Click here for our first post in this series, Preparing for Lights Out, Pt. 1.
During the Outage
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors shut as much as possible. You do not need to refrigerate your emergency water, so keeping it out of the fridge will allow perishable food to last longer. An unopened fridge will remain cool for up to 4 hours, so as you approach that mark, consume some unspoiled perishable foods. Freezers will stay cold for 24 to 48 hours, with the longer time if they are full. If the power outage looks to last for more than a day, start packing freezer foods into the Styrofoam containers along with the ice packs.
As a pending outage nears, save all data on active computer programs and shut all electronic devices off. Unplug all of these devices as well to prevent an electrical surge from destroying them or starting a fire. After an outage occurs, unplug ovens, microwaves, and other appliances. Shut off all house lights save for one easily seen bulb. That will alert you when the power has returned.
If it can be avoided, do not travel by car during a power outage. Without streetlights and traffic lights, busy roads can easily become congested. If you use a generator or independent cooking apparatus like a grill or camp stove, DO NOT use them in an enclosed space. The carbon monoxide from these can be lethal. Make sure they are used outside in open air, away from doors and windows. Make sure there is at least one carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home, just in case the levels get too high.
After the Outage
Avoid any downed power lines in your area and report them to the authorities. Live wires present an extreme hazard to people and pets. Go through the food in your refrigerator and freezer to find any that may have spoiled. If the food has been exposed to more than 40 degrees for a period of two hours, get rid of it. If any food has an unusual color, smell, or texture, get rid of it as well. Do not try to ingest food that may have spoiled. Any food in your freezer that has ice crystals on it is safe to refreeze.
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