Sudden power outages can be frustrating and troublesome, especially when they last a long time. If a power outage is 2 hours or less, you need not be concerned about losing your perishable foods, according to a news release from the Red Cross. For prolonged power outages, though, there are steps you can take to minimize food loss and to keep all members of your household as comfortable as possible.
What should I do during a power outage?
Food Safety: Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about four hours. If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items. When power returns, throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F (4° C) for two hours or more or that has 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, you can refreeze it.
Electrical Equipment: Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics. Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes it can damage equipment. Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
Using generators safely: When using a portable generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a portable generator to a home’s electrical system. Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
Do not touch any electrical power lines and keep your family away from them. Report downed power lines to the appropriate officials in your area.