California’s wildfire season is going to be one for the history books this year. As of the end of October, roughly 6,200 fires were recorded by the US Forest service, all of which burned down almost 199,000 acres of land and 698 buildings/structures. In an effort to prevent even more fires triggered by extreme weather conditions, multiple utility companies took measures to cut power across an expansive grid of communities. And just like that, several California residents found themselves dealing with a one-two punch of power outages and mandatory evacuations. When things are going well, it’s very easy to take some of life’s luxuries for granted. Most people go about their daily routines never imagining that their access to electricity could be disrupted by circumstances beyond anyone’s control. If you want to be a survivor during life’s emergencies, one of the most important skills you can teach you! rself is how to cope in the event of a power outage. Her are a few tips on what to do if your electricity is ever cut off:
Step #01: Prepare in Advance
● Take an inventory of the items you need which rely on electricity. If anything you use has to be connected to power without fail, invest in alternative energy sources such as generators.
● Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.
● Sign up for local alerts and warning systems. It’s important to monitor weather reports.
● Install carbon monoxide detectors with a battery backup in central locations on every level of your home. If you ever end up using fire in your home due to an outage, carbon monoxide poisoning is a lethal risk which you should prevent at all costs. you should be alert for.
● Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long its battery backup will last. It is vital to stay connected whether or not you have electricity.
● Review the emergency supplies which are available to you in case of a power outage. At the very least, always store flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Have enough nonperishable food and water as well.
● Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer to measure the baseline temperature when the power is restored. Throw out food if the temperature of your fridge is 40 degrees or higher.
● Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full.
Step #02: Use Ingenuity and Common Sense During Outages
In the event that power goes out, always remember to:
● Keep freezers and refrigerator ! doors closed. The average refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will also keep its temperature for about 48 hours. Use coolers with ice if necessary and monitor temperatures with a thermometer.
● Maintain food supplies that do not require refrigeration.
● Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.
● Check on your neighbors. Older adults and young children are especially vulnerable to extreme environmental conditions.
● If the outage isn’t severe, chec! k to see if there’s a community location with power.
● Remember to turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, and electronics. Power may return with momentary surges or spikes that cause damage.
Step #03: Don’t be Hasty when Power Comes Back
● When in doubt, throw it out. Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures of 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more. Also be on the lookout for unusual odor, color, or texture.
● If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug’s label says ot! herwise. If a life depends on the refrigerated drugs, consult a doctor or pharmacist and use current medicine only until a new supply is available.
Doing well after a power outage boils down to preparation and rational response. The best way to survive is to be cautious about doing tasks which usually require electricity. This is especially true when it comes to eating food and consuming medication. Remember that when the power is out, it’s that much easier to do things which cause poisoning. So be alert, be efficient and be patient until your power is restored. For more information on how Adriana’s Insurance Services can help you stay safe on the road, visit any of our offices or give us a call at 1-800-639-7654. We got you covered!