How to Prepare for a Power Outage
The idea of summer brings up happy memories of warmth, sun, swimming, and fun. But it also carries with it the threat of summer storms, which can cause lengthy power outages in your town. A power outage has the potential to disrupt utility service, transportation, communication, and can cause a myriad of issues within the home. Thunderstorms can cause damaging, extended power outages, especially when you aren’t prepared for one. Follow Payless Power’s tips on how to prepare for a power outage, before, during and after it occurs.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR A POWER OUTAGE: BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER
It is essential to be holistically prepared for a power outage, be it how to prepare before the power goes out, what to do during the outage, or dealing with the aftermath once your electricity is turned back on. Read the comprehensive tips below to ensure that you are properly prepared for an emergency power outage.
Preparing for a Power Failure:
Create an Emergency Kit.
The last thing you want during a power outage is to fumble around in your drawers and cabinets in the dark looking for emergency supplies. As a necessary precaution, your household should have an emergency kit prepared for power outages at all times. This emergency kit can be stored in a plastic container or a duffle bag and placed in a central, accessible location that all household members are aware of, preferably on the main level of the home so that everyone can avoid the stairs in the dark. An emergency kit should include one gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable and easy to prepare food items, flashlights and extra batteries, a first aid kit, portable phone chargers, and more.
Stock Up on Non-Perishables.
You want to avoid opening the fridge and freezer to access food as much as possible, as this will rapidly speed up the spoiling of your perishable food. A more popular tip of how to be prepared for a power outage is to stock up on nonperishable food items in your pantry, particularly ones that do not need to be cooked or cooled. Additionally, when the power is out, there is a possibility that you might not have access to running water, so make sure to keep plastic water bottles in the pantry as well.
Put Perishable Food in a Cooler.
If a storm is coming, practice food safety by preparing a cooler filled with ice to preserve the perishable food that is currently in the refrigerator and freezer. This will prevent you from having to open the fridge or freezer during a power outage and limit the amount of waste that occurs when perishable food items are not kept cool, ultimately saving you money.
Fill Your Gas Tank.
Make sure your car is filled with a full tank of gas before the storm. If you need to evacuate your home at a moment’s notice to help keep your family safe, it is crucial that your car is ready to go with a full tank of gas.
Charge Your Phone.
When a storm is on the way, make sure to charge your mobile phone. Mobile phones are crucial to communicate with others and to check the news and weather information. Make sure your phone is fully charged when preparing for a power outage in hopes that it can last you a full 24 hours. Additionally, sign up for local alerts and warnings to be sent to your phone. These alerts could keep you informed with crucial safety information during power outages.
Flashlights are Crucial.
Always make sure that you have flashlights and batteries around the house and in your car. Make sure all members of the household know where both the flashlights and batteries are located so that it is easy to find them when the lights are out during a power outage.
While the Power is Out:
Don’t Open the Fridge or Freezer.
If you are able to keep the freezer and refrigerator closed as much as possible, it will keep frozen and refrigerated food from spoiling during a power outage. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for up to 8 hours, while a freezer will keep food frozen for up to 48 hours as long as the door remains closed. As long as you keep the doors closed, hopefully you can salvage your refrigerated and frozen food after a power outage.
Communicate with Your Neighbors.
Stay in contact with neighbors who are also without power. Make sure they know your status, and remain in communication with them throughout the storm. If there is an emergency in your household, it is crucial that someone else knows and can work to find help.
Use Flashlights, Not Candles.
When the power is out, use flashlights for any necessary additional light if it is dark outside, not candles. Candles can be a fire hazard, especially during a power outage with limited access to water.
Unplug All Electric Appliances.
As soon as the power goes out, make sure you go around your home and unplug all electronic devices, small and large. When the power returns, a surge or spike could potentially cause damage to the electronics. Wait until the power is back on before plugging in electronics and appliances.
After the Power is Back On:
Stay Away From Power Lines That Are Down.
If you need to leave your home immediately after a power outage, make sure that you stay away from any power lines that are down or broken. They can be extremely dangerous, especially if there are puddles of water surrounding them. In general, you should always take precaution and stay away from a broken power line until the lines are fixed.
Throw Away Spoiled Food.
If you needed to open up your fridge or freezer to take out food throughout the power outage, it is likely that not all of your food remained at the temperature it needed to be to stay preserved. Throw out food that may have spoiled during the power outage. If the power outage lasted a few days, it is best to throw out all perishable food. Remember, when in doubt, throw it out!
Evaluate Your Preparedness and Emergency Kit.
Take a poll of what you ended up using during the outage, and what you might need when the next storm hits. How did your emergency kit fare? Did it properly aid all members of the household? Was it easy to find and access in the dark? Did you have enough nonperishables or extra batteries? Note what you should do next time to better prepare your household for a power outage.
Now You Know What to Do in a Power Outage!
After reviewing the tips above for what to do when the power goes out, you should be sufficiently prepared to take all necessary measures for creating an emergency kit, know how to manage your household when there is no power, and understand the safety measures you need to take once power has been restored. No need to fret – you and your household are totally ready to survive and thrive the next time your power goes out!