Preparing for a Power Outage

Print
Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

View Santa Barbara County's one-sheet here (English and Spanish) 

Before an Outage:

  • Take an inventory now of the items you need that rely on electricity. Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out. If your property has automatic gates or garage doors, lean how to open them manually, when the power is out.

  • Have enough nonperishable food and water (1 gallon per person/per day) for at least 5 days.

  • Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for any medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.

  • Monitor the weather so you know when a power shutoff is likely. Contact SCE to find out what resources they have that can assist you during an outage.

  • Sign up for emergency notifications and alerts at www.AwareAndPrepare.org and Nixle (for Nixle, text your zip code to 888777).

  • Purchase a battery-powered radio to help you stay informed. During an emergency when the power is out, designated local radio stations that have generators and can continue to broadcast. For a list of these stations, go to: https://readysbc.org/storm-ready/radio-ready/

  • Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage. Landline phones, assuming they are analog and are not wireless or VoIP (Voice over Internet), generally work during a power outage. This is because power is sent to the phones through the phone line from the power companies (call your phone company to confirm this). But cell phones and phones powered by electricity will work only as long as they are charged and only as long as the cell towers have power (keep in mind that not all cell towers have generators).

  • Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full. Remember that most fuel stations will not be open during an outage so use fuel sparingly.

  • Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member, avoid using candles, and install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup on every level of your home.

  • Don’t forget about your pets. Have enough food, water and medications to sustain your pets.

  • If you are considering purchasing a generator, read this information from the Air Pollution Control District (APCD) for residents and businesses.

During an Outage:

  • Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours. Place block ice in the refrigerator, move perishables to the bottom shelves or drawers, and monitor temperatures with a thermometer (keep temperatures below 40 degrees (f)). If a refrigerator is not an option, food can be placed in coolers with ice and monitor temperatures with a thermometer.

  • Use food supplies in the most efficient order possible: perishable refrigerated food first, perishable frozen food next, and canned, shelf-stable and dehydrated foods last. Using masking tape on the refrigerator door is a helpful reminder to keep it closed. Think about what you need before opening it and close it quickly.

  • Avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows. Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home. If using a generator, remember that most fuel stations will not be open.

  • Check on your neighbors and pets. Outages are most likely during periods of hot weather. Older adults, young children, and animals are especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures.

  • If heat or cold is extreme and you have the ability to leave, go to a community location or another location outside of the outage area that has power.

  • Turn off or disconnect appliances, equipment, or electronics. Power may return with momentary “surges” or “spikes” that can cause damage.

  • Avoid activities and that could spark a fire. If a fire starts in your area or if you feel that you are in danger, do not rely on emergency alerts to tell you when to evacuate (when the power is out emergency alerts may not work normally).

  • Help keep emergency lines open. Only call 9-1-1 if you are having an emergency.

After an Outage:

  • When in doubt, throw it out! Throw away any 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 a life depends on the refrigerated drugs, consult a doctor or pharmacist and use medicine only until a new supply is available.