(MIAMI, September 22, 2015) – During the fourth week of National Preparedness Month, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue focuses on power outage preparedness. Any time there is severe weather there is a chance of a power outage. A sudden loss of power for less than 2 hours is nothing to worry about; However, it is always best to be prepared. Here are some basic safety tips:
Before a Power Outage
- Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
- Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power. For more information visit: Get Tech Ready at www.ready.gov.
- Charge cell phones and any battery powered devices.
- Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
- Purchase ice or freeze water-filled plastic containers to help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.
- Keep your car’s gas tank full-gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. If you use your car to re-charge devices, do NOT keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to a home, this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by visiting your state’s or local website so you can locate the closest cooling and warming shelters.
- If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power dependent like a medical device, determine a back-up plan. For more planning information tips visit: Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities and Others with Access and Functional Needs at www.ready.gov.
During a Power Outage: Safety Tips
- Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours
- Take steps to remain cool if it is hot outside. In intense heat when the power may be off for a long time, 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.
- Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm.
- 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.
- If you are considering purchasing a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing.
- Only use generators a minimum of 10 ft. away from your home, away from windows and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home's electrical system.
After a Power Outage
- Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
- If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
- Contact your doctor if you’re concerned about medications having spoiled.
- Restock your emergency kit with fresh batteries, canned foods and other supplies.
For more information on National Preparedness Month and power outage preparedness, go to www.ready.gov. Another way to stay informed is by registering with Miami-Dade Alerts. Residents of Miami-Dade County who enroll in this alerting system can receive SMS (text) messages and/or emails providing emergency and public safety information such as weather advisories including tornado and tropical storm/hurricane warnings. To subscribe to Miami-Dade Alerts, please sign up at: http://www.miamidade.gov/alerts. Standard message and data rates apply to text messages sent or received, and other charges may also apply.