Food, Water and Generator Safety Tips During Power Outages

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- With power out and the temperature flirting with 100 degrees, we have some tips on what food can be saved and what needs to be thrown out.

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency, Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Department of Agriculture say freezers and refrigerators can keep food cool for a few hours.

There will be a Kanawha-Charleston Health Department Sanitarian available in the Emergency Operations Center throughout the evening to answer questions concerning food guidelines and the reopening of restaurants after a power outage. Please contact the Sanitarian at 304.746.8743.

Food Safety
Never taste food to determine it's safety
Appearance and odor are not indicators of food safety
Keep door closed as much as possible

If power is out for more than two hours, follow the following guidelines:
Discard perishable food (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been above 40 F for more than two hours
For the refrigerator: Pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy and spoilable leftovers in a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose
A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours
A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours
Do not open your freezer door if you can avoid it
When it doubt, throw it out!

Water Safety
Electrical power outages may affect the operation of your private home water or sewage treatment system. Learn what to do if you have a private water system or sewage treatment system.

Generator Safety
While a generator can provide an alternative source of power when the electricity goes out, it can also become a dangerous source of carbon monoxide.

Generators should be operated in well ventilated locations outdoors away from all doors, windows and vent openings.

Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.

Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building.

Make sure to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home.

Follow manufacturer’s instructions for correct placement and
mounting height.

Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is running.

Store fuel for the generator in a container that is intended for the purpose and is correctly labeled as such. Store the containers outside of living areas.

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