Power outage tips: Keep your refrigerator closed, unplug other appliances

(Image: Hawaii News Now/File)
(Image: Hawaii News Now/File)
Published: Aug. 22, 2018 at 11:14 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 23, 2018 at 1:26 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When a strong storm strikes, power outages are almost unavoidable. And aside from buying flashlights and other battery-operated items, the Hawaiian Electric Company is offering tips for residents to safely ride out the storm.

Among the most important is a reminder about food safety.

If the electricity goes out, perishable items can go bad quickly if not handled properly. HECO officials say food should be safe as long as outages don't last longer than four hours. But if they do, keep your refrigerator closed as much as possible — refrigerators can keep food frozen for 24 to 48 hours.

The more crowded your refrigerator is, the longer food will stay cold. Officials suggest using a food thermometer to check the temperature of food. If foods are 41 degrees and colder, the food is safe to eat. Anything warmer than 41 degrees for more than two hours should be discarded to prevent food-borne illnesses.

Using dry ice and ice chests can help keep foods safe.

While traveling outdoors after a storm, power lines and utility poles may be down. HECO advises anyone on the road to stay at least 30 feet away from them as wires may be live with an electric current running through them.

To report downed lines, call the following numbers:

  • Oahu 1-855-304-1212
  • Maui 871-7777
  • Lanai or Molokai toll free at 1-877-871-8461
  • Hawaii Island 969-6666

If you see someone injured by a downed line, officials say do not attempt to rescue the person. Call 911 for help.

In advance of the storm, prepare your home by unplugging unnecessary appliances as they could be damaged when power is restored. Using high-quality surge protectors can help with protecting appliances.

Meanwhile, HECO crews are dispatched across the state and ready to respond as needed.

With Hurricane Lane, HECO expects outages are likely to be widespread and possibly long-term. Be prepared to go without power as HECO works quickly to restore service.

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