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Outage Safety from Xcel

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Stay safe during your outage

Safety is our number one priority, and during an outage, keeping yourself safe should also be your number one priority. See our Outage Tips for more information on what you can do during an outage.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (external link), food safety is directly related to the temperature of the food. To maintain refrigerator and freezer temperatures, keep doors closed as much as possible. A full freezer will stay at freezing temperatures for approximately two days and a half-full freezer approximately one day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (external link) offers the following guidelines for if your power is out for more than four hours. If it is out for less than four hours, the food in your refrigerator and freezer will be safe to consume.


A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.


Pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.

Food Temperature

Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your food right before you cook or eat it. Throw away any food that has a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Turn off appliances and other electrical equipment, including air conditioning, to avoid a high load on the system once electricity is restored. Leave one light switch turned, on so you’ll know when power has been restored.

Cooking Safety

If you need to cook during an outage, use a properly vented fireplace, a camp stove, or a can of Sterno. Be sure that there is adequate ventilation and never use charcoal indoors. If you have a natural gas stove or oven without an electric ignition, you can use that as well.

Heating Safety

If using a space heater, take care to ensure safety, as thousands of home fires are attributed to heating equipment each year. When using a space heater, make sure the heater has the label showing it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory and read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels. You should also inspect heaters for cracked or broken plugs and connections. Don’t use it if they are frayed, worn, or damaged. Never leave a space heater unattended. Turn it off when leaving a room and don’t go to sleep with a space heater on.

News Desk
Author: News Desk