Power Outages

power outage power lines

Be prepared with an emergency storm kit.
It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it helps to be prepared. By creating an emergency storm kit, your family will be more comfortable in the event of a power outage.
Assemble a storm kit in a large plastic container that has a tight lid. It should be stored in the basement or a closet where it's cool and dry, checked periodically, and expired items replaced.

Include the following items in your kit:
• Flashlight with extra batteries
• Battery-operated radio with a weather band
• First aid kit with essential medicines and a manual
• Candles and matches
• Drinking water supply to last three days
• Non-perishable, ready-to-eat food and a manual can opener
• Special need items such as baby food and diapers
• Towels, toilet paper, and bathroom items
• Work gloves
• Duct tape
• A copy of insurance documents
• Blankets and sleeping gear
• List of phone numbers and addresses of emergency services and shelters, physicians, family and friends
Items to keep handy:
• A telephone that has a cord to plug into a phone jack. (Cordless phones do not work in a power outage.)
• Hammer and nails
• Tool box with screwdrivers, wrench, and a small hatchet
Make sure everyone in your family knows where the kit is kept. Review your emergency plan with your family and post the written plan on an easily accessible bulletin board.

RED CROSS POWER OUTAGE SAFETY TIPS

The Red Cross offers the following safety tips:

Take Control in Restoring Power to Your Home – Electrical fires sometimes occur when there is a power surge upon restoration of electrical service to the home. Turn off all electrical appliances and devices that were on before the power went off, including television sets, washers, dryers, space heaters, and lighting. Leave one lamp on so you know when the power is restored.

Do Not Use Candles or Camping Lanterns – Flashlights are the safest form of alternate lighting to use. Candles are frequently forgotten, and when they burn down or if they are placed too close to combustibles, they can cause a fire. Also, candles invite child fire play. When you're not looking, a child may play with a candle and cause a fire or get burned. Camping lanterns are designed for use in very well ventilated areas only. They produce large amounts of Carbon Monoxide (CO), which is an odorless, tasteless gas that kills quickly and silently. If you are unsure whether a gas-fueled water heater or furnace is working, use a flashlight to look for the pilot light. Some people have been injured or killed while using a candle to check a gas appliance.

Be Cautious With Portable and Space Heaters – Place heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible, including wallpaper, bedding, clothing, pets, and people. Never leave portable or other space heaters operating when you are not in the room or when you go to bed. Don't leave children or pets unattended with space heaters and be sure everyone knows that drying wet mittens or other clothing over space heaters is a fire danger and should not be done.

Be Very Cautious When Using Alternate Heating Devices – Be sure a wood or coal stove or liquid fuel heater bears the label of a recognized testing laboratory and meets local fire codes. Follow manufacturers' recommendations for proper use and maintenance. Follow the same safety rules for wood stoves as you would for space heaters. Burn only wood, and be sure the wood stove is placed on an approved stove board to protect the floor from heat and hot coals.

Refuel Portable Liquid Fuel Heaters Carefully – Let the heater completely cool off before refueling. Refuel it outdoors, following manufacturer's recommendations. Do not refuel a portable heater while it is operating or if it is hot!

Never Using Cooking Equipment For Heat – Stoves and ovens are designed for cooking, not heating a home. Fires and deaths have occurred in winter months from people using cooking equipment to heat a home. This is a dangerous fire hazard, and should not be done.

Do Not Open the Refrigerator or Freezer – Perishable foods should not be held above 40 degrees for more than 2 hours. Tell your little ones not to open the door. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold enough for a couple of hours at least. A freezer that is half full will hold up for 24 hours and a full freezer for 48 hours.

Pack a Cooler – If it looks like the power outage will be for more than 2 – 4 hours, pack refrigerated milk, dairy products, meats, fish, poultry, eggs, gravy, stuffing and leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. If it looks like the power outage will be prolonged, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.

Eat Shelf-stable Foods – Shelf-stable foods such as canned goods and powdered or boxed milk should be safe to eat. These can be eaten cold or heated on the grill.

Use a Food Thermometer - Check the internal temperature of the food in your refrigerator with a quick-response thermometer. A liquid such as milk or juice is easy to check. Spot check other items like steaks or leftovers also. If the internal temperature is about 40 degrees, it is best to throw it out. If the food in the freezer is not above 40 degrees and there are still ice crystals, you can refreeze.