How to Deal with a Power Outage

by on July 25th, 2010
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Power outages can occur for many reasons. Around our home, it could be from Santa Ana winds, brush fires, earthquakes and too many air conditioners on at the same time.

Because of the earthquakes, we’re fairly well prepared for a power outage, but it has taken a fair amount of learning and prep work. Some of the stuff we’ve learned has been the hard way. I’m hoping this will help you avoid that method of education.

Preparation: Most importantly, have flashlights or emergency lights available throughout your house. You never know where you’ll be. I know keeping a flashlight in your bathroom drawer seems odd now, but if you’re in there when the power goes out, you’ll be thankful.

Generators: We have one, but we live in Southern California. If the power is going to be out for several days, we will need to keep the refrigerator and freezer running. My job is to write, so we’ll need at least one computer running, and information is vital. Most long term power outages have a cause that makes following the news extremely important.

If you’re family has a need for continual power, buying a generator could be a wise move. However, make sure you follow all instructions when using it. There are two very good reasons for this. One, improper usage could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, and two, improper hookups could electrocute the poor guy trying to get your real power back on.

Call the Power Company: You may have to wait to get through, but there is usually a recording available to update you on progress towards fixing the issue. This information will help you make decisions on how to handle the outage.

Keep it Closed: If at all possible, don’t open your refrigerator or freezer during a power outage. Keeping them closed will help keep the food inside at a safe temperature for a longer period of time. If it’s cold outside and your heater is electric, keep the doors closed and try to all congregate in one room. Body heat will help.

Warm Water Tanks: If you have a fish tank and the fish in it need to be kept warm, put a blanket over the tank to keep the heat in. If it’s a hundred sixteen degrees outside, this may not be needed, but if it’s cool it will. (And yes, we’ve had temperatures go up that high here…with a power outage that lasted thirty hours.)

For most of us, power outages are short term inconveniences. If they do last longer than a few minutes, hopefully the information provided will help you get through it easier.

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