A power outage can be scary. It’s important that you’re informed and prepared before you ever run into a power disaster so that you can remain safe while the power is off.
- Start by having an emergency kit prepared. Have the essentials you need for at least 72 hours. Make sure you have a flashlight, batteries, a portable radio, 1 gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable foods, a can opener, extra clothes, durable shoes, blankets, games to pass the time, any prescription medications, a whistle, and supplies to make a shelter if needed. It is recommended to also have smaller emergency kits for your car or office.
- Make sure you have water or know where to find some. In a real emergency, you could drain water from the spout of a water heater or from pipes inside of your home. You can let your ice cube tray melt or even use water from your toilet reserve tank. If you choose to use any water from outside sources, it is important to boil it first.
- Keep your refrigerated food safe. If the power goes out, do not open your refrigerator door. The contents of a full fridge will last about six hours and your freezer should last about two days. It is not recommended to taste any foods to see if they are okay. Throw away any items that become warmer than 41 degrees and if you are in any doubt that something has gone bad, throw it out anyway.
- Avoid electrocution. Do not go near any broken wires outside or attempt to repair anything while the power is still out. Turn off all lights except one, so that you know when the power is turned back on.
- Prevent hypothermia. Depending on the season of the power outage, it is important to be prepared for cold conditions. Symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrolled shivering, slow speech, extreme fatigue, confusion, and unconsciousness. To avoid this, make sure you wear warm clothing that covers your head, hands, and feet. It is also important to put on a new set of clothes if yours become wet. If you need shelter from a flood, your vehicle is a good dry place to find it.
- Prevent overheating. If it is a warmer season, make sure you do everything you can to stay cool. Wear lightweight clothing and start in the lowest level of your home where it will be coolest. Continue to drink water, even if you are not thirsty, and keep an eye on your pets as well.
- Know when it is bad enough to leave your home. If anyone in your family has become ill or injured, it is necessary to leave and find shelter elsewhere. This is important because there is only so much you can do in emergency situations to prevent your family from getting sick or hurt.
Make sure you know how to stay safe when the power goes out. Your home security system can notify emergency personnel as soon as flood or electrical problem start, but to stay safe and keep your family safe, you need to be prepared. Make sure you have the tools and equipment to survive if necessary.