Survival tips: What to do when power outages are likely, or after the lights go out

Here are some tips on how to handle threats to or loss of electrical power:

If you still have power but it could go out at any time:

— Find out where your fuse box is located and check to ensure no fuse is tripped. Keep spare fuses handy.

— Put your medication in your refrigerator. Most meds can be kept in a closed fridge for several hours without a problem.

— Check your car’s gas tank to make sure it is at least half full. Gas pumps need electricity to run, so stations may shut down.

— Carry a house key in your pocket, wallet or purse. If your power goes out and you regularly enter your home through the garage, your electric-powered garage door won’t be able to open and you will need a key to get inside your front or back door.

— Make sure you have spare batteries for flashlights and matches for candles.

If your power is already out:

— Use flashlights, candles or oil lamps for light.

— Don’t use kerosene heaters, barbeque grills or any outdoor-type heater indoors. These create poisonous gases.

— Try not to open your refrigerator and freezer doors too much. The food inside should stay cold for hours as long as the door is shut.

— Unplug unnecessary electronics like computers, televisions and stereos. When the power does come back on, all of these will turn on at once and can result in a power surge. But leave a light on so that you will know when the power returns.

— If it’s cool, dress in layers to stay warm. Wear gloves and a knit hat. If you can’t get warm, take a warm shower. Even if your hot water tank is electric, the water in it will stay warm for a few hours.

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Sources: Federal Emergency Management Agency, California Energy Commission Consumer Energy Center.

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