Blown! My Power Is Out

 

 

Take these steps to prepare for a power outage.

 

Though there’s no doubt our ongoing recession has taken its toll, I still consider myself lucky to live in a time when I can count on something as basic as uninterrupted power—well, except for the occasional winter storm that rushes in and starts knocking out electricity.  To be sure, most power outages are short-lived events, but it still pays to be prepared.  Here are some simple steps you can take to prepare for the next power outage and keep your family safe.

 

Before the outage:

 

♦ If you require life-sustaining equipment that requires power for its operation be sure to let the power company know.  In most cases, you can formally register.

 

Are you stocked up on batteries?

This crank up LED lantern is great in a power outage. I never need to worry about batteries.

♦ Put together a disaster preparedness kit.  Besides basics like drinking water and canned food, be sure it includes flashlights, light sticks, a battery powered radio and fresh batteries.

 

♦ If you have a landline, be sure at least one phone you own isn’t cordless.  Cordless phones won’t work in a power outage, but corded phones will.

 

Garage doors can be heavy and hard to operate if the automatic door opener fails.

While the power is on, locate your garage door release latch so you can find it in an emergency.

♦ If you rely on an electric garage door opener, don’t forget it won’t work during a storm.  Many garage doors are heavy and bulky to operate without power.  Plus, the light on the opener won’t work in the storm so have a flashlight handy to find the manual release cord.

 

 

During the outage:

 

♦ Many of today’s electronics like computers or flat screen televisions are sensitive to possible power surges.  Be sure you plug them into a power strip that’s been rated to protect against electrical surges.  For additional protection, unplug the strip from the wall when the power goes out.

 

♦ Turn off most lights and electrical appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer.

 

♦ Leave at least one lamp on to notify you that the power has been restored.  Then wait 15 minutes to plug in and use any major electronics or appliances.  You’ll want to wait to avoid additional power surges that can occur as everyone powers up.

 

♦ Use candles only when you are present in a room.  Candles can fall over and cause fires.  Flashlights and light sticks are preferable from a safety standpoint.  Also, keep a fully-charged and inspected fire extinguisher on hand.

 

Bottled water is convenient and appropriate for emergencies.

Keep a 3 day supply of drinkable water on hand for emergencies.

♦ Conserve water during the outage.  This is especially important if you have your own well that requires power to run the pump.

 

A generator can be great in an emergency.

Always operate a generator outdoors and makes sure nearby doors, windows and vents are closed.

♦ If you have a generator, only operate it outdoors.  Never operate it in the house, near open windows, doors, vents, or the garage as carbon monoxide fumes from the exhaust are potentially toxic.

 

♦ Do not use a BBQ or grill indoors for the same reasons—smoke and fumes are toxic.  Almost every year one or more deaths are attributed to indoor grilling during a power outage.

 

♦ Under no circumstance should you touch or try to move a downed power line.  If you see downed lines, call the power company and keep a safe distance.  The same holds true if you see large branches or trees resting on a power line—again call the power company and keep your distance.

 

A little preparation goes a long way in the event of an emergency.  For more ideas on getting prepared for fall and winter months, see our post, “Fall Home Checkup: 11 Must Do Tasks”.

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to read:

The Earthquake Quiz – How Ready Are You?

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