Has Your Home Lost Power? Follow These 10 Simple Blackout Tips to Survive
Hurricane Sandy left an estimated 8.5 million people without power, some for more than two weeks.
Blackouts can happen anytime, anywhere. Tree branches, storms, high winds and loss of transmission lines can cause blackouts.
Do you know how to survive a blackout? Read on for 10 blackout tips you need to know.
1. Unplug Your Appliances
Since you can never predict how long you'll be in a blackout, the first thing you should do is unplug your appliances and electrical devices.
This means everything from your TV and computers to stove and microwave. Go around the house and unplug each item. There's no special order to do this in.
Or you can shut down the main circuit breaker in your control panel. That way you don't have to unplug each item one at a time.
The reason you should cut power to your appliances is to prevent damage to them if there's a power surge. When the utility company comes to get the power back, there could be a powerful surge that may damage or blow your electrical devices.
By unplugging them, you protect your expensive electrical items. Just look outside at the street lights to check to see if the power is on. Or leave one light on.
When you get power back, consider investing in whole home surge protection.
2. Write Important Details on Paper
Do you have your family's phone numbers and addresses memorized? Chances are you don't.
One of the best blackout tips is to conserve your battery power on your cell phone for use in an emergency.
Before you power it off. write down the phone numbers and addresses you might need.
Even jot down the number of the nearby hospital, shelter and local library. These public places might have power sooner and can be a place to contact your loved ones.
Then, switch your phone off. Or at least to a power-saving mode such as economy or airplane mode.
3. Fill up the Bathtub
One of the most important blackout supplies you'll need is water. In a blackout, it's possible that the municipal water will soon stop flowing.
Fill up the bathtubs in your home as well as a few buckets. This way you have a reserve of water to use to flush the toilet, get clean and drink.
4. Beware of Carbon Monoxide
A big part of how to survive a blackout is to avoid carbon monoxide. Don't ever use a generator, cook with a gas stove or use a grill inside the house.
These all produce carbon monoxide which is an odorless gas that can kill. Test your carbon monoxide detector to make sure it's working.
Replace the batteries if you have to.
5. Keep the Freezer Closed
One of the best tips for how to survive a blackout is to keep your freezer closed. Even without power, most freezers will keep items frozen for a couple of days. And your freezer will keep food cold for a few more days.
During a blackout, it's great if you have food in the freezer in case you run out of food in the fridge.
Also, many home insurance policies cover spoiled food due to power outages. So don't worry too much about the cost of the loss of spoilt food.
Tape a big "Do Not Open" sign on the freezer to remind everyone not to open it.
6. Use a Gas Stove to Cook Perishable Foods
If you have a gas stove, you're in luck. You can continue to cook on it to feed your family in a blackout.
But you'll need to use a match to light the stove because the ignition probably won't work.
If you have a gas grill or propane BBQ, you could use those to cook as well. Just make sure to use both in the garage with the door open or outside.
Start by eating the items in your fridge, then work on to your pantry goods.
7. Bring Solar Lights Inside
Walking around in the dark is dangerous. And you want to spare your flashlight batteries as much as you can.
One of the best things to do in a blackout is to bring your solar lights indoors at night. They can light up the washroom, stairs, and hallways.
And unlike candles, they won't burn your house down. Make sure to put them back out during the day to power up.
8. Bring Your Power Strip
If your blackout continues for a few days, you may find a local shelter or library that has power. When you go there, bring a power strip.
That way you can charge multiple devices at once. You may also share it with others who need to charge their device on the few outlets available.
9. Prevent Frozen Pipes
If you are in a blackout in colder months, you want to prevent your pipes from bursting.
Learn how to prevent your pipes from freezing.
10. Check on Your Neighbors
During a blackout, it's a good idea to check on elderly neighbors. They might need help.
After you've connected with your friends and family to let them know you are safe, come up with a system to contact each other later.
If you plan to move to a shelter until the power returns, let your neighbors know where you are going.
Stay Safe with These Blackout Tips
We hope these 10 blackout tips help you learn how to deal with a blackout in your area.
At Rockwell Electric, we've been serving customers in Texas for 24 years. Fill out our service request form to schedule a visit.