What to Do Before,
During and After a Power Outage

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Before a Power Outage

  • Take inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity.
  • Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines.
  • Stock up on batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.
  • Sign up for local alerts and warning systems. Monitor weather reports.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home.
  • Review the supplies that are available in case of no power. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Have enough nonperishable food and water.
  • Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so you can know the temperature when the power is restored.
  • Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full.

During a Power Outage

  • Stay away from any downed lines or sparking equipment.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can cause damage.
  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.
  • Use coolers with ice if necessary.
  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Portable generators, camp stoves or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.
  • Go to a community location with power if heat or cold is extreme.

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After a Power Outage

  • When in doubt, throw it out! Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or has an unusual odor, color or texture.
  • If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug’s label says otherwise. If a life depends on the refrigerated drugs, consult a doctor or pharmacist and use medicine only until a new supply is available.