Communities depend on electricity for heating and air conditioning and food, drinking water, medical care, communication, and other needs. Power outages can be dangerous during extreme cold temperatures or extreme heat. Power outages can also be dangerous for those who rely on electricity for medical devices.
A power outage may:
Disrupt communications, water, and transportation.
Close retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks, and other services.
Cause food spoilage and water contamination.
Prevent use of medical devices.
PREPARING BEFORE A POWER OUTAGE:
Preparing for power outages can help minimize the impact and keep you and your family safe. The following are steps you can take to minimize impacts from a power outage and to keep all members of your household as comfortable as possible.
- Create a support network. Identify people who can help you stay at home or evacuate during an extended power outage. Keep a paper copy of your contact list.
- Stay connected and alert. Sign up for alert systems and apps for text alerts. Have communication devices that work without home power, including a crank or battery radio, a non-cordless home phone, chargers/batteries for your cell phones and your computers.
- Know and plan for your personal and medical electrical needs. Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.
- Take an inventory of your electrical needs. Consider both back up and nonpower alternatives for lighting, communication, medical devices and refrigerated medicine, cooking, garage doors, locks, and elevators.
- Stock food and water. Store non-perishable food and water supplies for at least two weeks. Plan to use coolers and ice to extend food refrigeration and keep a thermometer in the fridge, freezer or cooler to monitor the food temperature.
DURING A POWER OUTAGE:
- Monitor alerts. Check local weather reports and any notifications by phone, television, or radio. Utility officials may come to your door to alert you of a planned power outage.
- Keep food cold, and when in doubt, throw it out. Eat your fresh, perishable foods first. Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer to preserve cool temperatures.
- An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. Measure the food temperature in your refrigerator and freezer
- with a thermometer. Throw out food that has been warmer than 40 degrees F.
- Prevent power overloads and fire hazards. Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power may return with momentary surges or spikes that can cause damage.
- Use flashlights, not candles. Turn off the utilities only if you suspect damage or if local officials instruct you to do so.
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Don’t use a gas stove to heat your home and do not use outdoor stoves indoors for heating or cooking. If using a generator, keep it outside in a well-ventilated area away from windows.
AFTER A POWER OUTAGE:
- When in doubt, throw it out! Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture.
- If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug's label says otherwise. Consult your doctor or pharmacist immediately for a new supply.
- Keep away from power lines. Stay at least 35 feet away from fallen power lines and anything they are touching. Call 911 and let them know.
- Restock your emergency kit so the supplies will be there when needed again.
Southern California Edison:
800-611-1911 and/or Southern California Edison Website