With the summer months upon us, it’s only a matter of time till we face the dreaded summer power outages. There’s few things more disappointing than having a great night-in planned out only to have your power go out and to be left literally sitting in the dark.
While outages may be inevitable, if you’re prepared for the situation ahead of time, you’ll be fine. Here’s a few tips to make sure you’re prepared for what lies ahead.
First Things First
The first thing you’re going to want to do when your power goes out is to determine if it’s just your house or if it is a neighborhood problem. To do this you’ll want to check your breaker box (often found in the basement) and make sure you haven’t blown any fuses or tripped any wires. If it is just your house, be sure to flip the breaker back on or, if necessary, replace blown fuses. Be sure to call an electrician if you are unsure how to do so. There should be a number on the break box for a local one.
If your breaker box seems fine and shows no signs of blown fuses then it’s probably a city issue. To know for sure you can call your local power company – the number can be found on an old bill or in the phonebook. Writing this number down beforehand may be a good idea since you will likely lose all connection to the internet in a power outage – unless you have access to a charged smartphone.
There are a number of reasons why electricity goes out during the summer months. A storm may have knocked out electricity, a power pole may be damaged due to an accident, it may be overloaded due to our constant reliance on A/C, or it may be a planned or controlled event by your power company to provide maintenance.
Do’s & Don’ts During the Outage
Depending on the cause of the power outage, your power may be back on within a few minutes or a few hours. Remember to stay calm and be patient. Your power company is aware of the situation and is trying to get it back up as soon as possible.
Keep candles or flashlights (with batteries) readily available and easily accessible. A battery-powered radio is also a good investment.
Turn off the TV, computer, stereo and other electronics at the power strip to avoid potentially damaging power surges when the power does turn back on.
Stay hydrated. Keep bottled water readily available. Your house is going to warm up and depending on how long the power is out, you need to stay cool. Your body temperature can rise rapidly when it can’t control it’s temperature. In extreme cases, body temperature may hit 106 degrees Fahrenheit within only 10-15 minutes.
Keep some non-perishable food items around just in case the outage lasts longer than expected and your perishable items go bad.
Keep books, cards, games or other non-electrical items handy to keep you and your family entertained during the outage.
Check with elderly or disabled neighbors, family and friends. Think of who you know that may need assistance and be sure to check in on them.
Call 911 unless it is an actual emergency.
Open the fridge and/or freezer unless you have to. If you keep the door closed, food in there should be fine for hours.
Freak out. The power will eventually come back on.
Basic emergency preparation for power outages isn’t just for doomsday preppers but is something that every homeowner and family should be prepared for. If you’re prepared this summer for the possibility of a power outage then you won’t have much to worry about if it happens.