TOLEDO (WTOL) - Being stuck without power for hours on end is not only annoying, but it could be dangerous.
The American Red Cross advises following several tips to stay safe if icy weather has knocked out your power.
- Use flashlights in the dark, not candles.
- Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. If a power outage is widespread, traffic lights could be out and roads could become congested.
- If you are using a generator be sure you understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to use generators safely. For a link on using generators safely CLICK HERE.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
- First use perishable food from the refrigerator. Perishables should have a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below to be safe to eat. Then use food from the freezer.
- Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer.
- If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
- Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.
- Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
- Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
- Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
Additional tips, in case of a prolonged or widespread power outage:
Put together an emergency preparedness kit with these supplies
- Water — one gallon per person, per day (three-day supply for evacuation, two-week supply for home)
- Food — non-perishable, easy-to prepare items (three-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (seven-day supply) and medical items
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
Don’t forget: If someone in your home is dependent on electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment, remember to include backup power in your evacuation plan.
Also, keep a non-cordless telephone in your home. It is likely to work even when the power is out.
And finally, keep your car’s gas tank full.