A power outage may:

  • Disrupt communications, water and transportation.
  • Close retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks and other services.
  • Cause food spoilage and water contamination.
  • Prevent use of medical devices

Food Safety & Power Outage 

Be Mindful of Food Temperature: When there is an extended power outage, the threat of foodborne illnesses increases. Learn more with  Michigan State’s Food Safety Fact Sheet.

  •  Perishable foods should always be kept at or
    below 40°F. Frozen foods should be kept at
    or below 0°F degrees.
  • Use Thermometers: Check foods that may have
    been at an unsafe temperature during a loss of
    power. Relying on a thermometer is the safest way to
    determine if food is safe to eat.
  • Do not taste food to determine safety. The
    appearance and/or odor of food is not
    indicative of if it’s safe to eat.
  • If In Doubt, Throw It Out: Discard any food,
    beverage, or medication that was at an unsafe
  • Keep Your Refrigerator and Freezer Closed: This
    will help preserve food. An unpowered refrigerator can keep food at
    safe temperatures for up to 4 hours.

Public Safety Power Shutoffs
During extreme weather events, electrical power in high fire-threat areas may be shut off. This is a precaution known as a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS). It is essential to prepare for a PSPS and have a plan.

View UCal’s PSPS Fact Sheet here to learn more.

Additional Resources: 

No Power, No Problem: This publication from Oregon State University Extension focuses on how residents can cope with the loss of power to their homes. Hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses are likely to lose power during a disaster, but there are many simple steps residents can take to address the resulting challenges.