When your power goes out, it will not be fun even though you may have imagined this situation a million times in your mind. Power outages are a fact of life even in these modern times, and you should know how to prepare for it, so when it happens next time you are ready.
Understanding the Reasons for Power Outages
Your power can go out due to inclement weather, a blown fuse or a burned transformer. If you find that your lights go off, you need to first ensure that you are having a power outage. Always keep a flashlight handy and keep checking it periodically to ensure that the batteries are working.
Use the flashlight to check the main electric panel. It will enable you to see whether the breaker has tripped or the fuse is blown. If the breaker has tripped, you just need to turn it back on and restore the power in your home. In case a fuse has blown, get a trained and certified emergency electrician to come and fix it.
In case neither the breaker nor the fuse has a problem, peep at your neighbor’s home to determine whether they have power. Remember, power loss can be quite localized. For instance, homes that get served by the same power transformer may experience outages while other homes will have power. In case your neighbor has power, it could be a power outage.
Call Your Power Utility Company
Once you determine you have an outage, telephone your power utility company and let them know about the outage. Remember, there will be other homeowners and businesses calling up the company. So, you may find it difficult to get through. Here, patience is the key word. Keep trying to call the company until you get through. Report it even though the company may already know about the outage and could be working to restore power.
When you have finally determined that there is a power outage, turn off all appliances in your home. Modern homes have numerous appliances and switching off and unplugging all appliances one-by-one is not only time-consuming, but can result in you forgetting an appliance. So, the best solution is to turn off the main circuit breaker, so that you do not have to worry about power surge once the power returns.
Unplugging and turning off appliances protects you and your home. For instance, you may forget to turn off the iron and decide to go some other place until the power gets restored. In the meantime, if the power returns, the iron may heat up and burn things or start an electrical fire in your home.
Keep Yourself Warm
If is cold, a power outage means that the heating will also be off. So, it is imperative you take measures to keep yourself warm. Dress up in layers. You can also conserve heat by donning your hat and gloves.
Keep little ones in your home and pets warm. The best way to do this is to ensure all family members stay in one room. You can cuddle up to transfer body heat. If you or the kids are feeling extremely cold, you can always take a warm shower. Even though the power is out, hot water heaters tend to keep water warm for hours. Alternatively, you can get the fireplace in your living room going. Remember, the outage can be long-lasting, depending on the severity of the issue. So, do not go overboard with the wood.
Take Stock of Perishable Food Items
Since you do not know how long the power outage will last, remove all perishable food items from your refrigerator. With the power gone, your refrigerator will stay cold for a limited period of time. So, once you remove the perishable items, do not open the refrigerator and freezer. It will ensure that the cold air stays inside and preserves other food items.
You have the option of consuming perishable food items, but you will not be able to heat them up. So, if you cannot eat them, it is to dispose these items. Do not leave them lying around, as the food will warm up and begin spoiling once that happens.
Even if your gas stove has an electric igniter, you should still be able to get it working using a match. Cook the perishable food items and look to consume them first. After that, you can switch to non-refrigerated and canned food items.
If the weather is cold, eat proteins as it will help you get the energy to heat your body. If you have an electric stovetop, there is no need to panic. You can consume canned food, snacks and other non-refrigerated foods that do not require cooking. You also have the option of using a campfire stove as long as it has sufficient fuel to get you by.
Conserve and Store Water
You do not know how long the power outage will last. Hence, it makes sense to store water as your water supplies may run out. Fill containers, sinks and bathtubs with water. Be judicious with bottled water. Drink only when you are thirsty. If you are smart, you will head to the local grocery store or supermarket and pick up more bottled water, batteries for your flashlights, canned foods, protein bars, and other necessities the moment there is a power outage, so that you are properly equipped for the outage.
Go Out and Enjoy
The power outage may be just a localized event and the rest of the town may not be experiencing an outage. So, instead of staying at home and doing nothing, head to town to have a hot meal at your favorite restaurant or enjoy a cinema at the movie theater. You can even go to an amusement park with kids. Use this opportunity to spend time as a family and strengthen your bond. Just make sure you turn off the stove and put the fire out before heading outside.
The Final Words
Even a long power outage is temporary, but being prepared for such a situation will minimize your discomfort. If you have a family member with health issues, keep an eye on them. If necessary, call 911. Keep a battery radio handy, so that you can hear the local news and stay abreast of the situation in your town. Finally, refrain from doing anything that could be a danger or hazard to you and your loved ones.