Being prepared may not prevent a disaster or emergency, but it can give a family confidence to meet the challenges ahead, according to the American Red Cross. During heat waves such as California is now experiencing, the Red Cross offers some preparedness/safety and resources in case the power goes out.

» Be sure to be Red Cross Ready; that means:

Assembling an emergency preparedness kit.
Creating a household evacuation plan that includes your pets.
Staying informed about your community’s risk and response plans.
Download the Emergency App for iPhone or for Android.

To keep your food from spoiling during a power outage, keep on hand:

One or more coolers; inexpensive Styrofoam coolers work well.
Ice — Surrounding your food with ice in a cooler or in the refrigerator will keep food colder for a longer period of time during a prolonged blackout.
A digital quick-response thermometer — with these thermometers you can quickly check the internal temperatures of food to ensure it is cold enough to use safely.

Typically, if a power outage is two hours or less, don’t be concerned about losing your perishable foods.

If you have a generator, install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas. This will provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.

» During a disaster — Staying safe indoors

Use flash lights in the dark, not candles.
Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights could be out and cause road congestion
If using a generator, understand the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to use generators safely.

» Food safety

Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
First use perishable food from the refrigerator. Perishables should have a temperature of 40 degrees F. (4 degrees C.) or below to be safe to eat. Then use food from the freezer.
Use non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer.
If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.

» Electrical equipment

Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
Leave one light turned onto indicate when the power returns.

For more on how to prepare for power outages and other emergencies, visit and download the Red Cross Emergency App on your smartphone.