A power outage can happen anywhere and anytime. It can last several hours or several days. The best way to protect yourself and your family in the event of a power outage is to take the following steps:
- Plan enough emergency supplies (water, non-perishable food, medicine, personal items) for at least 72 hours.
- Never use a charcoal or gas barbecue, camping heater, or generator inside the house, as they produce carbon monoxide.
Before a breakdown
- The best way to be safe is to make an emergency plan.
- Power outages are closely linked to weather conditions. It is therefore important to keep an eye out for local weather news and alerts.
- Plan enough supplies and essentials for three days.
- Prepare to lend a helping hand to people with special needs, especially those who depend on medical equipment or have mobility challenges. Think of examples where the power outage could impact accessibility (due to an elevator failure, for example).
- Include batteries in your emergency kit.
- If you are considering purchasing a generator, first seek the advice of a professional such as an electrician. Make sure the generator is suitable for the power you will need. Professionals at ExcelElectricians.com can help with that.
- Check that there is a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. If it runs on electricity, make sure it has a backup battery.
- Be sure to keep a flashlight with working batteries in an easily accessible location.
- Have a non-powered phone handy. Fixed telephone lines could continue to operate without electricity.
- Make sure your gas tank is always at least half full.
During an outage
- Try to stay abreast of the situation and listen to the authorities’ advice using your battery-powered or hand-crank radio.
- Check if the outage is limited to your home. If your neighbors have power, check your circuit breakers or fuses. Keep emergency numbers, such as the one for your electric utility, near your phone.
- If your neighbors don’t have power either, alert the power company.
- Turn off all appliances and electronics, and turn the heat to a minimum to prevent damage that a power surge could cause when power is restored.
- Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer doors as much as is feasible.
- Turn off all lights except one inside and one outside the house. These will be used to alert you and the utility employees working outside that the power has returned.
- Use flashlights, not candles, to help reduce the risk of fire.
- Cancel all unnecessary travel, especially by car. The traffic lights will be out of order and there is a risk of traffic jams.
In case of evacuation
- If you need to evacuate your home immediately, take your emergency kit and follow the authorities’ instructions.
After a breakdown
- Find out if your vulnerable family, friends, and neighbors need special help.
- Stay away from power lines and make sure your loved ones do the same. If you see power lines that have fallen to the ground, report it to authorities in your area.
- Check that the exterior of your house has not been damaged and that there is no danger.
- Check the condition of food in refrigerators, freezers, and cabinets. Depending on the temperature, food in a freezer can stay frozen for 24 to 36 hours if the door is left closed. As soon as food begins to thaw, it should be thrown in the trash.
- Open the main power switch and gradually turn on household and electronic appliances to prevent damage from voltage overload.
Main Causes of Power Outage
The causes of a power outage can be different from one place another. It depends a lot on the location where you are living. Despite that, it also depends on the equipment that you are using to get electricity. We would like to highlight the most common causes of the power outage that you may experience. For each one that we placed on the list, you should go through the steps we previously mentioned.
The weather is usually the number one reason why people have to deal with the power outage. That especially counts in certain areas where tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, and other weather conditions are happening all the time. Wind, low and high temperatures can often damage the equipment you are using. Despite that, lightning strikes can cause damage if the equipment you use is old. The same can happen with modern technology, but that happens rarely because they are protected better.
It is hard to find a person on this planet that does not like animals. However, our furry friends can also be the cause of the power outage. In most cases, squirrels are responsible for why we have to deal with such a problem. Of course, that counts for the regions where a big number of squirrels lives.
Despite that, there is another thing that we need to highlight here. Some electrical devices make an inviting nesting spot during the winter because they remain ward. You can conclude on your own why nests can lead to the outage of power.
Natural causes are not the only reason why we get out of power sometimes. However, there are two different types of human errors that we would like to highlight here.
The first one is directly connected with the homeowners. People often make a power outage while working with different types of equipment. Most commonly, working with an antenna or ladder too close to power lines can lead to such a problem.
On the other hand, power outage sometimes directly depends on the behavior of other people. Car accidents are happening in all parts of the world too often. When a vehicle hits the power supplier too strong, your home will surely remain without electricity.
Living in an old house means that you are using old equipment. If they are not working properly, you may have to deal with power outage as well. Still, the newest equipment that is modernized can also cause certain problems. Keep in mind that problems with connectors, cables, and other stuff can appear unexpectedly. Fortunately, if you collaborate with professionals, the problem like that will be easily solvable.
Sometimes the Power Outage Can Be Scheduled
The professionals you are collaborating with will sometimes want to schedule the interruption. There is a good reason why they are deciding on that move. Most professional companies will always want to ensure your safety. Because of that, they are regularly maintaining and repairing the equipment you are using. However, be sure they will not do that without informing you. Because of that, you should once again read the instructions we previously shared with you. When you know that a power outage will happen, you should go through all the steps that we highlighted above. That is the best way to enjoy your time until the electricity comes back.