Health Department

Health Department

Power Outages

Power outages are caused by many reasons and can occur at anytime. Outages may threaten health and safety by exposing people to the elements (cold/heat, darkness). Power outages that last for hours can also cause serious illness if spoiled food is consumed.

Massive Tri-State Power Outages (since 1985)

Date Area Affected No. Without Power Duration
September 2008 Entire Tri-State 600,000 5-7 days
January 1985 Entire Tri-State 70,000 2-3 days

Prepare for Power Outages

  • Make a preparedness kit. Periodically check that items work. Consider adding the following items for power outages:
    • Extra fuses
    • Food that will not require cooking, manual can opener, food thermometer
  • Develop and practice a plan.
  • Consider buying a generator for your home and/or business.
  • Learn about food safety during power outages.

Advised Action During A Power Outage

  • Check if nearby houses have power. If the outage is limited to your home, then check circuit breakers and fuses to correct the problem.
  • You may lose cordless and Internet phone service during a power outage. Keep a phone on hand that does not require electricity.
  • If the outage is widespread, then report it to your local energy company immediately:
  • Stay away from downed power lines.
  • Turn off lights and appliances to avoid circuit overload when power is restored.
  • To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, use generators, pressure washers, grills and similar items outdoors only. Do not use your stove or oven to heat rooms.
  • Check with local authorities to be sure your water is safe.
  • In hot weather, drink plenty of fluids to prevent heat-related illness.
  • To prevent food spoilage, keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.