What You Need to Know When the Power Goes Out Unexpectedly CDC offers these tips to help you prepare for and cope with sudden loss of power.
If the power is out for less than 2 hours, then the food in your refrigerator and freezer will be safe to consume. While the power is out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep food cold for longer.
If the power is out for longer than 2 hours, follow the guidelines below:
The following resources provide additional information on preparing for emergencies and determining if your food is safe after a power outage:
Safe Drinking Water
When power goes out, water purification systems may not be functioning fully. Safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene includes bottled, boiled, or treated water. Your state or local health department can make specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area. Here are some general rules concerning water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene. Remember:
Use a bleach solution to rinse water containers before reusing them. Use water storage tanks and other types of containers with caution. For example, fire truck storage tanks and previously used cans or bottles may be contaminated with microbes or chemicals. Do not rely on untested devices for decontaminating water.
First Aid for Electrical Shock
If you believe someone has been electrocuted take the following steps:
Do not try to help someone else from the car while you are standing on the ground.
Avoid Carbon Monoxide
For important information about the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning during a power outage:
As power returns after an outage, people at work may be at risk of electrical or traumatic injuries as power lines are reenergized and equipment is reactivated. CDC recommends that employers and employees be aware of those risks and take protective steps if they are in contact with or in proximity to power lines, electrical components, and the moving parts of heavy machinery. More information on electrical safety is available “Worker Safety in Power Outages”
CDC recommends that people make an emergency plan that includes a disaster supply kit. This kit should include enough water, dried and canned food, and emergency supplies (flashlights, batteries, first-aid supplies, prescription medicines, and a digital thermometer) to last at least 3 days. Use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns, rather than candles, gas lanterns, or torches (to minimize the risk of fire). You can find more information on emergency plans and supply kits at Ready America.
Impact of Power Outage on Vaccine Storage
This outage has significant implications for vaccine storage. The following information from CDC’s National Immunization Program should provide some guidance regarding vaccine storage issues.