Power out? What to do, how to stay warm, how to keep food safe - CBS46 News

Power out? What to do, how to stay warm, how to keep food safe

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What to do first when power goes out:

  • Check to be sure you've not just blown a circuit
  • Don't call 911 unless it's an emergency or someone is injured
  • Do call your utility company—you can find the number on your electric bill
  • Leave one light on so you'll know when power is back.
  • But unplug some of your major appliances and computers, TV's, stereos and other electronics.  They can be create a power drain or be harmed by a power surge when power is restored.

Source: California Energy Commission  http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/tips/winter_lightsout.html

How to stay warm without power:

  • If your power just went out and you're cold, take a warm shower.  Your hot water tank will stay warm for a few hours.
  • Dress in layers.  Wear gloves and a knit hat (not just a baseball cap).  You can lose half your body heat through your head.
  • Use your wood fireplace or stove for heat
  • But never use kerosene heaters, BBQ's or any other outdoor type of heater inside due to the risk of carbon monoxide.  That's an odorless, colorless gas that can kill.
  • If you have a generator, be sure it's outside your home or garage and away from open windows.  Never use in any partially closed area, even with ventilation, to reduce risk of carbon monoxide exposure.    
  • Never try to power your home by plugging the generator into a wall outlet.  That's called ‘backfeeding' which can send electricity back down the lines and electrocute anyone working on restoring power to the lines.

Source: California Energy Commission  http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/tips/winter_lightsout.html

Red Cross:  http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/power-outage/safe-generator-use

 

How to keep your food safe without power:

  • Hopefully, you had already set your fridge and freezer to their coldest settings
  • Don't open your fridge or freezer unless you have to.  Plan what you want to take out, open the door, take it out, and quickly shut the door.
  • Fill a few plastic containers with cold water, place outside to freeze, and put inside the fridge to help keep the air cool
  • If power is out for only 4 hours and you keep the fridge closed, the food inside is safe.
  • If power is out longer than 4 hours, put items like milk, meat, and eggs from the fridge section into a cooler surrounded by ice you've made.
  • A half full freezer will keep food safely for 24 hours; a full freezer up to 48 hours.  Don't open the freezer if you can avoid it.
  • Use a food thermometer to check food temperature just before you eat it.  If it's above 40 degrees, throw it out.
  • If it's below 40 degrees or still has ice crystals, you can refreeze the food when the power comes back on.
  • For a full list of foods you can save or should throw out, go to cbsatlanta.com.

Source: CDC  http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/poweroutage/needtoknow.asp

USDA: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/emergency-preparedness/keeping-food-safe-during-an-emergency/CT_Index

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