A power outage can be more than inconvenient. It also presents certain safety hazards. According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the frequency of power outages has remained stable in the U.S. in recent years, but the average duration of each outage has gotten steadily longer. In other words, if the grid does go down, it may stay down for an extended time. So will your household electricity, including lights, HVAC, the refrigerator, communications technology and all other electrical circuits. Here are four important tips to stay safe during a power outage.
- Be prepared. Take steps to deal with the loss of power before it happens. Put together a household emergency kit with flashlights, batteries and a portable radio as well as enough food and water for three days. (Don’t count on municipal water if the outage is widespread and lengthy.) Food in the refrigerator section should be safe for up to four hours while food in the freezer is generally safe for about 24 hours.
- Take care with generators. If you own a portable generator, it must be moved a safe distance from the house during operation to avoid the danger of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning. If you use extension cords to connect to the generator, use cords rated for outside use and be careful of electrocution hazards in wet weather.
- Stay warm in winter. Relocate everyone into a single room for more warmth and put on extra layers of clothes. Wrap children and yourself in blankets. Move around to increase body heat. Know where blankets and sleeping bags are stored for quick access.
- Know when to leave. If the power outage is extended, it may be preferable to relocate to a municipal shelter or motel, or to relatives or friends in locations where power is still available. This is particularly true in cold weather conditions and/or where elderly persons or very young children are affected. Secure the house and be careful driving if traffic signals and street lights are out.
For more information about dealing with a power outage in your home, contact the licensed professionals at Apollo Home.