You don’t think too much about the power going out during the winter. Who does?
And even if it does go out, it’s usually a brief shortage that lasts just a few seconds or minutes.
But every once in a while, something goes really wrong. There’s an ice storm, like the one in Arkansas that killed 10 and left 250,000 people without power for hours in 2013.
We have unusually cold weather every once in a while here in Texas, don’t we?
Remember the Packers-Steelers Super Bowl a few years ago? That threw everyone for a loop there.
Here’s how you can keep yourself safe, save energy, and make sure you do your part to help electricity come on as fast as possible:
- Only call 911 if someone is injured or in danger, or if power lines are down. Stay away from the power lines at all costs. You can easily get killed by the electricity in the area.
- Have a battery-powered radio on hand. Listen for emergency updates.
- If it’s uncertain when the power is going to be on again, and you’re starting to freeze, consider traveling to a friend’s or relative’s home that’s out of the area. Or, make a day of it and go to the mall or a public venue with power. But only travel if you feel safe driving.
- Dress warm. Most of the heat in your body escapes through your hands or your head. Wear a knit cap (not a baseball cap) and thick gloves. Use multiple layers on the rest of your body. You can use this same tip to help conserve energy when the power is on (But don’t wear gloves and a hat inside. That’s awkward!)
- The food in your fridge and freezer will stay cold for hours if you leave their doors closed. When the power comes on again, keep their doors closed as much as possible to conserve energy.
- Unplug all major appliances and electronics. All of them turning on at once can cause a power surge, which could ruin them entirely, or at least harm them and reduce their life. You should do this all the time when not in use…or plug them into a surge protector.
- Check on your elderly neighbors, or friends and neighbors who may not know how to care for themselves to make sure they’re okay. And better yet, even offer to help them save energy and money when power returns.
This is what you should do in the winter if you lose power for hours on end. These tips may just save your life. And they’ll certainly save you some energy too.