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Be Prepared for a Power Outage

Published on: 2/13/2013 4:18 PM

​Every resident should learn to be prepared for a power outage. Although power outages may only last a few hours, individuals and organizations should be prepared to be without assistance for 72 hours or longer.

To assist individuals in preparing for a power outage, local emergency managers are joined by the County of Santa Clara, American Red Cross, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and PG&E in providing information on what to do during a power outage.
Report Downed Power Lines: Stay at least 10 feet away from downed power lines as electricity might still be flowing through the lines.
Sensitive Appliances:. Protect appliances from possible power surges when electricity is restored. Unplug appliances and computers, if possible, and turn off non-essential lights.
Keep Food Cold: Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to help prevent food spoilage. Refrigerated foods should remain safe to eat for four hours. Food in a closed freezer can stay frozen for up to two days.
  • Discard perishable food from the refrigerator that has been without power for more than four hours.
  • Always Remember Temperature Controls: Cold foods should be at 41degrees Fahrenheit or below. Hot foods should be at 140 degrees Fahrenheit or above.
  • Serve prepared, ready-to-eat perishable foods first.
  • Perishable foods such as milk, meats and other foods normally stored under refrigeration will spoil rapidly without it. These foods, if still cold, should be used as quickly as possible.
  • Pack perishable foods in ice.
  • Foods in the freezer can last several days without power if the door is not opened frequently. Foods that thaw and remain below 41degrees Fahrenheit, may be used but should not be refrozen.
  • Prepared and other perishable foods should be discarded when safe refrigeration and hot holding temperatures cannot be maintained.
Residents can listen to a recorded USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) message on food safety during power outages by calling the 24-hour food safety hotline. The toll free number is 1-800-535-4555.
Water: Discontinue non-essential water usage. Do not drink cloudy or dirty water. Don’t be alarmed if chlorine level is higher than normal. Notify water officials of low or no water pressure.
Stay Cool: During hot days, stay cool indoors and drink plenty of fluids.
Check on Neighbors: Check on elderly or medically dependent neighbors.
Generator Options: Establish independent, short-term power supplies such as generators or battery- operated devices. Instead, plug appliances directly into generator.
Monitor Radio and Television: Monitor battery- operated radio or television for current information on the outage.
Telephones: Use telephones that do not depend on electricity. Cordless phones will not function during an outage.
Garage Doors & Security Gates: Know how to manually release and open any electric doors, like garage doors or security gates.
Anticipate Traffic Delays: Intersections should be treated as four-way stops when traffic lights are out.
For More Information Please Contact:
Office of Emergency Services
55 W. Younger Avenue
Suite 450
San Jose, CA 95110
Fax: 408-294-4851
Phone: 408-808-7800