When power interruptions or blackouts occur, people lose their sources of light, heat and water. Safety is a concern in a power blackout situation. A storm, an accident or widespread loss of electrical distribution system capacity can cause an extended power outage. Here are some things to do if you know there is a chance of power blackouts:
- If you use life-sustaining electrical equipment, pre-register with the special needs shelter.
- Consider purchasing a small generator or know where to rent one if you use life-sustaining equipment that requires electrical power.
- Post the telephone number of the new construction, repairs and power outage listing of your local utility.
- If you own an electric garage door opener, learn how to open it without power.
- Prepare a power outage kit. For short outages, consider having glow light sticks, flashlights, battery-powered radio, extra batteries and a wind-up clock on hand.
- Make sure you have an alternate heat source and a supply of fuel.
- Have a corded phone available (cordless phones do not work without power).
- When installing large home generators, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and have it inspected by the utility company and the county inspection and code compliance department.
- Unplug computers and other voltage sensitive equipment to protect them against possible surges (even if you have surge protectors) when power is restored.
When the Outage Could be Lengthy
- Report power outages to your utility company.
- Once you report your outage, do not use your telephone or cell phone. Phone lines are needed for emergency use.
- If power is out in the neighborhood, disconnect electrical heaters/appliances to reduce demand and protect motors from low-voltage damage.
- If you leave home, turn off or unplug heat-producing appliances.
- Stay away from downed transmission lines and report them to your utility company.
- Conserve water, especially if you are on a well.
- Keep doors, windows and draperies closed to retain heat in your home if it is cold outside.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
- Be extremely careful of fire hazards from candles or other flammable light sources.
- When using kerosene heaters, gas lanterns or stoves inside the house, maintain ventilation to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes.
- If your house is not pre-wired for proper generator connection, connect lights and appliances directly to a generator, not an existing electrical system.