Georgia Homeland Security preps for power outages -, GA News Weather & Sports

Georgia Homeland Security preps for power outages

ATLANTA (FOX Carolina) -

With a significant winter storm predicted to bring snow and more than an inch of ice to parts of Georgia, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency/Homeland Security (GEMA) is preparing residents for hazardous road conditions and power outages.

GEMA has advised residents to stay off the roads for their own safety, as well as for the safety of emergency personnel.

The agency also said to bring pets inside and stock up on pet supplies like food and water.

According to Georgia Homeland Security, children should never play around ice-covered trees in order to avoid injury if a branch breaks and falls. The ice also poses a danger to power lines. A quarter-inch of ice can weigh down tree limbs, causing them to fall on power lines.

People who depend on electricity to operate medical equipment should have alternate arrangements in case power is lost for an extended period of time. The agency said people should have alternate power sources in case of the loss of heat, such as a fireplace, wood or coal stove or portable space heater. However, these heating sources should be used with caution.

A statement by GEMA said to follow manufacture's instructions when using portable space heaters and devices, and to never use portable generators, camp stoves, or grills inside a home or garage. These devices should only be used outside and should be kept at least 20 feet away from windows.

In the event of a power outage, use flashlights rather than candles to prevent the risk of fire, and keep plenty of extra batteries on hand. 

The Georgia Department of Agriculture recommended people also be prepared to protect refrigerated food in the event of the loss of power.

The department said to have appliance thermometers in refrigerators and freezers. The freezer temperature should be at or below zero degrees, and the refrigerator temperature should be at or below 40 degrees. If the power goes out, the appliance thermometers will indicate the temperatures of the refrigerator and freezer to help determine if the food is safe.

The release also suggested freezing containers of water to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator or a cooler in case the power goes out. It would also provide drinking water if the normal water supply is contaminated or unavailable. In addition to freezing containers of water, purchase or make ice cubes in advance, and freeze gel packs ahead of time. Containers of frozen water, ice cubes and gel packs can all be used to keep food safe in the freezer, refrigerator or in a cooler in case of the loss of power.

If the power does go out, there are several way to keep food safe. The Georgia Department of Agriculture recommended keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. Generally, the refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if it's unopened. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours if it's unopened.

If eating refrigerated or frozen meat, poultry, fish or eggs while still at safe temperatures, the Department of Agriculture warned each item should be thoroughly cooked to the proper temperature to assure any food borne bacteria that may be present is destroyed.

If at any point the food was above 40 degrees for two hours or more, it should be discarded.

Also, the department said prepared, canned baby formula that requires no added water should be used for infants, and if concentrated or powered formulas are used, they should be prepared with bottled water, if the local water source is potentially contaminated.

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