Winter Is Here: What to Do During and After a Power Outage

photo of bucket truck repairing power linesLast month we offered tips for preparing for an outage. Here’s tips for during and after.

During an Outage

  • Only use flashlights for emergency lighting— candles that have to be lit with matches or lighters can cause fires.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. An unopened and full freezer will stay properly cold for about 48 hours.
  • On warm days, if you’re at home, move to the lowest level of your home, since cool air falls.
  • If it’s cold outside, put on layers of warm clothing. NEVER burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors—too dangerous. If power may be out for a prolonged period, consider going to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances with sophisticated electronic systems in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other electronics. Consider adding surge protectors. Electronic systems in kitchen appliances, such as a range or refrigerator can be damaged by power surges. If power is out, switch your master breaker off to protect your appliances, and only switch it back on when power is restored.
  • If you are considering purchasing a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing. If generators are not properly installed, when power is restored, power from a generator could “backfeed” and severely injure linemen working to get power back on. And NEVER run a generator inside a home or closed garage.

After a Power Outage

  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F or higher for two hours or more, especially those that have an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, it can be refrozen.
  • Restock your emergency kit with fresh batteries, canned foods and other supplies.

-From ready.gov

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