How to weather an electrical power outage
By 6 p.m. Monday, about 47,000 New Yorkers had lost power because of Hurricane Sandy. Here are tips to help you weather an extended electrical outage:
- Form a plan. Gather important phone numbers, organize an evacuation route and identify a meeting place in case you lose communication with others.
- Prepare kit. Use a bucket, duffel or other storage item and fill it with three days’ worth of non-perishable food items and water,disposable utensils, matches, lighters, candles and holders (tin foil and aluminum cans can be used to make candlestick holders), flashlights, batteries, a radio, first aid kit, emergency money, personal hygiene items, medications and important documents.
- Also put together extra blankets, firewood, water-repellant tarps, a fire extinguisher, ice in a cooler, hand-tools, extension cords and a battery-operated space heater if possible.
- Turn off electrical appliances to prevent damage to electrical items. Avoid appliances until power is restored.
- Do not plug electric generators directly into an electrical system. Electricity could flow backwards into power lines causing danger. Plug necessary appliances directly into the generator.
- Be sure to use the properly rated extension chords for your generator, and make sure it is properly vented for carbon monoxide.
- Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not use a generator, power washer, camping stove, or grill inside your home, garage, porch, or any other area with limited ventilation.
- Do not turn on a gas stove for heat.
- Leave a light on so you can see when power is restored.
- Stay away from fallen wires, flooded areas and debris as though they could have electricity running through them.
- Get familiar with your central electrical panel in case you have to reset circuit breakers after a power outage.
- Inspect around your electricity meter for possible damage from an outage. Call your utility provider if necessary.
- Throw away perishable foods if power is out for longer than two hours and the temperature is above 40 degrees.
- Dress accordingly for the weather.
- Avoid unnecessary travel.