What to do when power goes out

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

By now you should know that hurricane season is upon us. The season goes from June 1 to Nov. 30. During this time, you should prepare by organizing your emergency kits with food, water and other safety items — but you should strategize some action plans as well.

Not only should you decide things like where to go and how to get ahold of loved

ones, but you also should consider safety measures as well. According to Accuweather. com, hurricanes are the leading cause of power outages in the United States by a wide margin. If your power goes out this hurricane season, what should you do?

• Plan ahead. Keep a couple of coolers on hand — whether they are high-quality, expensive versions or even made from inexpensive Styrofoam. These will help you to keep your food from spoiling. With that in mind, keep plenty of ice on hand as well. The Red Cross suggests surrounding food in your cooler and your refrigerator with ice. They also advise using a digital quick-response thermometer to check the internal temperatures of food. Discard food that is 40 degrees or higher. Remember, too, that food is not that only thing that needs refrigeration. Take stock and plan accordingly for refrigerated medications as well.

• Buy a generator. If you rely on power for medical needs, such as a nebulizer for breathing treatments or a CPAP for sleep apnea, you will want to make sure you always have power when you need it. While you are at it, make sure to always have gas on hand to fuel the generator. Just remember that generators should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows, according to Ready.gov.

• Keep your home safe. Ready.gov recommends avoiding the use of gas stoves, disconnecting appliances and electronics, keeping refrigerators and freezers closed, and relocating if necessary (and safe) for heating and cooling. Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups, and keep a hand-crank radio with extra batteries on hand as well.

• Check your neighbors. Not only do you want to ensure people like older adults and young children are safe, but you also want to see the scale of the outage. If your neighbors have power, Hawaiian Electric Co. recommends checking your home circuit breakers or fuses to help determine if your power loss could have stemmed from a household problem. You can check an outage map online and also report power outages via the internet or through Hawaiian Electric’s mobile app or trouble line.

Email your questions to Joanne at thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.