you are unsafe — always call 911.

With winter storms in Darien come power and utility outages. Generally, it’s not recommended to call 911 in these circumstances. Darien Police officers cannot restore your power or give you a restoration estimate. And especially in the case of large power outages, which are often the case during storms, the Darien Police front desk is busier than ever. An increased number of power outages often is accompanied by blocked or flooded roads, downed trees and wires. Certainly if a wire is down, that presents a dangerous situation and 911 should be called. Never approach a downed wire or attempt to move it.

In the general case of a power or utility outage, the best bet is to call your provider:

• To report a power outage or to ask when your power will be turned back on, call Eversource at 800-286-2000;

• To report water shut off or a water problem, call Aquarion at 203-445-7310;

• To report any other utility, Internet, phone issue, call your provider;

• If someone disabled or elderly is experiencing a dangerously extended power outage, call Darien Human Services at 203-656-7328 for assistance or after hours, call the Darien Police's routine non-emergency number at 203-662-5300.

Always call or text 911 if you are in danger or are facing an immediate threat to your safety. Realize any call that you make to 911 that is not a critical emergency is taking emergency responders' time away from responding to someone else's actual critical emergency.

And lastly, please, Darien, make a resolution to LOCK YOUR CAR DOORS.