On the East Coast, we’ve seen the damage of severe thunderstorms and hurricanes – especially in these last few weeks of summer. Even if your area is not hit hard, as the wind picks up and the rain starts to fall, the power in your house can go out for hours or even days.
For this reason, staying safe during power outages is essential. After preparing yourself and your family for the storm, you should use the following tips to stay safe during a power outage:
- Keep your fridge and freezer off-limits. Ensuring that your fridge and freezer are closed will help keep everything cool inside, prolonging the life of your food.
- Do not operate generators or gas/propane-powered appliances inside. Operating these types of appliances in enclosed spaces can lead to the buildup of carbon monoxide (CO2) or other deadly gases. Improper use can also lead to fires.
- Drink plenty of water. Without electricity – and, consequently, air conditioning – your home can get very hot. Stay in a cool place (such as your basement) and make sure that you drink plenty of water. Remember to continue storing clean drinking water in bottles.
- Do not operate equipment in the rain. You might be tempted to cook outside – especially if you have a grill – but remember not to operate any electrical equipment in the rain.
- Prepare coolers for any perishable items. Refrigerated food should not be left in the fridge for longer than four hours, so – if the power has not come back on by then – consider moving everything to portable coolers.
- Make sure that your pets are safe. Ensure that they are wearing tags in case they get lost, store plenty of their food and water, and – in the event that you need to run errands and cannot take them along –arrange for a neighbor or friend to watch them.
- Do not touch downed power lines. Don’t come in direct contact with, drive over, or touch any puddles or other bodies of water near downed power lines. Power lines – whether they seem innocuous or not – are extremely dangerous.
- Do not assume your food is safe to eat. If your perishable food items have been above a temperature of 40 degrees for longer than two hours, do not eat them. For frozen foods, make sure they still have some ice crystals (or are at a temperature lower than 40 degrees) before you eat them.
- Make sure that all medical equipment is working. If you or one of your family members has special medical needs, ensure that you have battery backup systems in place.
- Know when to leave your home. This can be extremely upsetting, but if your home has flooded or become extremely unsafe, you should leave. Stay with a friend or family member or seek an emergency shelter.
For more information about how to prepare for storms and hurricanes, please call us at (301) 605-9112.