Power Outage Tips
- Check your neighborhood first to see if others are without power. Check the fuse box to see if there is a blown fuse or a tripped circuit breaker. (Turn off all large appliances or unplug them before replacing a fuse or a breaker to avoid damage to the electrical system.)
- Have a survival kit in place for emergencies. Inform everyone in the family of the kit's whereabouts. Pack a kit that can be easily thrown into your car in the event you need to leave your home. Include cash, (ATM's and banks will not work in a major power outage) basic toiletries, light weight can goods and nonperishable food, water, change of clothing, money, prescriptions, waterproof matches, can opener, pillows, and heat warming blankets. Inflatable mattresses may be a good purchase if you are stuck in a shelter/building without beds.
- Be prepared for the worst in a severe emergency or disaster. Expect electric power to be out for several days. In such an event, consider relocating to a shelter or to a friend's home where heat and power are available.
- Stay Clear of any fallen or sagging power line. Call the utility company about the line teach any small children about the hazards of power lines.
- Turn off the lights and electrical appliances except for the refrigerator and the freezer. After you have turned off the lights, go back and turn on one single lamp so that you will know when the power is working again. Wait at least 15 minutes before turning on the remaining appliances after the power has been restored.
- If someone in your home uses a life-support system you need to purchase a generator or go to a health care facility that has back up power. Homes that use life support equipment should register with the local utility. When they do this, the utility will make them a top priority for power supply repair.
- Prepare an emergency plan with your family. Have a meeting place or designated place to stay other then your home.
- Prepare yourself and family as if you are going on a camping trip in the wilderness.
- Invest in a generator. They are powered by gasoline and can generate carbon monoxide gas, so only use them outdoors where the fumes will not cause illness. Never plug power generators into your home's main electrical panel as this may result in serious injury or death to utility personnel working to restore power. Instead, plug the generator directly into the appliance you wish to use during the outage.
- Keep freezer and refrigerator doors closed to prevent the loss of cold air. Each time you open the door, you let the cold air out. It is best to get ice chest full of ice for storage.
- Plan on a fully load freezer keeping food fresh for about 6 hours. Remember, keeping the doors closed is a big help in containing the food's freshness.
- A fully load freezer may keep food for frozen up to two days. If your frozen food contains ice crystals and feels as cold as if refrigerated, you can re-freeze. If food is partially unfrozen it is best to cook it and refreeze it to avoid throwing away if not consumed. Discard ice cream and frozen yogurt in either case.
- Put bags of ice in your refrigerator or ice chest to prevent temperature falling below 45 degrees. If the temperature falls below 45 degrees for more than two hours, remember it's time to throw out the food.
- Keep bottled water on hand for emergencies. Bottled water should be stored up both in gallon jugs and small bottles that are easily transportable, if the need arises.
- Keep (inexpensive) flashlights and batteries in each room of the house. Place one flashlight with batteries under everyone's bed in the home. This will keep your family from fumbling in the dark!
- Antibacterial soap and wet wipes come in handy as hot water may not be available. A box of Kleenex and some paper towels can also become a precious commodity in a power outage.
- Buy a solar radio that works without batteries. Solar runs without batteries and saves energy!
- Use candles sparingly and do not leave unattended.
- Purchase an emergency light with an alarm that will notify you of a power outage. Plug into any outlet and if your power goes out it will automatically sound an alarm and provide lighting!
- Don't forget the snacks, pet food, favorite kid toys, comfort food, board games, books, playing cards in your survival kit for families.