When rain and wind hit our area, power outages are more common. With the anticipated El Nino, here are some simple safety reminders for how to stay safe during an outage:
· First, check for blown fuses or tripped circuits that may be the cause of the loss of power. Also, see if your neighbor has power. This will help determine whether there’s an outage.
· Switch off the lights (except one). You can help prevent damage to your electronics and appliances by unplugging them — computers, stereos, televisions and air conditioners. After the electricity is restored, you can plug them in again.
· Get updates from a battery-powered radio if it’s a storm or emergency situation. If it’s a hot day, find relief from the heat at a nearby cool center.
· Keep a fully charged cell phone on hand. During outages, you may lose phone service, and your cordless phone may also lose power.
· Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. It helps keep the food cool. Before eating food items, check them for spoilage.
· Never light fires or charcoal indoors. If you are cold, wear multiple layers of warm clothing.
· If you see a downed power line, do not touch it. Call 911 immediately.
Electronic and Appliance Tips
Your electronics and appliances can be vulnerable to outages. Knowing how to care for them during power losses will help keep you safe and protect them from damage.
· Unplug them: Unplug expensive electronics and appliances to prevent damage. This includes televisions, computer equipment, washers and dryers, game consoles, fans, lights, etc.
· Use surge protectors: When you can’t unplug electronics, surge protectors can help prevent damage.
· Turn out the lights: Turn off all light switches and lamps except for one. You want to leave one “on,” so you’ll know when power returns. If the power is still out when you go to sleep, leave a bedroom light switch on to wake you so you can safety check your home.
Food Safety Tips
Perishable foods in your refrigerator and freezer may or may not be safe to consume after an outage. It depends on things like the length of the outage and outdoor temperatures. You can take steps to keep your food fresh for longer. There are also things you can do to make sure your food is still safe to eat once the fridge is running again.
· Keep it closed: Open refrigerator and freezer doors only when necessary. Depending on the outside temperature an unopened refrigerator can keep foods cold enough for several hours. Placing blocks of ice inside will help keep food cold longer. Check food carefully for signs of spoilage.
· Draw the line at 40 degrees: Perishable foods should not be held above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours.
· Coolers & ice chests: For outages longer than two hours, food items such as dairy products, meats, fish, poultry, eggs and leftovers should be packed into a cooler with ice. A separate cooler can be packed with frozen items.
· Cans & dry goods: Canned and dry goods and powdered or boxed milk, can be eaten cold or heated on a grill.
· Leave a Light On: When you go to bed, leave a bedroom light switched on. It will wake you when power returns, so you can check the condition of your food.
· If you’re not home: If an outage happens while you’re out of the house, try to determine how long it has been out. Check the internal temperature of perishables in your refrigerator with a quick-response thermometer; any item above 40 degrees should be thrown out. If power comes back on in less than 24 hours and your freezer is fairly full, your frozen items should be safe. If the refrigerator was out for more than 24 hours, you should get rid of perishables.
Medical Equipment Tips
Some people depend on uninterrupted power to operate medical equipment in their homes. We try our best to notify Medical Baseline customers before repair and rotating outages. Since we cannot guarantee uninterrupted service you should always have a backup plan. This could mean a backup power system or other arrangements.
· Equipment backup: If your medical equipment is supplied by a hospital or a durable medical equipment company, work with them to develop an emergency or back-up plan. Some companies may supply additional medical equipment and other services during emergency situations.
· Get on “Special needs” Lists: Contact your local fire department to learn whether they maintain a list of people with special medical needs. Being on this list may help them better respond to you during emergencies.
· Emergency contacts: Keep emergency phone numbers handy. This includes your doctor, police, fire and durable medical equipment company (if applicable).
· Backup plan: Develop plans to leave your home in the event of a lengthy outage. Share this plan with family, friends, and others that should be aware.
More tips from Southern California Edison on circuit breakers, generators, and general preparation can be found here. #getpreparedGoleta