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Power Outage Safety Tips


Be Prepared for Power to be Restored Electrical fires sometimes occur when there is a power surge upon restoration of electrical service to the home. Turn off all electrical appliances and devices that were on before the power went off, including television sets, washers, dryers, space heaters, and lighting. Leave one lamp on so you know when the power is restored.


Do Not Use Candles or Camping Lanterns Flashlights are the safest form of alternate lighting to use. Candles are frequently forgotten, and when they burn down or if they are placed too close to combustibles, they can cause a fire. Also, candles interest children and when you're not looking, a child may play with a candle and cause a fire or get burned. Camping lanterns are designed for use in very well ventilated areas only. They produce large amounts of Carbon Monoxide (CO), which is an odorless, tasteless gas that kills quickly and silently. Be sure to use a flashlight to check the pilot light if you are unsure whether a gas-fueled water heater or furnace is working. Some people have been injured or killed while using a candle to check a gas appliance.


Be Cautious with Portable and Space Heaters Place heaters at least three feet away from anything combustible, including wallpaper, bedding, clothing, pets, and people. Never leave portable or other space heaters operating when you are not in the room or when you go to bed. Don't leave children or pets unattended with space heaters and be sure everyone knows that drying wet mittens or other clothing over space heaters is a fire danger and should not be done.


Be Very Cautious When Using Alternate Heating Devices Be sure a wood or coal stove or liquid fuel heater bears the label of a recognized testing laboratory and meets local fire codes. Follow manufacturers' recommendations for proper use and maintenance. Follow the same safety rules for wood stoves as you would for space heaters. Burn only wood, and be sure the wood stove is placed on an approved stove board to protect the floor from heat and hot coals.


Refuel Portable Liquid Fuel Heaters Carefully Let the heater completely cool off before refueling. Refuel it outdoors, following manufacturer's recommendations. Do not refuel a portable heater while it is operating or if it is hot!


Never Use Cooking Equipment For Heat Stoves and ovens are designed for cooking, not heating a home. Fires and deaths have occurred in winter months from people using cooking equipment to heat a home. This is a dangerous fire hazard, and should not be done.


Do Not Open the Refrigerator or Freezer Perishable foods should not be held above 40 degrees for more than 2 hours. Tell your little ones not to open the door. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold enough for a couple of hours at least. A freezer that is half full will hold up for 24 hours and a full freezer for 48 hours.


Pack a Cooler If it looks like the power outage will be for more than 2 4 hours, pack refrigerated milk, dairy products, meats, fish, poultry, eggs, gravy, stuffing and leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. If it looks like the power outage will be prolonged, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.


Eat Shelf-stable Foods Shelf-stable foods such as canned goods and powdered or boxed milk should be safe to eat. These can be eaten cold or heated on the grill.


Use a Food Thermometer - Check the internal temperature of the food in your refrigerator with a quick-response thermometer. A liquid such as milk or juice is easy to check. Spot check other items like steaks or leftovers also. If the internal temperature is about 40 degrees, it is best to throw it out. If the food in the freezer is not above 40 degrees and there are still ice crystals, you can refreeze.

Generators - Do not run a generator inside a home or garage, use gas-powered generators only in well-ventilated areas.  Connect only individual appliances to portable generators. Don't plug emergency generators into electric outlets or hook them directly to your home's electrical system - as they can feed electricity back into the power lines, putting you and line workers in danger.  Be sure the generators are connected using a double throw switch to be in compliance with the national electrical safety code.



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