Bonneville Power

Surviving a Prolonged Power Outage

If a major storm or other disaster strikes, widespread damage and blocked roadways can delay repairs. Here's how to stay safe and warm until the power comes back on.

Heating your home
NEVER try to heat a room using a gas stove, oven or fireplace. The same thing for charcoal or propane grills indoors.

If you use natural gas, propane, or oil-fired appliances improperly in a room, it can deplete the oxygen supply causing asphyxiation, or produce carbon monoxide fumes. This can be deadly and can happen suddenly, with few or no warning signs or symptoms.

A portable heater can come in handy when the power goes out - but it also poses significant safety hazards. Before using, check your local safety codes and read the manufacturer's directions carefully.

Food safety
Avoid opening the refrigerator of freezer doors. Refrigerated food will stay cold up to six hours; frozen food will keep for about two days if the door to the freezer is not opened.

If the outage will be longer, pack refrigerated items in a Styrofoam or insulated cooler surrounded by ice.

When the power comes back on, use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the food - if it's less than 40 degrees, it's safe to keep. If frozen foods still have ice crystals, they may be refrozen.

The American Red Cross has prepared an extensive food safety guide to help you decide what foods to keep and what foods to throw away.