National and state electrical grids are usually well-maintained, so the chances of an unforeseen outage are low. However, other than planned outages, storms and generally harsh weather can damage your state’s electrical infrastructure, leading to an outage. Whether expected or not, outages can expose us to the elements and other hazards. To keep your family, your home, and yourself safe, read on and follow these safety tips.
Build an Emergency Kit
Depending on the severity of the damage, your power outage can last from a few minutes to a few days. Consequently, you should keep a kit with clothing, non-perishable food, water, petrol for your car, charged power banks, first aid, and flashlights with batteries. Additionally, depending on your situation, you may also want to keep some food and water for your pets and games to pass the time.
Keep Your Food Cool or Throw it Out
With your refrigerators and freezers off, your food may begin to warm and bacteria may begin to grow. A refrigerator can stay cool for 4 hours after a power outage if you avoid opening it. A freezer can also stay cool if prepared properly. Keeping bottles of frozen water in the freezer can keep the temperature low after the power goes off. If you can’t keep your food cool enough, or you smell something off, throw it away; it’s likely spoiled.
Be Wary of the Water
This is particular to storms, floods, and similar weather events that cause water to enter your house. One of the first things you should try to do during a power outage is to unplug and turn off most electrical appliances.
If you can find out when the power returns without your power on, turn off your home’s main electrical panel.
When the power returns, it can cause surges that can damage your appliances and outlets. Turning the power off prevents that.
However, when turning the power off, you should be cautious of water. Water is a good conductor of electricity, so interacting with electrical equipment could lead to electrocution. You should avoid flooded areas with electrical equipment, since the water could be electrified. Also, stay away from downed power lines.
Moreover, check your appliances and outlets for any water before using them after the power comes back. Lastly, make sure you’re not using any electronics if you have to step outside your house during a storm.
A good generator can mitigate most of the problems caused by power outages. They can provide enough power to keep your refrigerators and other essential appliances working. Consequently, you don’t need to worry about throwing away any of your food. It can also keep your phones and other electronics charged, so you don’t feel the length of the outage.
However, generators don’t solve everything. They don’t stop water from entering your home, so you should still be careful with your appliances and outlets. They also carry the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you leave your generator on within your home, you could get poisoned. You should install carbon monoxide detectors, as well as keep your generator outside, away from doors, windows, and vents to avoid this.
A poorly maintained generator, however, will likely give up on you either randomly or under enough strain. You should run a maintenance check on your generator and get it serviced, so it can support your home’s power needs. You should also get your wiring, lighting, and electrical fixtures checked and repaired, so the water damage is minimal.