The Edwards Agency

Home & Garden

Prepare for power outages in the wake of severe storms

power outages A major impact of wind and ice storms is power interruptions. When the power goes out, people lose their sources of light, heat, and water. When the power goes out, safety becomes a major concern.

Getting prepared
   Prepare a power outage kit. For short outages, consider having glow light sticks, flashlights, battery-powered radio(s), extra batteries, and a wind-up clock on hand. Make sure you have an alternate heat source and a supply of fuel. Have a corded or battery-powered phone available (cordless phones do not work without power).
   Post the telephone number of the New Construction, Repairs, and Power Outage listing of your local utility. If you own an electric garage door opener, learn how to open it without power.
   Register life-sustaining electrical equipment with your utility. Consider purchasing a small generator or know where to rent one if you use life-sustaining equipment that requires electrical power.
   When installing generators, follow the manufacture's instructions and have it inspected by the utility company and the state electrical inspector.

When the lights go out
   Report power outages to your utility company. Once you report an outage, do not use your telephone or cellular phone. Phone lines are needed for emergency use. Do not call 9-1-1 unless you have an emergency and need response from police, fire or emergency medical personnel.
   If your house is the only one without power, check your fuse box or circuit breaker panel. Turn off large appliances before replacing fuses or resetting circuits. If power is out in the neighborhood, disconnect all electrical heaters and appliances to reduce initial demand and protect the motors from possible low voltage damage.
   If you leave home, stay away from downed transmission lines and report them to your utility company. Turn off or unplug heat producing appliances. Unplug computers and other voltage sensitive equipment to protect them against possible surges (even if you have surge protectors) when the power is restored.
   Conserve water, especially if you are on a well. Keep doors, windows, and draperies closed to retain heat in your home. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. If the door remains closed, a fully loaded freezer can keep foods frozen for two days.
   Be extremely careful of fire hazards from candles or other flammable light sources. When using kerosene heaters, gas lanterns, or stoves inside the house, maintain ventilation to avoid a buildup of toxic fumes.
   Connect lights and appliances directly to a generator, not an existing electrical system. Leave one light switch in the "on" position to alert you when service is restored.
   For more information, call your local emergency management agency.