In the aftermath of Hurricane Michael many Georgia residents were left in the dark. Due to the widespread power outages, here are some tips what to while the power is out and when it comes back on.
1. Keep freezers and refrigerators closed
While the power is out it is best to keep these appliances closed to try and keep the cold locked. This will help keep your food cold so that it does not spoil during the power outage. An unopened fridge will keep food cold for about 4 hours according to the Food and Drug Administration. A full freezer can keep for 48 hours if it remains closed or 24 hours if it is half full. The FDA recommends that if you can buy a block of ice to keep in either appliance it will help keep it cold longer.
2. Practice proper generator usage
The American Red Cross issued tips on proper use of a generator. Make sure you are keeping the the appliance dry. Keep it in a well-ventilated location. Allow the generator to cool down some before attempting to refuel. The fuel should be stored in a approved can for safety purposes. It also urges people to ask their local fire departments if they have any additional questions on use or laws that could impact your generator use.
3. Keep the kids occupied
Sometimes this can be the most difficult task when the power is out. Get creative when it comes to keeping them entertained. Use those flashlights (if you have spare batteries) to put on a puppet show or story telling with a spotlight. Maybe you can create a pillow fort in the living room for them. A storm can be scary for kids and the power outage can further mess up their routines.
4. Check on your neighbors
If you have neighbors check on them and make that they are faring OK during the power outage. The National Weather Service recommends you make sure they have medical supplies and food to sustain them through the outage. They also say to help one another in the clean up process as the entire community is needed to get everything back to normal. However, leave the trees on the power lines to the professionals.
5. Unplug appliances and electronics
The American Red Cross says you should turn off and unplug any unnecessary electrical equipment. This will help you avoid surges when the power does come back on. It is easy to forget the potential risk of the power coming back on and ruining some of your valuables, but this will help easy that worry. It is good to keep a couple lights so you do know when the power is back on.
6. Use caution with food
The FDA recommends you make sure your food is at a safe temperature before eating and to cook it thoroughly. If at any point the temperature of the food has dropped below 40 degrees for two or more hours then it should be discarded as the food is considered spoiled at this point. If the food still has ice crystals or is below 40 degrees then it safe to refreeze or cook, according to the FDA website. Also check your medications which are suppose to be kept in a fridge as well.
7. Do not touch down power lines
Report any down power lines to your utility company. Even if they look like they may be safe to move just don’t. It is better to let the power company and their removal teams handle any cleanup involving power lines. You run the risk of being electrocuted. Make sure your kids and animals are also kept away from them.