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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, January 20, 2012
Thurston County Emergency Management, 360-754-3360

Food and Personal Safety in a Power Outage

Olympia- If you are experiencing a power outage, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself from foodborne illnesses. Food must be fully cooked or kept cold in order to avoid becoming sick and that can be a challenge when the power is out. The food items most affected are dairy products, meat and seafood.

There are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your family including-
  • Keeping refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. You can also use bags of ice or block ice in a refrigerator or freezer to help keep the temperature down.
  • Use up perishable foods as soon as possible.
  • Use a cooler packed with ice or snow. (It is not advisable to store food outside because temperatures can vary widely.)
  • Never try food if you believe it may be spoiled. If you have doubts, throw it out. It may look and smell fine, but bacteria that cause foodborne illness may be present and could make you sick.

Other Safety Tips-

Please be very careful with alternate sources of heat and power. Never use a camping stove, barbeque or hibachi indoors. If you use a generator, make sure it is in a well ventilated space outside the home and garage. Never run your vehicle in the garage for longer than a few minutes. In each instance, carbon monoxide gas can build up quickly and can cause significant illness and death in a short period of time.

Conserve water if you can. Do not drink water if you believe your well has been compromised. Water can be made safe by bringing it to a rolling boil for a minute or more.

Please be careful walking and working outside. The ice and snow have created very slippery conditions. In addition, trees and tree limbs are still falling and power lines may be down. If you do not need to go outside, stay inside. Do not drive unless you have to.


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3