Power outages

Long-term power outages may occur anywhere, at any time and affect the entire community and economy. A power failure might:
• Disrupt road, rail and air traffic
• Stop the water, gas and other fuels supply
• Lead to the closure of shops, petrol stations, ATMs, banks and other services
• Cause food spoilage and water pollution
• Disrupt the access to servers and to the Internet

Before

• Prepare an index of your electricity-powered items
• If you’re permanently taking medication or using a powered medical device, consult with your doctor, and plan the usage of such devices and medicines that require constant, low temperatures in case of power outage. Learn how long can medicines be stored at higher temperatures. Possess detailed advice on medicines that are necessary for you and your family
• Provide a generator or other alternative power source to meet your needs when there’s a power cut
• Monitor local information from the power plant, usually informing about power outages
• Monitor weather reports, listen or read messages and alerts
• Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup
• Determine if your phone will work in case of a power failure, get a power bank
• Prepare flashlights with extra batteries for each family member
• Prepare a stock of non-perishable food, water and hygiene products to meet the whole family’s needs. Remember about animals
• Ensure that mobile phones and other electrical equipment are charged and fuel tanks are completely filled

During

• Freezers and refrigerators should be kept closed. The fridge will keep the food cool for about four hours. A full freezer is able to keep food cool for about 48 hours. If necessary, use thermal bags with ice. Monitor the temperatures with a thermometer
• Keep a stock of food that doesn’t require refrigeration
• Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Charcoal grill generators should always be used outside and at least 5 meters from windows
• Don’t use a gas stove or oven to heat your home
• Help your neighbours. Older people and young children are particularly vulnerable to the extreme temperatures
• Turn off or completely unplug appliances, equipment and electronics. The power supply may return with occasional power surges that may cause damage to the devices

After

• If in doubt, throw away food that has been exposed to temperatures above 4 degrees Celsius for two hours or more, or that has a strange smell, colour and texture
• If the power is off for more than one day, throw away any medicine that should be cooled down unless the label of the medicine says otherwise. If life depends on cooled medicines, consult your doctor or pharmacist and use the medicines until a new supply is available

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