Sudden power outages can be frustrating and troublesome. If
a power outage is 2-hours or less, don't be concerned about losing
your perishable foods. For prolonged power outages, though,
there are steps you can take to minimize loss and keep all members
of your household as comfortable as possible.
How to Report a Power Outage:
- Forest City Office: 800-521-0902 | 828-245-1621
- Morganton Office: 800-228-9756 | 828-584-1410
How to Prepare in Advance:
Protecting your family:
- To keep your food from spoiling during a power outage, keep
- One or more coolers - inexpensive Styrofoam coolers work
- Ice - Surrounding your food with ice in a cooler or in
the refrigerator will keep food colder for a longer period
of time during a prolonged blackout.
- A digital quick-response thermometer - With these
thermometers you can quickly check the internal temperatures
of food to ensure they are cold enough to use safely.
- Make sure you have access to NOAA radio broadcasts
- Have at least a half tank of gas in your car.
- Get extra containers and fill them with gas. If power
is out for an extended period of time, gas supply may be limited
and lines at service stations long.
Protecting your pets & animals:
Prepare a Pet Emergency Kit
Protecting your home:
- Consider purchasing a generator to power critical equipment
during a blackout. Make sure it's rated for the power you
think you'll need and that you know how to operate it safely.
- If you have a generator, install carbon monoxide alarms in
central locations on every level of your home and outside
sleeping areas. This will provide early warning of
accumulating carbon monoxide.
Refer to the Power Outage Checklist for additional tips!
During a Power Outage:
Staying Safe Indoors:
- Use flashlights in the dark - not candles
- Eliminate unnecessary travel. Traffic lights will be
out and roads will be congested.
- If you're using a generator, be sure you understand the
risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and
how to use generators safely.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as
possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold
for about 4-hours. A full freezer will keep the
temperature for about 48-hours (24-hours when it's half full) if
the door remains closed.
- First use perishable food from the refrigerator.
Perishables should have a temperature of 40-degrees Fahrenheit
or below to be safe to eat. Then use food from the
- Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food
from the refrigerator and freezer.
- If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a
day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
- Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all
- Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment,
including sensitive electronics.
- Turn off or disconnect any appliances, equipment or
electronics you were using when the power went out. When
the power comes back on, surges and/or spikes can damage
- Leave one light turned on so you'll know when the power
comes back on.
After a Power Outage:
Staying Safe after a Power Outage:
- If electrical power lines are down, don't touch them.
Keep your family and pets away. Report downed lines to
your utility company.
Throw Out Unsafe Food:
- Throw away any food (particularly meat, poultry, fish, eggs
and leftovers) that has been exposed to temperatures higher than
40 degrees F for 2-hours or more or that has an unusual order,
color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
- Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to
determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine,
but they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria
causing food-borne illnesses can start growing quickly.
Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed
- If you are not sure food is cold enough, use a thermometer
to check it's temperature.
- If food in the freezer is colder than 40 degrees F and has
ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.