What to Break Out in a Blackout

July 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Who knows how long repairs like this will take when there's a power outage in your neighborhood? Get tips on what to break out in a blackout. Flickr/Spring Dew

Most New Yorkers remember the inconveniences caused by rolling blackouts that swept the Eastern seaboard during the heatwave in the summer of 2003. Some may remember similar citywide outages in 1965 and 1977.

Here are a few steps you can take to prepare for lost power:

Do your part to prevent power outages in the first place: Turn off electronic appliances when not in use. If you have central air, close vents in rooms you’re not cooling. If you can stand it, set the temperature to 78 degrees.

Prepare an emergency supply kit and stock the freezer: Consider buying a battery-operated lantern or flashlight. Purchase freezer packs or fill clean plastic containers with water and keep them frozen for emergencies. Buy a cooler and know in advance where you can buy dry and block ice. (Twenty-five pounds of dry ice should keep a 10-cubic-foot freezer cold for three to four days.)

When the power goes out:

1. Report the outage to your electricity provider.

  • Con Edison 24-hour hotline: 1-800-75-CONED (752-6633)
  • National Grid 24-hour hotline: 1-718-643-4050
  • Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) 24-hour hotline: 1-800-490-0025

2. Disconnect or turn off all appliances that will go on automatically when service is restored: If several appliances start up at once, they may overload electrical circuits.

3. Save your food: Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Move milk, cheese, meats and other perishables into the freezer compartment. Keep all items close together and stacked on top of each other.

When the power comes back on: Did you know that ConEd will reimburse clients for actual losses of food or prescription medication spoiled due to lack of refrigeration? File a claim on the ConEd website. ConEd will cover up to $450 for residential customers and up to $9,000, for actual losses of perishable merchandise spoiled due to lack of refrigeration.

This information was culled from New York City’s Office of Emergency Management.

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