Thursday, July 16, 2015

Prepare your family to stay healthy and safe during power outages

Image of supply kit items in case of power outages

Tallahassee - Summer time in Florida brings the potential for high temperatures and hazardous storms, which sometimes leads to power outages that last from a few hours to several days. The Florida Department of Health encourages all Floridians and visitors to have an emergency plan and supply kit ready to keep your family healthy and safe.

"When electricity goes out in a storm, you must be ready with safe alternatives for light and healthy ready-to-eat foods,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. "Power outages become a temporary nuisance when you and your family are prepared.”

Here are a few tips to prepare for before, during and after a power outage occurs:

Before an outage:
  • Prepare an emergency supply kit for you, your family and pets; business, too.
  • Make a family communications plan.
  • Keep enough water and healthy ready-to-eat foods on hand that do not require cooking or refrigeration.
During an outage:
  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours if it is unopened.
  • Only use flashlights, NEVER candles. The flames from candles can lead to a greater risk of fire.
  • Remember that generators and grills should only be used outside, well away from windows and doors, to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
After an outage:
  • When the power comes back on wait a few minutes before turning on major appliances to help eliminate problems that could occur if there's a sharp increase in demand.
  • Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish or eggs) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
For more information, visit the Florida Department of Health hurricane and severe weather information page.