What To Do If You Should Lose Power

By now we are all feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy in the Eastern third of the Nation.  This may go in the record books as one of the largest storms, in terms of geography (not necessarily intensity) ever.

Here is a list of helpful tips to perform should you find yourself in a position where your electric power is off.

When a severe weather watch is issued:

  • Fill vehicles with fuel as pumps will not work.  And if there are widespread power outages, who knows how long the electricity may be off?
  • Get extra cash.  Again, ATM’s may not be working from the power being out.
  • Fill medical prescriptions.
  • Get flashlights and extra batteries
  • Have a battery operated transistor radio on hand

Prior to and during the weather event:

  • Stay at home! Leave the roads available for those who must evacuate.
  • Fill your bathtub with water for washing/bathing and flushing the toilet (not for drinking).
  • Set your refrigerator and freezer to maximum cold and keep the door closed.
  • Take ziplock bags (or any other plastic container on hand) and fill with drinking water, then place in your freezer.  If you use a plastic container, don’t fill it up the whole way so as to leave room for expansion when the water freezes.  With ziplock bags, youhave greater flexibility to stuff them in every bit of available space in your freezer.  If (or when) the power goes out, take some of them out and place in your refrigerator to help keep it cool.  As they thaw, they can be used for drinking.
  • Be sure that your cell phone is fully charged; prior to the onset of a major weather event it would be good to turn off non-essential functions and apps; also turn down the brightness of the screen to help conserve energy should you not readily be able to recharge the unit for an extended pefporiod of time.
  • Turn off utilities if told to do so by local officials.

After a major weather event (and your power is still off):

  • Help might not come for up to a few days, and power could be out for days or even weeks.
  • Avoid driving on roads covered by water and/or debris. It is often difficult to determine the depth of water covering a road. Turn around, don’t drown.
  • Avoid downed power lines. Stay away from objects that are touching a downed power line, such as a fence or tree. If the power line to your home becomes detached from your home, call the power company and then call our electrical service department.
  • Do not touch anything electrical if you are wet. Stay out of water that could be touching anything electrical, such as in a basement with electrical appliances, or in flooded areas outside where there could be downed power lines.
  • If you have a generator, only use it in an outdoor, well-ventilated area, and closely follow manufacturer’s instructions. Many people have died in the aftermath of a storm from inhalation of poorly ventilated carbon monoxide from a generator.
  • Use flashlights instead of candles for light. Candles pose a serious fire hazard.