How to prepare for a power outage

February 5, 2014

A power outage is never pleasant and the collateral damages can be devastating. Be ready to handle a blackout by preparing well in advance.

Most power outages are attributed to bad weather. If it isn’t ice, snow, or freezing rain that accumulates on nearby power lines, it’s the wind that takes pleasure in breaking them. Besides the whims of Mother Nature, other factors can bring on a power outage, such as a car colliding with an electric pole, a circuit gnawed by an animal, or a simple power surge inside an electric panel.

Possible damages from a power outage

On the short term, a blackout is mostly just inconvenient; it means we can’t use most of the devices we rely on every day, such as lights, stove, microwave oven, TV, computer, and some phone services. But a prolonged power outage can lead to more serious consequences.

  • Surges can damage your electronic devices.
  • Fire can break out if wiring is the cause of the problem or when candles are used.
  • A family can suffer from lack of heating and the inability to cook food.
  • Frozen foods spoil.
  • Injury can occur in the dark or from using gas stoves, candles, and lamps inside the home.

It is usually impossible to know precisely how long a power outage will last, but it is possible to decrease the negative effects it may bring about. Consulting a certified electrician before any power outages occur will allow you to protect your electricity grid. As a bonus, you’ll receive a few pointers about consuming electricity more wisely.

How to avoid power surges during a blackout

Power interruptions can cause surges in the electrical circuits that can damage your electronic devices. To avoid this, protect your appliances by turning them off during a power outage. You might want to leave a lamp turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.

It's also a good idea to use a power bar to plug in your electric appliances and devices. Ask your electrician which are the best models on the market. He or she can also install a power surge protector in your electrical panel, which will protect the entire electrical system.

Be smart and prepare for blackouts

It’s difficult to predict when a power outage will occur, but whenever it does happen, it’s better to be prepared. Make sure to always have the following items at arm’s reach:

  • The phone number of your power company so you can inform them of the outage, as well as a way to call emergency services if your phone doesn’t work during a power outage
  • A battery radio to keep you up to date on the situation, particularly if the outage is prolonged
  • A battery-operated flashlight (safer than candles) and extra batteries
  • A first-aid kit
  • Warm blankets for wintertime outages
  • Non-perishable foods and fresh water
  • Games, books, and other sources of family entertainment—yes, it is possible to have fun without a TV or video games!
How to prepare for a power outage
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