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What Do I Do During A Blackout?

Turn off or disconnect any appliances, equipment (like air conditioners) or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary "surges" or "spikes" that can damage equipment such as computers and motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer, or furnace.

Leave one light turned on so you'll know when your power returns.

Leave the doors of your refrigerator and freezer closed to keep your food as fresh as possible. If you must eat food that was refrigerated or frozen, check it carefully for signs of spoilage. See the Red Cross brochure called, "Help The Power Is Out" for more information.

Use the phone for emergencies only. Listening to a portable radio can provide the latest information. Do not call 9-1-1 for information -- only call to report a life-threatening emergency.

Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion.

Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and elevators may not work during a power outage.

If it is hot outside, take steps to remain cool. Move to the lowest level of your home, as cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty. If the heat is intense and the power may be off for a long time, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall, or "cooling shelter" that may be opened in your community. Listen to local radio or television for more information. Get more tips on the preparing for a heat wave.

Remember to provide plenty of fresh, cool water for your pets.

If it is cold outside, put on layers of warm clothing. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (relative, friend, or public facility) that has heat to keep warm.