How to keep yourself and others safe during a power outage

Strong thunderstorms mixed with dangerous heat could lead to prolonged power outages in some areas of the US this week.

Not having access to power can impact the ability to keep food and medications cold, see potential danger, maintain a comfortable temperature and stay connected to safety services.

The basics: It’s crucial to ensure electric appliances are disconnected to avoid any harm or damage from power surges, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. It also recommends keeping freezers and refrigerators closed to help maintain cooler temperatures for food preservation. For good measure, turn off the main power breaker in your house and do not use any devices that are wet.

Use flashlights instead of candles: Avoid using candles during a blackout if possible. If you must use them, keep them away from anything that could catch fire and do not leave them unattended, the CDC says. Ensure a fire extinguisher is available and those around you know how to use it.

Check on neighbors and loved ones: When it’s safe, reach out to people around you to make sure they are doing well. Those who have medical equipment that require power, like respirators, should be taken to locations with generators or a friend’s or neighbor’s home that hasn’t been impacted. And remember: The elderly and young children are especially vulnerable to extreme weather.

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