How to be prepared for power failures

September 22, 2014

Severe weather conditions can lead to unexpected power failures. Learn more about what you can do to prepare your family for a power failure.
Power failures can leave you and your family without heating or air conditioning, electricity, hot water, or even running water. This can make life at home difficult or even unbearable. Here are a few simple steps you can take to lessen the effects of a power failure:

  1. Learn what to do before, during, and after an emergency:Pay attention to what news broadcasts are saying before severe weather hits. You can learn what your family will be up against and be able to prepare accordingly. Know the risks and hazards your community or region may face during an emergency scenario that could cause power failures.
  2. Create an emergency plan for your family:Let everyone know what to do and where to go in case of an emergency. Unfortunately, your family might not all be together during a power failure. Discuss what to do if you’re at home, school, or work during an emergency. Write down the plan and practice it with the entire family at least once a year.
  3. Put together an emergency kit with basic supplies:Be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours during a power failure. Your kit should include water, non-perishable foods, flashlights, batteries, a first aid kit, cash in small bills, and any necessary medications. Keep your kit in a duffle bag or backpack stored in an easy-to-reach place.

Steps to take during a power failure
So the power’s gone out. What do you do? Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Check who else has lost power — is it just you or have your neighbours lost power, too?
  2. If both you and your neighbours have lost power, call your electrical supply company.
  3. Turn off all electronics, appliances, and heating and cooling systems so there isn’t a power surge when power is restored. Remember to protect more sensitive electrical appliances like TVs and computers with a surge-protecting power bar.
  4. To know when the power returns, keep one light on inside and one on outside.
  5. Leave your freezer and refrigerator closed to preserve the cold. A full freezer can stay frozen for at least 24 to 36 hours if it stays closed.
  6. Do NOT use charcoal or gas barbecues, camping heating equipment, or home generators inside because they give off carbon monoxide. (Be sure your carbon monoxide detector has a battery-powered backup.)
  7. For candles, be sure to use the right candle holders and never leave a candle unattended. Remember to blow out all candles before going to bed.
  8. News broadcasts will give you updates and advice during an emergency, so stay connected by listening to your battery-powered or crank radio.
How to be prepared for power failures
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