Things can get scary when you lose power at home but it’s important to know what to do to protect yourself and your loved ones. You have to be careful because a lot of things people do during a power outage that they think are helping the situation are really quite dangerous.
We want to help keep you safe when things look dangerous, so we’re sharing our list of tips on what not do to when you lose power.
1. Light candles.
During a power outage, especially at night, your first reaction might be to light some candles. You might have even saved some for this very incident. However, candles can easily tip over, causing more problems than you already had. It’s better to use electric lanterns which can often generate more light than a single candle.
2. Let your phone die.
With your television and computer currently out of commission (even if you use a laptop, it will probably run out of power soon), playing on your phone might seem all the more tempting, but it’s important to keep your phone running as long as possible in case of an emergency.
3. Ignore your electronics.
If you have the benefit of hindsight and somehow learn that a power outage is going to hit your area, you should unplug your electronic devices before a power outage can even start. An electrical surge could risk damaging your devices. That said, you should at least keep one lamp plugged in since it will let you know when the power comes back on.
4. Open the fridge.
Without power, at most, your refrigerator can only keep food safe and cool for around 4 hours. And that’s only if you don’t open the door which can release cold air and help the food to spoil faster. Until this point, it’s important to keep the food enclosed in the fridge for as long as possible, so avoid the temptation of checking in on it.
5. Empty out your freezer.
While you might be tempted to empty out your freezer since there is no power keeping the food cold, don’t forget that the frozen food can also serve as an insulator, keeping the other foods cold for as long as possible. A full freezer can last much longer than one that is only halfway-filled.
6. Ignore the traffic rules.
Not everyone has the luxury of being at home when the power goes out. While businesses and similar public areas around you might already have a generator to keep the power going, that’s not always the case. For example, if you’re in your car and the traffic lights are not working, it’s best to treat it like a stop sign and wait for the people who were there before you to go first.
7. Keep a working generator indoors or unsheltered.
Some people like to think ahead and have a generator on hand in case of a loss of power. But it’s important to know how to use them. For starters, generators release carbon monoxide, so they should be kept in the open air away from the house. You should also keep it in a large enough shelter to protect it from rain or snow. On a related note, it’s also very dangerous to hook up a portable generator to your home’s main panel or dryer outlet as this can create a high voltage of power and even fatal shocks.
8. Waste water.
Fresh, clean drinking water is one of the most important things you’ll need during a power outage. On average, each person in a household should have access to a gallon of clean water, also keeping enough water for pets. If possible, upon hearing about an upcoming power outage, you should stock up on water bottles or prepare clean water for yourself.
9. Trust old flashlights.
Be careful when using old flashlights you find around the house. Aside from the obvious issue of them being low on power, older flashlights could risk leaking acid which can become dangerous around the house. It’s better to have rechargeable flashlights on hand instead of placing all your trust in older models.
10. Go to the closest gas station.
When a power outage lasts for a while, such as days on end, you may be tempted to drive off in your car and find more comfortable places, especially if the outage occurs during a hot summer or a freezing winter. However, this is something nearly everyone thinks of, not to mention the fact that people may already be on the road for other reasons. Because of this, gas stations are probably already dealing with an excess amount of customers and you could risk using up gas only to learn the closest station isn’t taking any more patrons. Your first bet should be a distant gas station, one that likely isn’t being impacted by the power outage.
How do you keep safe during a power outage? Please share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments!