Stay Safe During Power Outages!

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Winter storms can bring extreme cold temperatures, freezing rain, snow, as well as ice. Power outages can also occur. Every thirty minutes, power outages are reported on the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) website. According to NCDPS, there are currently 25,840 power outages across the state. As for Forsyth County, there are 6,242 power outages. Forsyth County is the top county with the most outages.

Here are some helpful tips to better help you and your family prepare before, during, and after a power outage. 

Prepare Now:

  • Prepare for batteries as well as other options to meet your needs while electricity is down.
  • Place carbon monoxide alarms with battery backup in central locations at all levels of your house.
  • Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer to know the temperature when the electricity is restored. Toss out food anytime the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.
  • Be sure to keep cell phones and other electronics charged and gas tanks full for vehicles and generators.
  • Have an emergency kit with enough supplies to last 3 days (72 hours). Include non-perishable food items, water, personal care items, flashlight w/ batteries, blanket and a change of clothes. Don’t forget to prepare for your furry companions as well. 

Survive During:

  • Keep both the refrigerator and the freezer shut. The refrigerator keeps food cold for about four hours.
  • A full freezer maintains the temperature for about 48 hours. If needed, use ice coolers. Utilize thermometers to track temperature changes.
  • Carbon Monoxide is deadly. Generators or charcoal barbecues can only be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from walls.
  • Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your house.

Be Safe After:

  • Track local news and warnings  for up to date information and guidance.
  • If the electricity is out for longer than a day, dump any prescription that must be refrigerated unless otherwise specified on the pharmacy label. Seek medical advice from your doctor or pharmacist for a fresh shipment immediately.
  • Discard any food that has been exposed to temperatures of 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or that has an odd scent, color or texture.
  • Continue to take precautions to protect yourself from COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, such as washing your hands regularly and brushing the areas that are often infected

Below are resources on how to stay safe during winter storms and power outages. 

Written By

Shae King, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionShae KingExtension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Call Shae E-mail Shae N.C. Cooperative Extension, Forsyth County Center
Posted on Feb 18, 2021
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