Whether it is a power outage due to natural forces or a planned outage by the utility, it makes good sense to learn how to stay safe during a power outage. The best way to be safe is to be prepared. Following these steps will help your family through a power outage:
- Many of the basic supplies needed during a power outage run on batteries. The best way to prepare is to stock up now on batteries so that you have them when the need arises.
- Keep at least two battery operated flashlights within easy access. Keep your flashlights in the same spot and within easy access. It might also be beneficial keep a few candles and matches as a back-up, though you should use candles as a last resort because they can be a fire hazard.
- Own a battery operated radio for emergencies. To keep on top of the latest information regarding a power outage, the most likely resource will be your radio.
- Keep first-aid kits containing basic supplies such as bandages and pain relievers.
- Stock up on bottled water since power outages can also impact running water. Store one gallon of water per person per day and one quart of water per dog or cat per day. Store enough water for at least three days.
- Keep canned foods on hand. You will want to have a supply of food that will not spoil. Also keep a manual can opener with your supply of emergency items.
- Keep a propane tank filled all year round so you can cook with your gas grill. Homes with gas stoves will be able to use the stove during the power outage.
- Remember to think about elderly or disabled relatives and neighbors. They may need a bit of help during a power outage. Check in on them and assist them with preparing for power outage situations.
- Keep emergency phone numbers on hand. Call the utility to inquire about duration of outage but do not call 911 because they will be busy with other emergencies and damage that the outage may have caused. Use the battery-powered radio to monitor the news and situation in the area.
- Leave one light on during an outage as it will help indicate when the power returns. It is wise to turn off and unplug all other sensitive electrical appliances in the home because there could be a power surge when the power does returns, and this can damage electrical appliances.
- Utilize surge protectors. By using surge protectors for electrical equipment like computers, DVD players and televisions, it can decrease the chance that these items become damaged from a power outage.
- Make sure to conserve water. Water pump systems used by the city are often dependent on electricity. Overusing the water can cause major problems. Limit shower use, do not wash clothes and try not to flush the toilet often while there is a power outage.
- If you have a sump pump in your basement, when your power goes out your pump will no longer function. This could be disastrous, especially if your power is out due to rain storms. Every home with a sump pump should also have a battery powered backup sump pump. These can be purchased at most hardware stores and are easy to install.
- Invest in an alternative power source. While it can be an expensive proposition, a backup emergency generator is handy during a power outage. Learn how to use the generator safely and do not run it from the inside the home or garage, as this can be a safety hazard.
- If you have children in the house be sure to have some age appropriate board games on hand to help pass the time.