Prepare for Outages

  • Fill plastic containers with water, leaving about an inch of space inside each one for the water to expand. Place the containers in the refrigerator and freezer. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold for several hours if the power goes out.
  • Back up computer files and operating systems. Consider buying extra batteries and a power converter if you use a laptop computer.
  • Get a high-quality surge protector for your electronic equipment.
  • If you have an electric garage door opener, find out where the manual release lever is located and learn how to operate it.
  • If you have a telephone at home or at work that requires electricity to operate (such as a cordless phone), plan for alternate communication, including having a standard telephone handset, cellular telephone, radio, or pager.
  • Keep your car fuel tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power the pumps.
  • Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs) may not work during a power outage, so make sure you have extra cash at home.

During an Outage

  • Keep the freezer and refrigerator door closed at all times.
  • If you use medication that requires refrigeration, most can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.
  • Refrigerated food should be below 41 degrees ideally (40-45 ok), however if it's over 45-50 degrees it should be thrown away.
  • If you want to monitor food with a food thermometer, it should be checked every 2-4 hours.
  • If you have a cooler, you can use bagged ice to keep food cold
  • Turn off all computers, monitors, printers, copiers, scanners and other electronic devices when they are not being used.

Food safety information provided by the Inspectional Services Department's Health Division.

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