Everyone experiences power interruptions from time to time. Many of these outages come at times of weather extremes or accompany various disasters. When the power is out, safety becomes a major concern. The following information is meant to help you when the lights go out.
- Register life-sustaining equipment with your utility company.
- Make sure you have an alternate heat source and supply of fuel.
- Consider purchasing a generator, especially if someone in the house requires life-sustaining equipment that runs on electricity.
- When installing generators, follow the manufacturers instructions very carefully.
- If your house is the only one without power, check your fuse box or circuit breaker panel. Turn off appliances before replacing fuses or resetting circuits.
- If power is out in the neighborhood, disconnect all electrical heaters and appliances to reduce the initial demand and protect the motors from possible low voltage damage.
- Unplug computers and other voltage-sensitive equipment to protect them against possible surges when the power is restored.
- Conserve water, especially if you are on a well.
- Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed. If the door remains closed, a fully loaded freezer can keep foods frozen for two days.
- Never use a charcoal barbeque inside the home. If you use candles for light, keep in mind they can cause a fire. It's far better to use battery-operated flashlights or glow sticks for alternative lighting.
- If you use a kerosene heater, gas lantern or stove inside the house, maintain ventilation to avoid a build up of toxic fumes.
- If your power is out, leave a light switch in the on position to alert you when services are restored.
- If you own an electric garage door opener, learn how to open the door without power.
- Prepare a power outage kit, or better yet, make it a part of your disaster preparedness kit. Consider having light sticks, flashlights, a battery-powered radio with extra batteries, and a wind-up clock as a part of the kit.
- Have a corded telephone available; remember cordless phones will not work when the power is out.