What you need to know when the power is out. Prepare for a possible power shutoff by following these actions and tips concerning food, water and medications.
What You Need to Know about Power Outages
- Prepare for possible loss of power »
- If you’ve been warned of a power shutoff »
- If your power is out »
- Power Outage Safe Driving Tips »
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers these Tips to Help you Prepare and Cope:
If the power is out for less than 4 hours, then the food in your refrigerator and freezer will be safe to consume. While the power is out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep food cold for longer. Visit Keep Food and Water Safe After a Disaster or Emergency for more information.
Safe Drinking Water
When power goes out, water purification systems may not be functioning fully. Safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene includes bottled, boiled, or treated water. Your state, local, or tribal health department can make specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area. For more information, visit Keep Food and Water Safe After a Disaster or Emergency.
Some drugs require refrigeration to keep their strength, including many liquid drugs.
- When the power is out for a day or more, throw away any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug’s label says otherwise.
- If a life depends on the refrigerated drug, but the medications have been at room temperature, use them only until a new supply is available.
- Replace all refrigerated drugs as soon as possible.
Resources for people with chronic disease or disability.
Extreme Heat and Heat
Be aware of yours and others’ risk for heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and fainting. To avoid heat stress, you should follow CDC’s heat safety tips.
Heat stroke is the most serious heat illness. It happens when the body can’t control its own temperature and its temperature rises rapidly. Sweating fails and the body cannot cool down. Body temperature may rise to 106°F or higher within 10 to 15 minutes. Heat stroke can cause death or permanent disability if emergency care is not given. Visit Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness for more information on how to recognize symptoms and what to do if someone develops a heat-related illness.
If air conditioning is not available in your home:
- Spend some time at a shopping mall or public library- even a few hours spent in air conditioning can help.
- Take cool showers or baths.
- Don’t rely solely on fans to keep you cool. While electric fans might provide some comfort, when temperatures are really hot, they won’t prevent heat-related illness.
These resources also provide information about extreme heat:
- Heat Stress National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Comprehensive heat-induced occupational illness and injury information.
Power Outage Safe Driving Tips
Traffic signals and streetlights may be impacted by the power outage. Follow these safety tips:
- Stay home unless you absolutely need to leave
- Stop at all traffic signals without power
- Use turn signals & enter intersections only when it is safe to do so
- Be aware of officials helping with traffic control
- Drive with extra caution & limit cell phone use