What to do if the power cuts out

The house goes dark, and everything inside is silent. No fans whirring, microwaves beeping or TVs broadcasting the daily news. Your power has just gone out, perhaps because of the raging storm outside.

During a power outage, stick to the following safety procedures:

  • Use flashlights, not candles, which can start a fire if you drop one in the dark.
  • Keep your refrigerator door closed, and it will keep food cold for four hours. A closed freezer will stay cold for up to two days without electricity.
  • Dress in layers indoors when it’s cold outside and your heater has stopped.
  • Never, never heat your house with the oven or a charcoal grill. Instead, see if a family member or friend can take you in temporarily.
  • Unplug appliances and electronics in case of a sudden surge of power surge, which can damage your equipment.
  • Your backup generator belongs outdoors, not in your house or garage. The carbon monoxide in the exhaust could be hazardous to your family.

Once the power comes back on:

  • Toss out food that has been exposed to temperatures higher than 40 degrees for more than two hours. Also, get rid of anything that smells or feels like it has spoiled.
  • Restock emergency supplies, like batteries and canned food.