We have come to expect reliable electric service. We are pretty good at managing the occasional service interruptions brought on by howling Santa Ana winds. Therefore, we certainly should be able to manage the surprise inconvenience of a rotating outage by being prepared and by following just a few simple steps.
THE FIRST STEP IS TO BE PREPARED
Make sure you have battery-operated flashlights with fresh batteries on hand.
Never use candles in a power outage because of the risk of fire.
Be sure to leave one light switched "ON" so that you will know when the electricity has been restored. Then you can turn on appliances and other equipment one at a time.
When your power goes off unexpectedly, be sure to turn off any hot appliances.
Turn off computers and major appliances (except refrigerator/freezer) to avoid a power surge when the electricity is restored.
Keep floors clear and uncluttered to avoid tripping.
In order to track the time, be sure to have at least one battery operated clock.
NEVER use the oven, cooktop, or other gas or propane appliances for heating.
Make sure you have at least one battery powered radio on hand
It is a good idea to have at least one phone that is not wireless and connects directly to a phone jack
Leave the doors of your refrigerator closed to keep your food as fresh as possible. A full freezer can stay at freezing temperatures for about two days. A half-full freezer for about a day.
The foods to be most concerned about include meats, fish, poultry, all dairy products, all eggs and egg products, soft cheeses, cooked beans, cooked rice, cooked potatoes, cooked pasta, potato/pasta/macaroni salads, custards, puddings, etc.
Foods that are safe include carbonated drinks, unopened bottled juices, ketchup, mustard, relishes, jams, peanut butter, barbecue sauce, etc.
Potentially hazardous foods should be discarded if they warm up above 45°.
Never taste the food to check to see if it is safe; you cannot rely on appearance or odor to determine if the food is still safe to eat.
Refrigerated foods should be safe as long as the power is not out more than a few hours and the doors have been kept closed. Perishable foods should not be held above 40° F for more than two hours.
Allow the refrigerator to reach the proper temperature of less than 45° F after the power has gone back on, before restocking it.