Immediate Steps to Take When Your Power Goes Out

Power outages are a fact of life. Some of us are fortunate enough to only experience a few of them through the years.

Others have them more frequently. Due to extreme weather in their area of the country or issues with local electrical substations.

But we all have to deal with a blackout at one time or another. The key is to be ready for an outage.

Knowing what to do when one occurs saves time and reduces stress. And in some cases it could speed up the process of power restoration. Here are actions You can take next time the power goes out in your home.

First things first

The first thing to do is check your circuit breakers. They should all be “on.” If one is “off,” that means that particular breaker was tripped. Turn it back to “on.”

If all of your breakers are “on,” turn off the main breaker and then turn it back “on.”

If the power is still out, check in with some of your neighbors to see if they lost power as well.

If their power is out, call your electric company to report the outage. They will probably already be aware of it, but it doesn’t hurt to call. This is another reason to keep your cellphone charged.

Dress the part

When your power goes out, it is probably going to either get warmer or cooler in your home, depending on the season.

If it becomes warmer, shorts and a t-shirt will keep you cooler. You don’t want to lose fluids from your body through perspiration.

If it becomes cooler, wear layers of clothing. No sense in allowing heat to escape from your body unnecessarily.

Being physically comfortable will also help you deal with the stress that occurs when you can’t turn on lights and run appliances.

Preserve your food

Chances are you have food in your freezer and refrigerator that you don’t want to lose.

Avoid opening and closing those doors. Unless it’s to retrieve and eat perishable food. The more often those doors are opened, the more warm air will enter.

Hopefully you’ll be able to enjoy two or three meals from your refrigerator before anything starts to go bad.

But this is also a good reminder to have plenty of nutritious, non-perishable food in your pantry.

Run your water right away

We should all have clean drinking water available in bottles or other containers in a cool, dark area of our homes. Such as the basement.

If not, fill your bathtub and other containers with tap water as quickly as possible following an outage. Depending on how long the outage lasts, you may end up needing it.

Sometimes the same event that knocks out electrical power will eventually cause water contamination issues.

That’s why it’s important to run water from your taps as quickly as possible after an outage occurs.

Avoid power surges

At some point, your power will probably be restored without any warning. In order to avoid power surges, unplug some of your appliances.

This will include your microwave oven and other appliances that use a significant amount of electricity.

However, do not unplug your refrigerator. You’re going to want to keep everything in it as fresh as possible for as long as possible.

Some other electronic devices should be unplugged as well. Including desktop computers and laptops.            

Home emergency kit

Part of being prepared for a power outage is having a fully-stocked emergency kit ready at home for you and your family.

Here are some of the items you’ll want to include in a home emergency kit:

  • Non-perishable food that can be prepared quickly
  • Clean drinking water
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Battery-operated or hand-crank radio
  • First-aid kit and instructions
  • Portable charger
  • Manual can opener
  • Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper for water purification
  • Up-to-date medications for you, your family and your pets
  • Cash in small denominations
  • Contact lists with phone numbers
  • Dust masks
  • Special needs items for children, seniors and those with disabilities
  • Doctor and veterinarian information, including medical insurance
  • Life insurance information
  • Homeowners and car insurance information

It’s pretty much inevitable that you will experience a power outage before too long. Being prepared for it will help you deal with it.

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