Tis the season for more storms and power outages. When the big snow and ice storm of February 2021 hit, we were prepared. For 20 years I was over Facilities Management at H-E-B Food-Drugs stores, offices and their properties throughout Texas and Mexico. Here are some quick tips I learned along the way that can help families stay safe.
Before an outage, create an easily accessible emergency kit with these items:
- one gallon of water per person
- hand-crank radio
- tool box
- first-aid supplies
- manual can opener
- nonperishable food items like granola bars, jerky and trail mix
Install appliance thermometers in your refrigerator and freezer. Doing this will help you tell if your food gets warmer than 40 degrees F—the danger zone for food-borne illness.
Keep the fridge and freezer full to keep everything cold longer. Tuck extra bags and bottles of water into the fridge and freezer to maximize the cold. If you anticipate an outage or receive notice of a planned one, think ahead and set your refrigerator temperature to the coldest setting.
During an outage
It’s a good idea to report your outage first. Then, turn off all appliances and lights that were on when service was disrupted, leaving a lamp on so you’ll know when power is restored.
Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. Unopened, a refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours without power, and a freezer will keep food cold for about 48 hours without power.
Turn off the circuit breakers to major appliances. When power is restored, this prevents overloads.
Avoid burning candles as this creates a fire hazard. Stick to flashlights. Even headlamps work, especially for the kids!
Once power is restored, avoid overloading your circuits by turning appliances back on in 15-minute intervals.
We encourage you to be prepared before an outage happens. Create your emergency kit and practice what to do during an outage with your family. Be prepared and stay safe.