9 things you need to know when a power outage hits

CINCINNATI -- Keep this list handy to be prepared before, during and after a power outage at your home.

1. If power or gas does go out, report it so Duke Energy knows to come out and fix it.

Ohio:
Report a gas problem: 800-634-4300
Report an electric problem: 1-800-543-5599
Indiana:
Report an electric problem: 800-343-3525
Kentucky:
Report a gas problem: 1-800-634-4300
Report an electric problem: 1-800-543-5599

2. If you have time to prepare, charge up all your electrical devices like phones, laptops, etc. Portable cell phone chargers can come in handy during outages.

3. Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer as much as possible during a power outage. Your food will stay cold for hours if the door is left closed. How long will your food remain safe? Read more on that here.

4. Your hot water heater, even if it is electric, will stay warm for a few hours. You may be able to avoid suffering through icy showers.

5. Unplug some of your major appliances after a power outage. When the power comes back on, a power surge could damage those appliances.

6. If you have a generator, do not connect it to your home's power system unless it has been properly installed and disconnects you from the main power grid when it is operating.

7. Check on your elderly neighbors before or after an outage. Make sure they are prepared for the storm -- outdoor items are brought in or secure, non-perishable food is on-hand and all windows are shut and locked.

8. If you have a regular wood stove or fireplace, you can use it for heat if needed. Do not use kerosene heaters, BBQs, or any outdoor-type heater inside. They can create dangerous gases, like carbon monoxide.

9. If you have to go out, drive carefully. Remember that traffic signals may be out during a power outage; if that is the case, treat these intersections like a four-way stop.

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