As the weather gets cooler and fall weather begins, the potential for power outages increase. Here’s how to best prepare before, during, and after a power outage.
Before a Power Outage
- Prepare a detailed inventory of any items that you rely on for electricity.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery back-ups in your home.
- Maintain a full cell phone battery by purchasing a portable charger.
- If you rely on medical devices that are powered by electricity, make a plan with your doctor for power outages and find out how long temperature-sensitive medication can be stored at higher temperatures.
During a Power Outage
- Keep refrigerators closed. Depending on the type of food, your fridge can keep your food cold for approximately 4 hours. Freezers will maintain their temperature for about 2 days. Use coolers with ice and monitor temperatures with a thermometer.
- Use flashlights instead of candles, and purchase back-up batteries, just in case.
- If temperatures are extreme, go to a common community area that has power.
- Make sure all generators, stoves, or grills are used outside and at least 20 feet away from windows. Do not use gas ovens to heat your home, as they can contribute to potential carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Turn off and disconnect appliances to avoid surges.
- Check on your neighbors, family, and friends, especially the elderly and young children.
After a Power Outage
- Discard any spoiled food exposed to extreme temperatures. (Hint: Check your insurance policy to see if your policy provides food spoilage coverage and take an inventory of any damaged food. Before discarding the food, contact your insurance agent to file a claim, if applicable.)
- If the power outage has lasted more than 24 hours, discard medication that should be refrigerated, unless directed otherwise by a medical professional.