How to Prepare for a Power Outage
By NOPEC on July 18, 2019
With an aging power grid and growing population, power outages are more common than they used to be. When the electricity goes out, the last thing you want is to be left in the dark. Power outages happen unexpectedly and are caused by utility blackouts or severe weather like thunder and lightning storms, snow and ice storms, or strong winds. These moments can be scary if unprepared, as they can disrupt communications, water, and transportation and prevent the use of medical devices. Here’s how to prepare yourself for an electricity outage.
Assemble an Emergency Kit
It can be dangerous to scramble for supplies in the dark when you can’t see what you’re reaching for. Plan ahead by assembling an emergency kit of everything you might need during a power outage, including:
- Weather radio
- Portable generator
- Bottled water
- Nonperishable food
- Disposable utensils
- First-aid kit
- Hand sanitizer and hygiene products
- Emergency telephone numbers
- Extra cash
- Important family documents
- Games and activities for children
Put all these supplies into one container, such as a duffel bag or waterproof storage box. Keep the emergency kit in a location that’s easy to access and make sure everyone in your house knows where it is.
Give Everyone a Flashlight
When the lights go out, flashlights can help you feel safe. When you’re putting together your emergency kit, you should have enough flashlights for every member of your household. Opt for LED flashlights, as they can last about six to 10 times longer than their incandescent counterparts. Don’t forget to include extra batteries for the flashlights in your emergency kit, too.
Invest in a Weather Radio
In case the Internet goes out and/or your cell phone dies, you’ll need an alternative method to receive weather updates and emergency information. A portable, battery-powered radio will let you listen anywhere and give you the information you need to stay safe. Again, make sure you have the right kind of batteries for this device stored in your emergency kit.
Stock Up on Food and Water
The moment you hear a big storm could be rolling in, you should stock up on bottled water and non-perishable food items. A good rule of thumb is one gallon of water per person per day. For food, stock up on your favorite cereals, crackers, nuts dried fruit, power pars, and canned meats. Keep in mind that during a power outage, you’ll want to keep your freezer and refrigerator doors closed to help keep the cold air inside.
Buy a Portable Generator
Between the lake effect snow and unpredictable weather patterns, having a backup power source can be a smart investment for Northeast Ohio residents. Portable generators allow you to keep electronics running, even after you lose your main power sources. During a power outage, follow safe operating procedures. Never use a generator inside your home or in an enclosed space like your garage.
Look Up Your Electric Company’s Phone Number
When a power outage occurs, you’ll need to report it to your local electric company. Don’t rely on your neighbors to make the call. Have your electric company’s telephone number in your cell phone and keep it written down in your emergency kit, just in case.
Develop an Emergency Plan
You’ll need to put a plan in place for what to do during a power outage. Make sure everyone in your house is aware of the plan.
Whoever is closest to the emergency kit should be the one to retrieve it and bring flashlights to everyone in your house. You’ll then want to turn off all your appliances, including your furnace, air conditioner, water heater, and water pump to avoid circuit overload and electrical surges that can harm your devices.
While you wait for electricity to be restored, listen to your weather radio for updates. Staying inside is best, but if you must leave the house, steer clear of downed power lines, flooded areas, and debris. These can be energized and can cause electric shocks and burns.
Nobody wants to be without electricity for a few hours, or even days or weeks, but being prepared can help ensure that you and your family get through it safe. Want more tips? Sign up for our newsletter to receive energy-saving tips and chances to win smart home technology.
Tags: NOPEC, Electricity
Categories: Consumer Questions