Be prepared for a power outage

Power outages are most commonly caused by bad weather, trees contacting electric lines or equipment, motor vehicle crashes affecting electric equipment, equipment failure or damage caused by animals. Faulty wiring and equipment in your buildings can also cause a localized power outage. 

Investigate your home or business to determine if any electrical hazards are present. If there are, notify your local power company. If you see or smell any signs of an electrical flash or fire, call 911. 

Look to see if your neighbors are also without power. Streetlights may be the best indication of this. 

Prepare in advance: assemble an emergency preparedness kit, with supplies such as water, non-perishable food, a flashlight, extra batteries, first aid kit and more; create a household evacuation plan that includes your pets; and stay informed abut your community’s risk and response plans. 

Protect yourself during a power outage: keep freezers and refrigerators closed, only use generators outdoors and away from windows and understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, do not use a gas stove to heat your home, disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges, and check on neighbors, use flashlights instead of candles, eliminate unnecessary travel. 

To keep your food from spoiling during a power outage, keep a cooler, ice and a digital thermometer on hand. Have at least a half tank of gas in your car and fill extra containers. If power is out for an extended time, gas supply may be limited.

Be safe after: throw away food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture; if the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug’s label says otherwise. 

If electrical power lines are down, do not touch them. Report downed lines to your utility company. 

To report a power outage, call your local electric service. 

Information was gathered from Tillamook PUD, Department of Homeland Security, and American Red Cross.

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