Following are guidelines for people who may have to live without power for an extended period of time in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene:

Food

Items stored in a refrigerator that has lost power are usually only good for four hours. Items in a freezer are good for up to 48 hours in a full freezer, and about 24 in a half-filled freezer.

Use up food from the freezer before it warms above 40 degrees (toss it if you have any doubts).

Store food that requires refrigeration in a cooler packed with ice.

Keep food in a dry cool spot.

If your appliances are electric, you can grill outside on a barbecue. Never barbecue indoors.

Lighting and power generation

If you use candles, use them in lanterns to reduce fire hazard.

Generators should be used outside the home and should not be placed under porches, decks or too near a home where carbon monoxide could be a problem.

Unplug appliances and sensitive electronics to avoid surge damage when the power comes back on.

Leave one light on in the home so you can tell when the power is back.

Assume all downed wires are live as you clean up around your house.

Sources: FEMA and American Red Cross