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San Luis Obispo County, California


Power Outage Safety and Preparedness

Take practical steps to keep you and your love ones safe during a power outage.


Food Safety

If the power is out for less than 4 hours, then the food in your refrigerator and freezer will be safe to consume.

  • During a power outage keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours.
  • Then use food from the freezer. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.
  • 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 times.
  • Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your food right before you cook or eat it. Throw away any food that has a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Safe Drinking Water

When power goes out, water purification systems may not be functioning fully. Safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene includes bottled, boiled, or treated water. If necessary specific recommendations for boiling or treating water would be made by the County Health Officer.


Electrical Equipment During a Blackout

  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment.
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using with the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
  • Leave one light turned on so you'll know when the power comes back on.
  • Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads may be congested

Carbon Monoxide

  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside your home.
  • Never use a gas range or over to heat your home.
  • If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, move quickly outside to fresh air.
  • If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected, consult a health care professional right away.