Red Cross offers safety tips for power outages

Power outages
Westar Energy crews work on a power line. (KSN File Photo)

WICHITA, Kansas — Thousands of people are going into the weekend without electricity in south central Kansas. As of Friday evening, Westar Energy reported more than 17,000 customers without power because of Thursday night’s storms.

The power outage could end up being costly if it leads to rotten food.

Here are some food safety tips from the American Red Cross:

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • FFirst use perishable foods from the refrigerator. Surrounding food with ice in a cooler or refrigerator will keep food colder for a longer period of time during a prolonged power outage.
  • Food in a full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours ( 24 hours if half full).
  • If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures higher than 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours or more or that has an unusual odor. WHEN IN DOUBT THROW IT OUT!
  • Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety.

The Red Cross also recommends these steps during an outage:

  • Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment.
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliances or electronics you were using when the power went out.
  • Leave one light turned on so you will know when the power comes back on.

If the summer heat gets to be too much, be on the lookout for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Here are the symptoms and treatments courtesy the American Red Cross:


If someone is exhibiting signs of heat exhaustion (cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, heavy sweating, headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness exhaustion), move them to a cooler place, remove or loosen tight clothing and spray the person with water or apply cool, wet cloths or towels to the skin. Fan the person. If they are conscious, give small amounts of cool water to drink. Make sure the person drinks slowly. Watch for changes in condition. If the person refuses water, vomits or begins to lose consciousness, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.

HEAT STROKE IS LIFE-THREATENING. Signs include hot, red skin which may be dry or moist; changes in consciousness; vomiting and high body temperature. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately if someone shows signs of heat stroke. Move the person to a cooler place. Quickly cool the person’s body by immersing them up to their neck in cold water if possible. Otherwise, douse or spray the person with cold water, or cover the person with cold, wet towels or bags of ice.

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