What to do if you lose electricity

Hilary Anderson, American Red Cross Preparedness and Resiliency Manager, shares advice on what to do if you lose electricity after a disaster or emergency
What To Do If Your Power Goes Out - Emergency Preparedness
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What to do if you lose electricity

What should you know about electrical emergencies? There are a couple of different things. For one, if the power goes out, the first thing you want to do is keep the refrigerator doors closed as long as you can and your freezer closed as long as you can as well to keep the food preserved. In general, you can keep food in the regular refrigerator for about 4 hours without having to worry about eating it again. For your freezer, if it's full, it can last up to 48 hours--but if it's half full, about 24 hours. If you're ever worried about your food, don't even take the risk--just throw it away, but do know you have that timeframe for keeping your food okay. If an electrical outage does happen, you also want to unplug your appliances; mostly what you're doing is protecting in the event of a surge--everything turns back on, all the appliances turn back on--you can have a short or a surge in your home, which could in turn cause you to lose power, even when everyone else just got it turned back on. Be careful, be aware of food safety, and make sure your appliances are unplugged. If you're in the car, and you happen to be affected by a downed power line--for example, during a windstorm--if the power line falls on your vehicle, please do not get out of your vehicle. If you have a phone on you, call 911 and wait for assistance. If you happen to be in an area where that happens to someone else, once again--do not approach that downed power line. You put yourself in danger, whereas you could call 911 and get help there for them immediately. By touching a vehicle, or touching anybody who's even being electrocuted, you can be electrocuted as well. Call 911, get help there as soon as possible, and stay back.

Hilary Anderson, American Red Cross Preparedness and Resiliency Manager, shares advice on what to do if you lose electricity after a disaster or emergency


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Hilary Anderson, MA

American Red Cross

Hilary Anderson has been with the American Red Cross for the past three and a half years as a volunteer and staff member in positions with communications, disaster relief, development and volunteer services. As the Preparedness and Resiliency Manager, her primary responsibility is the delivery of educational programming across the Los Angeles region to get individuals, schools, businesses and organizations prepared for a disaster. As a dog owner, she also hopes to get your pets ready too! Hilary has a master’s degree in International Policy Studies with an emphasis in humanitarian assistance as well as a bachelor’s degree in International Relations, Journalism and German. She has worked for non-profits abroad in Israel, Bolivia and Germany focusing on grant writing, youth and education and also feeding and sheltering. 

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