THE POWER IS OUT. NOW WHAT?
Power outages. They are one of the biggest frustrations of this fast-paced technological era. We are dependent upon electricity for almost every aspect of our daily lives and when its flow is unexpectedly interrupted, most of us are less than happy about it. A little planning and preparation can help alleviate the disruptions caused by a power outage. Try these practical steps to keep you and your loved ones safe and your life moving should one occur:
MAKE A POWER OUTAGE PLAN
It’s easiest to handle the unexpected when you already have a plan in place. Make a plan, including rules and expectations, and familiarize your family with it.
Meeting Place: determine a meeting place for the family where emergency supplies are located. A meeting place will help ensure everyone is safe and accounted for.
Delegate Responsibilities: whether it’s simply you carrying out the steps, or if everyone else in the family has a job, such as each child grabbing their own flashlight, etc, be sure to go over the plan and each person’s part, in advance.
Create a list of emergency supplies and keep them in a designated space.
Consider having a generator on hand for items of necessity such as your refrigerator or any medical equipment requiring power.
ASSESS THE SITUATION
Know your surroundings. It’s important to be aware of any details you’ll need to keep you and your family safe, as well as report to the utility in the case of an outage. Can you see the actual problem? Are there any obvious dangers to avoid?
Note any downed power lines. Be sure to stay away from, and keep children and pets away from fallen lines and anything the lines may touch.
Never remove debris that’s within 10 feet of a power line.
REPORT THE OUTAGE
Your utility is responsible for keeping the electricity flowing to your home. When you find yourself without power, once you assess the situation, you should notify your utility. It is always a good idea to keep the phone number to your utility handy, preferably with your emergency supplies and in your wallet or purse, in case you find out there is an outage at your home, but you are not there, or you are home, but your purse or wallet is not available. You can typically report an outage either via telephone or on your utility’s website.
Be sure to let the utility know the assessment of your situation including downed lines.
It is important to notify the utility if you are using a generator in order to protect you, your family, and the line workers as they work to restore power.
Follow any instructions provided by your utility until the power has been restored.
HELP YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR BELONGINGS STAY SAFE
Have flashlights on hand and check their batteries periodically.
Keep a battery or fuel powered portable heater available for winter emergencies, and a battery powered fan on hand for outages during extreme heat.
Only operate lanterns, heaters, and fuel-fired stoves with proper ventilation.
Refuel heaters, lamps, and generators outside, and wipe up spills immediately. Stay away from flames or sparks.
Never burn charcoal indoors. It releases poisonous carbon monoxide.
Do not let children carry candles or oil lamps.
Have battery powered cellphone and device chargers available if a land line cannot be utilized.
Unplug major appliances to protect them when the power comes back on.
Leave a light turned on so you know when power is restored.
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WHAT ABOUT MY KIDS?
Have patience and plan for some fun. Unfortunately, power outages happen and your utility line workers will work diligently to get the flow of electricity back to your home as quickly as possible. You can make this less scary or frustrating for children by having a few activities planned out, such as games or story-telling by flashlight, having some non-perishable snacks or foods and bottled water on hand, and simply reassuring them the situation is only temporary.
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