What to do BEFORE the Power Goes Out:
Power outages are one of the most frequently occurring emergencies. They also frequently accompany many natural and other disasters and emergencies. Long-term power outages may also lead to other utility outages. (i.e. Our water supply depends on pumps powered by electricity. If backup power runs out, so will the water).
Prepare for a potential power outage by doing the following:
· Have a supply of easy to find flashlights and fresh batteries on-hand.
· Protect your sensitive electronics by having them connected to surge protectors and UPS’s (Uninterruptable Power Supplies).
· Have a supply of potable water and food you don’t have to cook or non-electric cooking supplies so you can cook several days worth of meals. Don’t use BBQ’s or camp stoves indoors. (See Cooking Without Electricity).
What to do WHEN the Power Goes Out:
· Report the outage to the power company. If localized, they may not be aware of the outage.
· If there are downed power lines in the area, call 911 immediately. Keep people at least 100 feet away. Do not attempt to rescue someone trapped by a downed line. Assume all downed power lines are energized.
· Do not shower during an electrical storm. Lightning can travel through pipes.
· Do not make phone calls using land-lines during an electrical storm. Lightning can travel through the phone lines.
· Turn off or unplug major appliances and most light switches. When the power is restored, and all electrical devices turn on at the same moment, may cause an area wide circuit overload and lead to a second power outage.
· Be aware that food in your refrigerator and freezer will spoil quickly without power. If you don’t have a generator to provide backup power. Be prepared to consume or cook what you can quickly before the internal food temperature reaches 40ºF.
· Seek shelter in areas where the power is on if temperatures are extreme or you have particular medical needs.
· Keep the refrigerator closed to extend the life of your food.
· For extensive or long-term power outages, listen to a battery or crank powered radio for important updates.
What to Do AFTER the Power is Restored:
· Wait a couple minutes before turning on all lights and appliances following the restoration of power to avoid circuit overload.
· Dispose of questionable food from your refrigerator or freezer that has reached internal temperatures of 40ºF or higher.