Most power outages are short-term, but some can last days or even weeks. Power outages are most commonly caused by damage to power lines by extreme weather conditions such as ice storms, heavy rains, sleet or high winds, but heat waves can also cause electric power systems to overload.
During a power outage, you may be left without heating/air conditioning, lighting, or in some cases, even without running water and phone service. You can greatly lessen the impact of a power outage on the safety of your family by taking the time to prepare in advance.
What to Do If There Is a Power Outage
First, check to see if it’s only your house being affected by the power outage. Or is it throughout the neighborhood? If you see damaged or downed power lines, don’t approach them, call your local electricity provider to report the hazard. If it looks like the outage is only affecting your house, check your breaker box or fuses and look at the power lines running to your home. Call a licensed electrician or electric company to assess the situation further.
Preparing for a Power Outage
1. Make a family emergency plan. Ensure that everyone knows what to do and where to go in case of an emergency, and how to stay in touch during a power outage.
2. Make an Emergency Kit. An emergency kit should be stocked with basic supplies that you and your family may need in case you're stuck inside or have to evacuate your home quickly. Include essential items like food, water flashlights, batteries and medical supplies.
3. Plan Ahead. If you know a major storm is approaching, plan ahead. Fill plastic containers with water and place them in your refrigerator/freezer. This can help keep your food cold during a short power outage. Keep your phones charged as much as possible.
4. Learn About Your Community. Find out if your area has established emergency plans or designated safe areas for the community.
5. Prepare Your Tech. During a power outage, having the ability to communicate and stay informed can make all the difference. Sign up for notifications from your power company and emergency services to get up-to-date reports as circumstances change. Stock up on alternate charging methods for your phone and any other devices that require power to continue receiving updates.
6. Create A Back-Up Plan. If you rely on battery-operated or power-dependent equipment, including medical devices, prepare a back-up plan.
7. Prepare Your Car. Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. To avoid getting stuck when a power outage strikes, keep your car's gas tank full. In the event you're without power for long periods of time, you can use your car to charge your phones and continue receiving important updates.
During a power outage, staying safe is the most important thing. In the winter months, this includes knowing how to stay warm. Use caution when using alternative heating and cooking methods and save your plumbing and electrical systems from further damage by taking steps to protect them from the cold.
Tips On Staying Warm During a Power Outage:
· Stay inside and keep on warm clothing.
· Move around enough to stay warm, but not enough to sweat.
· Hang heavy blankets on your windows to increase insulation.
· Use towels to block gaps in your doors or windows to keep drafts from getting in.
· Close the dampers on any fireplaces you aren’t using to keep out cold air and drafts.
· Interior rooms with no outside walls may be better insulated from the cold.
· Use your hot water sparingly. Most hot water tanks can retain heat for up to 24-72 hours.
When The Power Comes Back On
When the power outage is over, carefully assess any damage to your home. You can also start slowly restoring your home back to normal by completing the following:
· If your main power switch is off, double-check that all your appliances and electronics are unplugged before you turn it back on, to protect them from a power surge.
· If your main water supply was turned off, turn it back on.
· Fill your hot water heater with water before you turn it back on.
· Replace anything that you used from your emergency kit such as batteries, medical supplies, and non-perishable food.
· Check the food in your refrigerator and freezer for spoilage and throw out anything that isn’t safe to eat.
· Check to confirm that you don’t have any frozen or burst pipes.
Knowing how to prepare for a power outage can make an enormous difference, especially when winter weather turns harsh. And when the stress of a power outage is over, your local restoration experts at ServiceMaster Restore are available 24/7 to help you assess and repair any damage to your property as a result of an extreme weather event or power outage. Our professional restoration specialists will restore your property … and your peace of mind.