Power Outages

Public Safety Power Shutoff — Am I Impacted?

Why Power Outages Matter?

Extended power outages may impact the whole community and the economy. A power outage is when the electrical power goes out unexpectedly. A power outage may do the following:

  • Disrupt communications, water, and transportation
  • Close retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks, and other services
  • Cause food spoilage and water contamination
  • Prevent use of medical devices and operations or medical/senior center facilities

Power outage safety tips

Staying Safe: Before a Power Outage

You can reduce the potential impacts of a long-lasting power outage by doing the following:

  • Identify which items you may need that rely on electrical power. Then, plan for extra batteries and other ways you can to meet your needs when the power goes out.
  • Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for disability medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medications. Find out how long medications can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.
  • Check your local weather forecast regularly by visiting the National Weather Service. Also, make it a habit to watch news reports so that you’re aware when there will be weather conditions that could cause a power outage, such as a heat wave or heavy rains.
  • Determine whether your home telephone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.
  • Take stock of your disaster supplies that are available in case of a power outage. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Have enough nonperishable food and water, as well as medications.
  • Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so that you can know the temperature when the power is restored. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.
  • Keep mobile phones, recharging devices and other equipment fully charged.

Staying Safe: During a Power Outage

Keep freezers and refrigerators closed. A refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours. Use coolers with ice if necessary.

Monitor temperatures in your freezer and refrigerator with a thermometer.

Have food supplies that don’t require refrigeration available for you and your family.

Create plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.

Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.

Check on your neighbors. Older adults and young children are especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures.

Go to a community or senior center location that has power if heat or cold is extreme. View a list of Los Angeles County Cooling Centers.

Staying Safe: After a Power Outage

  • When in doubt, throw it out! Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.
  • If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the medical instruction label says otherwise. If a life depends on the refrigerated medications, contact and consult a doctor or pharmacist and use medicine only until a new supply is available.

Los Angeles County residents and business owners, including persons with disabilities and others with access and functional needs may call 211 LA County for emergency preparedness information and other referral services. The toll-free 2-1-1 number is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 211 LA County services can also be accessed online by visiting www.211la.org.

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