We depend upon the power supply that keeps our homes and businesses comfortable and safe. A power outage can be either a minor inconvenience or create a dangerous situation. Some up-front planning can help you and your family stay safer, calmer, and more comfortable when the power goes out.
Be Prepared When the Power Goes Out
- Have the following items on hand:
- Flashlights, extra batteries, AM/FM battery powered radio, rechargeable power failure lights, wind up or battery alarm clock, and lightsticks.
- Emergency Kit stocked with enough supplies for each member of your family.
- Cash and change--the power failure may affect local ATM’s, too. At least one phone that does not require power in case you need to call 9-1-1. Always keep your cell phone charged.
- Fire extinguisher that you know how to operate.
- Smoke detectors mounted in appropriate rooms. Change the batteries and test them regularly.
- Spare tank of propane for outdoor cooking.
- Small container of gasoline (away from the house) for emergencies.
- Never let your vehicle(s) get below a quarter of a tank.
- If you live in a rural area, consider purchasing a generator.
Information to Know
- Know where your main electrical panel is located and become familiar with it. You may have to turn off the main breaker or have to reset circuit breakers after an outage.
- People who are medically dependent on electricity should make arrangements in advance to ensure a continuous source of power in the event of an outage. All hospitals are required to have backup power. Medically dependent persons without adequate back-up power can call 9-1-1 for transport to a hospital.
- Use caution around your fireplace. Don’t burn wood with paint or stain. Do not leave an open flame. Close your fireplace screen to prevent sparks. Do not store flammable items near the fireplace. If you use candles, place them on a fire proof surface.
- During the power outage, unplug all small appliances and electronics to avoid damage from a power surge when the power comes back on. Leave one low wattage incandescent light on so you know when the power returns.
- When power is restored you may have to reset your clocks, VCRs, microwave ovens, programmable thermostats, burglar and fire alarms.
- Sewer pump stations have limited storage capacity. Try to limit your water usage, including flushing your toilet, during a power outage.
If You Leave Home
- If you can do so safely, stay home during a power outage. Stores, offices, and gas stations may be closed.
- Traffic signals in the affected area may be out. If so, remember the intersection becomes a 4-way Stop.
- Watch for suspicious activity. Criminals may try to take advantage of the power outage. Call 9-1-1 if you notice suspicious activity.
- Have a communication plan for checking on and reuniting family members if you are separated.
- Provide children with flashlights or light sticks that they can keep by their bed and in their backpacks. Talk to them about living without electricity and explain that the outage is usually short term.
- Be a good neighbor and check on those around you who have special needs: seniors, people with disabilities, and children who are home alone.
Reporting an Outage or Downed Lines
In the event of a power outage or if you see downed power lines, contact your local power supply company.