What to Do When the Power Goes Out

September 16, 2018 Lara Gwyn

Power outages are a not-so-fun fact of life. With some planning and knowledge, you can have a safe experience while you wait for power to be restored.

Before the power goes out

Long before you ever lose power, you should be prepared with essential items. Make sure you always have a working flashlight as well as new batteries and a three-day supply of non-perishable food and water (a gallon of water per day, per person). Generators can also be helpful, and ease discomfort during an extended power outage.

During an outage

First, find out what happened
Once you lose power, you need to find out why. Is it just your home, or entire block? Is it weather related? Check your breaker box and ensure a flip isn’t switched. If it’s just your home, call your utility company and have someone sent out. If it’s weather related, chances are many in your area are also dealing with an outage, and it could take awhile to get the power back on. Call your utility provider to report it. Doing so helps the utility know how to prioritize the teams working on the poles and wires.

Keep the fridge shut
Every time you open the refrigerator door, you let cold air out. Once the temperature in your refrigerator goes above 40° F, food is no longer considered safe for consumption. Keep a refrigerator thermometer in your fridge so you can monitor the temp and store fresh meats and milk in the freezer during an outage to keep them colder longer. A full freezer can retain its temperature for 48 hours (24 hours if half full). A fridge can retain its temperature for about 4 hours if unopened.

Skip the candles, use flashlights
Candles may provide ambiance, but in a power outage situation the last thing you need is a fire hazard by placing burning candles all over your home. Grab your flashlights and have enough for each member of the family.

Unplug everything during an extended outage
Unplug all of your appliances and electronics. When the power is eventually restored, surges in the electricity can damage or ruin them. Check each room of the house to make sure you haven’t missed anything. It’s advisable to leave one lamp plugged in and turned “on” so you’ll know when the power has been restored.

Be generator-smart
Generators are a leading cause in carbon monoxide poisoning. Before the power ever goes out, thoroughly read your manual, and know exactly how to safely operate your machine. NEVER operate a generator indoors. Not even in your garage. Keep it away from open windows, and make sure you’ve got a few working, battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors installed. Learn more about safe generator use.

Power of Texas wants our fellow Texans to be safe in the event of a power outage. To learn more about our affordable and reliable energy plans, visit us at Power of Texas.

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