Summer means warmth, sun, swimming, and fun. But it also means the threat of summer storms, which can cause lengthy power outages in your town. A power outage has the potential to disrupt water, transportation, communication, and can cause a myriad of issues within the home. Thunderstorms can cause damaging, extended power outages, especially when you don’t prepare 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
Before the Power Goes Out:
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 ensure your family’s safety, it is crucial that you 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. Additionally, sign up for local alerts and warnings to be sent to your phone. These alerts could provide you 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 your all members of the household know where they 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, 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 may 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. In general, you should always 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 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.
Take a poll of what you used during the outage, and what you might need when the next storm hits. Did you have enough nonperishables or extra batteries? Note what you should do next time to better prepare for a power outage.