Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Be Safe, Not Sorry, When Power's out; Here Are the Answers to Some Commonly-Asked Questions about Blackouts

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Be Safe, Not Sorry, When Power's out; Here Are the Answers to Some Commonly-Asked Questions about Blackouts

Article excerpt

Q. Is my water safe to drink during a blackout?

Water may not be safe to drink if there has been a significant loss of water pressure. The JEA recommends boiling tap water for three to five minutes before drinking. The Duval County Health Department suggests that those who cannot boil water should sterilize it by adding three to four drops of household bleach to a gallon of tap water, shaking and letting it stand for at least 30 minutes.

Tap water is safe for washing and bathing.

Q. How long do batteries last?

Alkaline, the most popular kind of batteries, have a shelf life of five to seven years. Rechargeable batteries, however, lose 1 percent of their power each day.

Store batteries in a dry place at normal room temperature. Although you hear recommendations that refrigeration extends life, battery makers do not recommend it.

Q. What should we have for supper?

Listen to the radio to determine how long authorities predict your neighborhood will be without power. If it is going to be six hours or more, consider cooking the perishable items you have in the refrigerator. Prepare them outside on a gas or charcoal grill. There's no need to go it alone. Talk with neighbors. They'll have perishable items that need to be eaten as well. Or maybe they planned on shopping that day and couldn't. They may not have anything in the house to eat. Cook together. It's better to share cooked food than throw out spoiled, unused food.

Q. Is it safe to bring my grill inside the house for cooking?

No. Absolutely not. Not gas, not charcoal. The house isn't properly ventilated, and it will fill with smoke and other nasty things such as carbon monoxide, which can kill you. Secondly, the propane gas tank may have a leak and any flame inside the house could cause an explosion.

Q. What do I do if my medicine needs to be refrigerated? …

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