Hurricane Irma damage: What to do during, after a power outage
By Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
When severe weather knocks out electric power to a home it can be more than just inconvenient.
Hurricane Irma moved through the Southeast last weekend leaving millions in the dark. As of Tuesday morning, more than 7 million people in five states have lost their electric power.
What do you do if you find yourself without electricity? What are the dangers? Here are a few tips.
During a Power Outage:
Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. If food is in the refrigerator or freezer more than that, throw it out. Do not take chances with spoiled food.
Take steps to remain cool. Consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or “cooling shelter” that may be open in your community. If you remain at home, move to the lowest level of your home, since cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other devices. Consider adding surge protectors.
Only use generators away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home’s electrical system.
Do not use cooking grills or fuel-powered generators in-doors. They emit carbon monoxide. You and your family can die from carbon monoxide fumes.
Evacuate immediately if you smell gas.
Turn off and unplug all un-necessary 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.
After a Power Outage
Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F or warmer for 2 hours or more. If the food has an unusual odor, color or texture, throw it out.
Contact a pharmacist or your doctor if you’re concerned about medications having spoiled.
Restock your emergency kit with fresh batteries, canned foods and other supplies.