Due to the recent tornadoes across the Texas Gulf Coast, some residents may experience a power outage. The American Red Cross wants to share power outage tips with Texans,

During a Power Outage 

Staying Safe Indoors 

  • Use flashlights in the dark, not candles. 
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out, and roads will be congested. 
  • If you are using a generator, be sure you understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to use generators safely. Never operate a generator inside homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, sheds or other partially enclosed spaces, even if using a fan or opening doors and windows. Carbon Monoxide (CO) can quickly build up in these spaces and linger for hours after a generator is shut down. Place your generator outside, well away 

Food Safety 

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. 
  • First use perishable food from the refrigerator. Perishables should have a temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) or below to be safe to eat. Then use food from the freezer. 
  • Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer. 
  • If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items. 
  • Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times. 

Electrical Equipment 

  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics. 
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment. 
  • Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on. 

After a Power Outage 

Staying Safe After a Power Outage 

  • If electrical power lines are down, don’t touch them. Keep your family and pets away. Report downed lines to your utility company. 

Throw Out Unsafe Food 

  • Throw away any food (particularly meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that has been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out! 
  • Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria causing food-borne illnesses can start growing quickly. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking. 
  • If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer. 
  • If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it. 

For more information on storm preparedness, visit www.redcross.org. Spanish language information is available at www.cruzrojaamericana.org

About the American Red Cross: 

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/ct or visit us on Twitter at @CTRedCross.