Experiencing a power outage can be stressful, but being prepared and knowing what steps to take can help you navigate through it easily. This blog will provide you with a checklist of things to do when the power goes out, specifically in Texas.
From confirming the outage to staying safe and preparing in advance, let’s explore how you can handle a power outage effectively.
Checklist of Things to Do When Power Goes Out:
Confirm the power outage
The first step is to confirm the outage when the power goes out. You can do this by checking your main electric panel for tripped breakers. If you find any, disconnect devices on that circuit before resetting the breaker.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to contact your neighbors to determine if they are also experiencing a power outage. This will give you a better understanding of the extent of the outage.
Contact your utility company
Once you’ve confirmed the power outage, the next step is to report it to your local utility company. In Texas, you can find the contact information for your utility company and notify them about the outage. They will be able to provide you with updates and an estimated time for power restoration.
Turn off or unplug your appliances
To protect your appliances from power surges and prevent safety hazards, turn off or unplug them. This includes sensitive equipment such as TVs, computers, and tablets. Remember to turn off appliances like stoves and irons to avoid accidents when the power is restored.
Close refrigerator and freezer
Preserving perishable food is crucial during a power outage. Keep the doors of your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible to retain the cool air. Refrigerated food is only safe for up to 4 hours after a power outage.
For longer outages, use coolers with ice to keep perishable items below 40°F. Be aware of thawing times for frozen items, which vary based on the capacity of your freezer.
In the absence of power, it’s essential to have a reliable source of light. Flashlights are a safer alternative to candles, which can pose fire hazards. Ensure you have extra flashlights with batteries and know where they’re located.
Battery-operated lights, lanterns, or light bulbs with built-in batteries are also excellent options to consider. Keep a ready supply of extra batteries for extended use.
Keep your family members safe
During a power outage, prioritizing your family’s safety and comfort is crucial. Ensure the safety and comfort of your family during a power outage by gathering them in a room.
Dress appropriately for the temperature, stay hydrated, handle food carefully, and pay extra attention to the needs of infants, toddlers, older individuals, and those with medical conditions.
Practice Generator Safety
If you have a generator, it can be a valuable resource during a power outage. However, it’s important to follow safety measures.
When using combustion-powered generators, never operate them indoors or in closed spaces to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Connect portable generators directly to devices, not the home electrical system.
Allow the generator to cool before refueling and keep it in a dry place. Follow guidelines for solar-powered units to protect the battery. Safety is paramount when using any type of generator.
Stay in communication during a power outage
Communication is vital during a power outage. To stay connected and informed:
- Conserve your cell phone battery and use it sparingly.
- Utilize walkie-talkies to communicate with family members and neighbors.
- Have a battery-operated or wind-up radio to receive news and updates.
How Can I Prepare for a Power Outage?
Being prepared beforehand can make a significant difference during a power outage. Consider the following steps:
- Have extra flashlights with batteries, and ensure you know their locations.
- Assemble an emergency kit containing essentials like flashlights, a battery-operated radio, extra batteries, matches/candles, bottled drinking water, non-perishable foods, charged backup chargers for cell phones, medical supplies, blankets, and appropriate clothing.
- Consider purchasing a backup standby generator or a portable generator.
- Establish connections and relationships within your Texas neighborhood for better cooperation during power outages.
- Create a paper list of emergency, family, and work contacts for easy access.
- Subscribe to your utility company’s and local government’s text alert services to receive timely updates.
- Maintain your vehicle’s gas tank above half-full, as gas station pumps won’t work during power outages.
In the face of a power outage, knowledge and preparedness are key. Experiencing a power outage in Texas can be challenging, but by following a checklist of steps and preparing in advance, you can navigate through it more smoothly. Stay prepared, informed, and empowered when the lights go out.
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