Health & Spirit

How PG&E's historic blackouts will put California's medical emergency planning to the test

Cathie Anderson, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in Health & Fitness

--Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk and fresh meat and poultry to give them a longer shelf life. Closely pack frozen food, so it can help to keep it at a safe temperature for longer.

--Get coolers to keep refrigerated food cold if the power will be out for more than four hours.

--If you're in doubt about whether food is still good to eat, throw it out rather than risk food poisoning.

--Make a plan to keep insulin and other refrigerated medication cool.

--Know how to manually open garage doors. It can be a physical strain, so have a plan in place if you are not certain you can do it.

--Learn how to safely operate electric generators before an emergency. If you aren't well-versed in operating a generator, you risk being poisoned by carbon monoxide, shocked, electrocuted or burned.

--You may need cash to purchase medications or other medical necessities because credit card machines may not work.

--Pharmacies in your area may close due to lack of power, so ensure you have at least a week's supply of medication at home.


--Have battery chargers on hand for medical equipment and cell phones.

--Keep a battery operated radio and flashlight on hand.

--Fuel up your vehicle ahead of any power outage, as pumps may not work, lines may be too long and stations may run out of gas. You may have to drive quite a distance to get to an open pharmacy or emergency medical services. Be sure you have cash on hand for gas, just in case the credit card machine does not work.

--If you live in an affected area, ask friends and relatives outside the area whether they can help with refrigerator space or accommodations.

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