How To Prepare For A Power Outage
Losing power at home—even if it’s just for a few minutes—is inconvenient, but it can quickly become dangerous even under everyday circumstances. Your local utility company works hard to keep their customers safe and restore power as soon as possible, but it’s a good idea to be prepared for extended outages, especially if they tend to occur more often at certain times of the year. A little preparation can make a big difference in your family’s safety and comfort when the lights and AC go out.
First, how do power outages happen?
Power outages happen for a variety of reasons. The cause can be mechanical like equipment failure, construction, or overloaded electricity mains. Outages can also occur as a result of natural hazards like extreme weather, such as hurricanes or ice storms, or natural disasters like earthquakes. Sometimes it can be as simple as an animal or a fallen tree disrupting a power line.
There are generally three types of outages—blackouts, brownouts, and rolling blackouts. Blackouts are the most severe. In a blackout, there is a total loss of power in your area. Brownouts are when there is only a short drop in the electricity supply. You may see the lights dim, or some electronic equipment may stop working.
There are also rolling blackouts, which are planned outages that happen when there’s too much demand on the electricity grid and not enough supply. To make up for the energy shortage, power companies will reduce power to one part of the grid to make sure the rest of the network doesn’t go offline as well. Customers are usually warned in advance when these happen, and ideally, they don’t last long.
How can you prepare your home when the power goes out?
Walk through your home, turning all your light switches to the off position. Unplug any appliances and electronics to prevent damage from electrical surges. Make sure you at least unplug your media center, any computers, and other expensive equipment. Leave one light switch on to signal when the power comes back on.
Keep a few flashlights within reach in the most used rooms in your home. Some good spots are near the front door, in the kitchen, and next to your bed. Make sure they have fresh batteries, and you have a supply of extras on hand as well. Be cautious using candles on surfaces that won’t budge like kitchen and bathroom counters.
A battery-powered or hand-crank radio is an essential tool for emergency preparedness. If you can’t charge your devices or connect to regular communication channels, a radio will tune you into weather and emergency updates in your area.
During emergencies, especially in extreme weather, your home’s water supply could be at risk of contamination from sewage or flood waters. Safe drinking water is the first essential to make sure you have on hand. Make sure you have enough water for everyone in your household. It’s recommended to have at least one gallon per person, per day for at least three days. For a family of four, that’s a minimum of 12 gallons of drinking water.
Food is also a critical concern during longer power outages and emergencies. To keep your perishable foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, or leftovers) fresh as long as possible, avoid opening your fridge and letting out any more cold air than is absolutely necessary. Even without power, refrigerators will keep your food cold for roughly four hours. A full freezer will stay cold for about 48 hours.
Keep a supply of non-perishable food items on hand. These items should be easy-to-make and not require refrigeration, cooking, or water. Stock your home with a one-week supply, and have a three-day amount packed and ready to go if you’re expecting dangerous flooding and may need to evacuate.
Here are some non-perishable Emergency Food Supplies:
- Protein or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola
- Peanut butter
- Dried fruit
- Canned juices
During electrical outages, it’s a good idea to avoid any unnecessary travel. Street and traffic lights might be out in your neighborhood, and driving could be dangerous. However, in the event of severe weather or emergency, it may be necessary to leave your home. Plan ahead and put an evacuation plan in place for your household so that everyone knows what to do.
About Santanna Energy Services
Santanna Energy Services located in Austin, TX and Bolingbrook IL, is a Electricity and Natural Gas Provider for Residential, Commercial, Business and more. Founded in 1988 and have been in business for over 31 years and growing!