12 Things to Do During a Power Outage
Prepare now so you don't get stuck in the dark.
Power outages are incredibly common. Surprisingly, power outages are even getting worse in the USA. According to Inside Energy, the annual average of power outages doubles every five years! The reason for this has to do with aging infrastructure, more frequent storms, and problems sustaining the electric grid as populations grow.
Despite how common power outages are, few people are prepared for them and even fewer people know what to do if the power goes out.
Steps to Take Immediately After the Power Goes Out
Step 1: Turn On Your Emergency Lights
Make sure your emergency lights are somewhere accessible in case you have to find them in the dark. Ideally, keep a flashlight in each room of your home.
In general, it is better to use battery-operated lights instead of candles because of the fire risk.
Step 2: See If Your Neighbors Have Power
If your neighbors still have electricity, then the problem is likely inside your home. Start by checking the main fuses or circuit breakers to see if they have blown.
Step 3: Check the Extent of the Problem
If your neighbors also don’t have electricity, you’ll want to see how wide-spread the problem is. You can do this by calling your power supplier. It might take a while to get through to them if a lot of people are trying to call.
You can also try calling friends who live nearby to see if they have power or not.
Step 4: Contact Family Members
During large power outages, stoplights and streetlights can go out too – making it unsafe to drive.
If your family members aren’t at home, get in contact with them. It might be best for them to remain at their current location until it is safer for them to come home.
Note that your family should have a contact plan in place.
Step 5: Unplug Appliances
When the power comes back on, it can cause a huge power spike which may damage electronics.
Hopefully all of your sensitive electronics are on surge protectors.
Even if they are, it is still smart to unplug all of your sensitive (expensive) electronics from the wall so they don’t get damaged when the power comes back on.
Step 6: See if Water is Safe to Drink
When the power goes out, water treatment centers might not work. You could still have clean-looking water coming from the tap, but it might not be safe to drink!
Call your local authorities to see if the water is safe to drink. Or, you can listen to your emergency radio to see if there is a “boil alert” in place.
**If you are unsure whether the water is safe to drink, always play it safe! Treat water before drinking it or use bottled water.
Step 7: Keep Fridge and Freezer Closed
According to Ready.gov, food kept in an unopened refrigerator will stay cold for about 4 hours.
A full freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours. You can learn more about this on their food safety page.
Step 8: Save Your Phone’s Battery
Turn off any power-consuming apps on your phone to save its battery. Do this even if you have a solar charger because you might not always be able to charge it.
Step 9: Stay Cool (Summer Power Outages)
If the power outage occurs during a heat wave and you have health conditions, then you might need to evacuate your home to a cooler location, such as a shopping mall or church.
Step 10: Stay Warm (Winter Power Outages)
If the power outage occurs during winter, now is the time to start using your emergency heating method. A wood stove is my personal favorite off-grid heating method.
Be cautious about using generators, camp stoves, or grills for heating as they can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
You can get some passive solar heating during the daytime by keeping all curtains closed except those on south-facing windows. Close all drapes at night to trap some heat, and line windows and doorways with towels to prevent heat from escaping.
Step 11: Prevent Pipes from Freezing (Winter Power Outages)
Hopefully your pipes are well insulated so they don’t freeze. The easiest way to prevent pipes from freezing during power outages is to let a small stream of water flow through the faucets.
For long-term power outages during extreme weather, you’ll want to drain your hot water heater. You will also need to winterize the drainage system by putting antifreeze into the drain traps below toilets, sinks, washing machines, etc.
12. Stay Sane!
Play games, make shadow puppets, hang out with the neighbors in the dark… You might even enjoy the power outage and the digital detox it gives you!.
How to Prepare your car for Winter and Snow Storms
Prepare now before it is too late
How to Prepare your car for Winter and Snow Storms
We have all been there, its cold and snowing and you are having car problems. Follow these tips to help prepare yourself and your car for a winter storm.
- Start to prepare your car before Thanksgiving. It's easy to do it before it gets cold and snowy. Better too soon than too late.
- Check the tire pressure at least once a month through the winter. As it gets colder outside the air molecules get smaller and tire pressure goes down. Low tire pressure will make your car under preform. You can find the suggested PSI (pounds per square inch) on your tires or on inside the driver’s side door jam.
- Have your battery tested. Nothing is worse than a dead battery when your freezing, not home or late for work. Also make sure you have jumper cables in case you or someone you come across need them.
- Check your windshield for cracks and make sure you have good windshield wipers. The cold can make your windshield crack and obstruct your vision. Bad wipers can cause all sorts of problems and are an easy fix.
- Inspect your headlights and brake lights. If it’s storming or dark your car can become very hard to see and cause an accident.
- Make sure you have warm clothes, proper winter shoes, and a blanket in your car in case you get stuck in traffic or your car breaks down. This could save your life
- Lastly ALWAYS make sure you have a couple water bottles in your car somewhere. No matter the time of year this could save your life or someone else's.
Follow these tips and you will be prepared for those winter storms that are bound to hit.
Prepare Your home for Winter Storms Before it too Late
Prepare for Winter Storms Now
It's that time of the year again; time to prepare ourselves and homes for the brutal cold of winter storms. It is not something anyone looks forward to but it is best to be prepared.
Follow these tips recommended by www.ready.gov/winter-weather to prepare yourself and your home for winter.
Before Snowstorms and Extreme Cold
- Make a family communication plan. Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to know how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in case of an emergency.
- Make an emergency kit for at least three days of self-sufficiency.
- Keep space heater safety in mind: Use electric space heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements. Remember to keep all heat sources at least three feet away from furniture and drapes.
Prepare You Home
- Make sure your home is well insulated and that you have weather stripping around your doors and window sills to keep the warm air inside.
- Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
- Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
- Insulate your home by installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic from the inside to keep cold air out.
- If you have a wood burning fireplace, consider storing wood to keep you warm if winter weather knocks out your heat. Also, make sure you have your chimney cleaned and inspected every year.
- Have at least one of the following heat sources in case the power goes out:
- Extra blankets, sleeping bags and warm winter coats
- Fireplace or wood-burning stove with plenty of dry firewood, or a gas log fireplace
- Make sure you have a cell phone with an emergency charging option (car, solar, hand crank, etc.) in case of a power failure.
- Plan to bring pets inside.
- Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it in case you lose power.
Follow these recommended tips and you will be prepared for those cold winters’ days.
What to Do After a Hurricane Strikes
When a disaster hits SERVPRO is there.
Recently the many areas have been hit by severe hurricanes and many homes and businesses have devastating damage. If you have been a victim follow these 5 must do's provided by "Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford.
1- Photograph and Document Damage: Document the damage thoroughly with photos, as it will make the insurance claims process much easier. In addition to photos, keep a running list of all damaged items.
2-Conduct Emergency Repairs: Do only what's necessary to prevent further damage after a storm, such as covering broken windows with plastic or roofs with tarps to keep rain out. Don’t make or commission permanent repairs until an insurance adjuster reviews the damage. While it may be tempting to start cleaning up and throwing out damaged items after the storm, your insurance adjuster needs to see what happened firsthand to make you the best offer to settle your claim.
3- Secure Home Inventory: All home insurance policyholders should compile a home inventory of their possessions before a storm strikes, and keep it in a safe place. A home inventory is a list that documents the contents of your home. It should include photos, detailed descriptions, and purchase receipts when possible. Having a home inventory will make the claims process much easier. If you don’t currently keep a home inventory, start one as soon as possible. 4- File a Claim ASAP: Insurance companies sometimes work on a first-come, first-served basis; so it's in your best interest to file an insurance claim as soon as possible. When you contact your provider, let them know the extent of the damages and that you have an inventory of your possessions. An insurance adjuster will come to your property, assess the damage, and determine the size of your payout. 5- Secure Safe Lodging: If you home is uninhabitable, you’ll need to find your family a safe place to stay while your home is being repaired. The loss of use coverage in a standard homeowner insurance policy typically helps pay for your family's lodging as long as the damage is part of a covered claim. Check your policy or ask your agent to make sure you have this coverage and to determine its monetary value and time limits.
Suffering damage or loss from a hurricane can be devastating, and recovery takes time. If you are prepared and plan in advance, repairing the damage will go much smoother.
Remember to be patient during the claims process. With the proper preparation, things will be back to normal soon.