If Mother Nature packs a punch, it might be several hours or even more than a day before utility crews can restore power to every customer. You can survive a prolonged power outage more comfortably by keeping the following tips in mind.
The most important rule is never try to heat a room with a gas stove or oven. Using a natural gas, propane or oil-fired appliance improperly can deplete oxygen from a room, causing asphyxiation, or produce deadly carbon monoxide fumes .
Both of these deadly circumstances can occur suddenly, with few or no warning signs or symptoms. Instead, layer yourself with extra sweaters, socks and blankets.
If you use a wood-burning fireplace , crack open a window on the opposite side of the room to allow for adequate air circulation. Operating a fireplace in an enclosed room could also cause carbon monoxide problems.
Keeping food safe
Avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer door - every time the door is opened, up to 30 percent of the cold air can escape. Refrigerated food will stay cold up to six hours; frozen food will keep for about two days if the door is not opened.
If the outage is prolonged, pack refrigerated items in a Styrofoam or insulated cooler surrounded by ice.
When the power comes back on, use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food - if it's less than 40 degrees, it's safe to keep. If frozen foods still have ice crystals, they can safely be refrozen.