Staying Safe

As September and National Preparedness Month wraps up we look ahead to October which just happens to be Energy Awareness Month. Both are really important for energy safety. The following are some great tips from the CDC on how to prepare and cope with a sudden loss of power:

Food Safety
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:

  • For the Freezer section: A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.
  • For the Refrigerated section: Pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.

For guidelines on refreezing food when the power comes back on, visit the Food Safety and Inspection Service’s page on Food Safety in an Emergency.

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. Here are some general rules concerning water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene:

  • Do not use contaminated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, wash your hands, make ice, or make baby formula. If possible, use baby formula that does not need to have water added. You can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to wash your hands.
  • Boiling water, when practical, is the preferred way to kill harmful bacteria and parasites. Bringing water to a rolling boil for 1 minute will kill most organisms.

 Extreme Cold
Hypothermia happens when a person’s core body temperature is lower than 35°C (95°F).

Preventing Hypothermia

  • Everyone, especially the elderly and ill, should have adequate food, clothing, shelter, and sources of heat.
  • Blankets can help, even in poorly heated rooms.
  • Wear layers of clothing and a hat, which help to keep in body heat.
  • Move around. Physical activity raises body temperature.

 First Aid for Electrical Shock
If you believe someone has been electrocuted take the following steps:

  1. Look first. Don’t touch. The person may still be in contact with the electrical source. Touching the person may pass the current through you.
  2. Call or have someone else call 911 or emergency medical help.
  3. Turn off the source of electricity if possible. If not, move the source away from you and the affected person using a nonconducting object made of cardboard, plastic or wood.

 For more information on how to stay safe during a power outage, please visit www.ready.gov and www.readypa.org.

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