Power Outage Checklist - Summer
Energy Conservation Recommendations:
- Turn off all lights and computers when not in use.
- Wash clothes in cold water if possible; wash only full loads and clean the dryer's lint trap after each use.
- When using a dishwasher, wash full loads and use the light cycle. Turn off the high temperature rinse option. When the regular wash cycle is done, open the dishwasher door to allow the dishes to air dry.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient fluorescent lights.
Keep the following supplies in your home:
- One or more inexpensive Styrofoam coolers work well.
- Surrounding your food with ice in a cooler or in the refrigerator will keep food colder for a longer period of time.
Assemble an emergency preparedness kit with these supplies in case of a prolonged power outage:
- One gallon of water per person, per day (three-day supply for evacuation, two-week supply for home)
- Non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food items (three-day supply for evacuation, two-week supply for home)
- Flashlights (Do not use candles during a power outage due to the high risk of fire)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (ten-day supply) and medical items
- Multi-purpose tools
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- If someone in your home is dependent on electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment, remember to include backup power in your evacuation plan.
- Keep your car's gas tank full.
Keep Food as Safe as Possible:
- 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.
- Then use food from the freezer. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) assuming the door remains closed.
- Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer.
- If it appears the power outage will continue beyond one day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
- Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.
- Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
- Turn off or disconnect any appliances (including stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
- Leave one light turned on so you'll know when the power comes back on.
- Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.
Use 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.
- If you are considering getting a generator, get advice from a professional, such as an electrician. Make sure that the generator you purchase is rated for the power that you will need.
When the Power Comes Back On
Do not touch any electrical power lines and keep everyone away from them including pets. Report downed power lines to the appropriate officials.
Throw Out Unsafe Food:
- Throwaway any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F or higher for two hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it away.
- Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long; bacteria causing food-borne illnesses can start growing quickly. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.
- If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
- If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer. Throw out any foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture, or feels warm to touch.