Power Outages / Black-Outs

Staying Safe in the Dark

  • If a power outage occurs, remain calm and notify the Office of Public Safety.
  • Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries in your room.
  • Provide assistance to others in your immediate area who may be unfamiliar with their surroundings.
  • If you are in an unlighted area, proceed cautiously to an area that has emergency lights.
  • If you are in an elevator, stay calm. Use the emergency button or telephone to alert University officials.
  • Should the telephone system go down, please be aware that the house phones in the lobbies and entrances to residence halls and apartment complexes are on an independent system and can be utilized during an outage.
  • If normal communication channels (electronic) are disrupted, information will be available / posted in a central location in the Ridgway Center.
  • In the case of a black-out, always follow the instructions of University personnel.
  • Students should consider the personal impact of having no electric service for an extended period of time as restoration time could be multiple days. As a general rule, it is advised to have a personal supply of non-perishable food and water for up to 3 days.

Downed Power Lines

Downed power lines can carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or possibly death. High voltages also may be transmitted through materials other than power lines. A wooden pole, a kite, cable or other normally nonconducting material may carry an electrical current if it becomes wet or soiled.

  1. It is not possible to determine if a downed power line is energized. Never touch or attempt to move a downed power line or a person who is in contact with a power line.
  2. Don't drive over downed power lines.
  3. If a downed line is near water, keep a safe distance from the line and the water, even if it is a small puddle.
  4. Be careful not to stand under tree limbs or power lines. Tree limbs can become weakened during a storm but not fall until several hours or even days after the storm. The same can be true for power lines or poles that sustain damage.

General Food Safety Guidelines

  1. Keep refrigerator doors closed. Refrigerated food should be safe for about 4 hours. But milk, dairy products, eggs, meats and all cooked foods spoil quickly. Discard these foods if the temperature in the refrigerator rises above 40 degrees for two hours or more.
  2. When in doubt, throw the food out.
  3. Keep the freezer doors closed. Food in a full, free-standing freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for about 48 hours without power, a half-full freezer will stay frozen about 24 hours. If a freezer is not full, move packages together to insulate them and keep them as cold as possible.
  4. Frozen foods that have partially or completely thawed before power is restored may be refrozen safely if there are still ice crystals or the food's temperature is 40 degrees or below.

The following foods may be kept at room temperature a few days although food quality may be affected:

  • Butter or margarine Hard and processed cheeses
  • Fresh uncut fruits and vegetables
  • Dried fruits and coconut
  • Opened jars of vinegar-based salad dressings, jelly, relish, taco sauce, barbecue sauce, mustard, ketchup, olives and peanut butter
  • Fruit juices
  • Fresh herbs and spices
  • Fruit pies, breads, rolls, and muffins
  • Cakes, except cream cheese frosted or cream-filled
  • Flour and nuts

Other Tips

  1. Do not use charcoal or gas grills inside closed areas, including garages and porches, due to carbon monoxide risks.
  2. Have several flashlights on hand with fresh batteries. Do not use candles!
  3. Unplug computers, TVs, VCRs, and other sensitive appliances. This will minimize the risk of possible damage to the devices when power is restored.
  4. Turn off all but one light so that you'll know when electricity has been restored.
  5. Turn off all heat producing appliances like electric irons and heaters to prevent fires in case no one is home when power is restored.

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Student Life Center, Second Floor, Ridgway University Center