In the dark on what to do to safely recover after a power outage? Don’t worry. We’ll help ensure your emergency preparedness plan is complete with these tips to on how you and your family can safely recover from an extended power outage.
1. Be Smart
If the power outage was caused by extreme weather such as a hurricane, blizzard or flood you may have additional hazards and dangers to face after the initial emergency. From downed power lines to washed out roadways and glass and other dangerous objects, there are numerous risks you need to be concerned about. Review our emergency preparedness article to refresh your memory.
2. Point it Out
If you see a downed line, contact your utility company immediately – don’t assume someone else already has or the power company knows.
3. When in Doubt, Throw it Out
Once the power returns, you can start your with ensuring your family’s safety regarding food. First, don’t taste the food to check if it’s safe! You can’t rely on appearance or smell. If the power outage only lasted a couple hours, your food should be fine. If perishable food has been above 40° Fahrenheit for more than two hours, discard it. Visit foodsafety.gov for the food spoilage guide from the USDA.
4. Water, Water Everywhere – Not a Drop to Drink
Do not drink any water that may be contaminated. Check with health officials in your area to find out if the drinking water in your area is potable or not. Heat your water to a rolling boil for a minimum of one minute to kill most bacteria. Or, use bottled water from a trusted source until your water supply is confirmed to be OK to drink.
5. Come Online Safely
If you experienced flooding in your home during the power outage, be careful! Don’t go into a flooded basement unless you are sure the power is disconnected at the main switch. If appliances or outlets were flooded, do not use them.
Contact a professional to check them first. Once power returns give your system time to stabilize before reconnecting tools and appliances. Start with your heating and cooling system. Once that has been online for a few minutes you can bring power back to your refrigerator and freezer. If everything is stable, you can then add any other electrical appliances deemed safe.
6. Restock & Resupply
Use this time to review the contents of your emergency kit and replenish any of the water, food or supplies you used during the emergency so you and your family will be ready for the next one.
Don’t wait until you’re in the middle of an emergency to figure out what you’re going to do. Have a plan in place – one that covers before, during and after – and one your entire family is familiar with. The only true emergency preparedness plan is one that has you prepared for every emergency. Visit Ready.gov and participate in National Preparedness Plan to participate and make sure you and your family is ready.