The lights dim then flicker out to quiet darkness. Your television and computer are down, your phone is nearly out of battery and you have no idea where your flashlight is. We’ve all been caught unprepared when the power goes out! Sometimes we get a heads up when we know a storm is going to bring strong winds, but often (as we found this past week) a power outage gives us no warning at all. So, what should you do if the power goes out?
- Check your own fuse box first to ensure that the power outage is not localized to your own property. Use caution while inspecting the electrical source to prevent serious injuries. Ask neighbors if they are also experiencing the power outage.
- If the power outage extends beyond your own home, call your local power supply company: do NOT call 9-1-1 unless there is a power line down, or there is an immediate emergency beyond the loss of power.
- If the power is out for longer than 4 hours, food in your refrigerator may begin to spoil. Maintain the temperature in your refrigerator and freezer for as long as possible by keeping the doors securely closed.
- Unplug major electrical appliances, such as washers, dryers, televisions and computers, to avoid a power surge when the electricity comes back on.
- If you have a wood stove, use it as a heat source. Do not rely on kerosene lanterns, BBQs or any outdoor heat source as they contain hazardous, combustible materials. Never run a gas powered generator indoors. Generators burn fuel and release carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless toxic gas. Each year people are killed during power outages by running generators in the homes or garages.
- Stay in the smaller rooms of your home for heat supply. A candle or body heat will be more effective heating a smaller space.
Supplies to have in case of a power outage:
- Wind up or battery operated emergency radio
- Warm Clothes, Blankets, Sleeping Bags
- Flashlights with charged batteries.
- Matches or lighters
- First aid kit
- Bottled water, (1 gallon per person per day) as purification systems may be affected by the outage.
- 1 weeks worth canned or dehydrated food.
- Extra batteries.
- Plenty of activities to keep kids busy!
The best plan of action is to stay indoors and wait to hear further instructions or information regarding the outage. If you must leave the house be careful while driving as traffic lights may also be without power. Be prepared for power outages and fewer electronic gadgets so you can take advantage of this time to re-connect with your family!