While our family and neighbors continue to recover from the devastating effects of Irma, we look ahead to the future of our homes and households. With thousands of Floridians still without power, now is a good time to discuss the importance of being prepared for a power outage. Being without electricity for a few hours is an inconvenience, but living without it for even a few days can have devastating effects on a household. Communication, food, and safety are just a few of the essentials that are compromised. We’ve compiled a list of important procedures outlined by Ready.gov and a few other emergency sites. Print out this list and take a proactive approach to power outage safety.
- Create an emergency preparedness kit and keep it maintained. A typical kit contains a flashlight, batteries, cash, food, and first aid supplies.
- Create an emergency number contact list that is easily accessible. It should contain numbers for the power company, fire department, hospital, and other emergency entities.
- Buy a weather radio, which will help keep up-to-date on the conditions if the blackout is weather-related. A battery or hand-cranked model is the most reliable way to stay on top of information.
- Make sure that you have alternative methods for charging your smartphone or other smart devices. Purchase extra chargers and batteries.
- Make sure that smartphones and smart devices all have a full charge.
- Store all your important information on a flash drive to ensure you have access to insurance and other pertinent documents.
- Find out where the manual release lever is for your electric garage door opener – and how to use it properly.
- Collect extra bags of ice or freeze containers of water to keep refrigerated perishables from spoiling during a temporary outage.
- Keep your car’s gas tank full (gas stations require power to pump gas).
- If you use your car to recharge devices, do not keep it running in an enclosed space like a garage. A running car can quickly lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if kept enclosed.
- Research the emergency plans that are established in your area by visiting your state’s emergency management site. The nearest shelters and safe evacuation routes should be listed.
- If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or needs the power to run (such as a medical device), you need to determine a backup plan.
- During a blackout, only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. An unopened refrigerator will stay cold for about 4 hours while a freezer can keep the same temperature for about 48 hours.
- Come up with low-tech activities for the household, especially if you have kids. Books, puzzles, and board games don’t need electricity to run.
- Disconnect all appliances and other electrical equipment in case of a sudden power surge. If you haven’t already, consider adding surge protectors.
- If you are considering getting a backup generator for your home, make sure you consult an electrician or reputable home services company for guidance.
- Backup generators should be at least 20 feet away from your home. Never run one inside a home or garage as carbon monoxide poisoning is a real danger.
More Tips on Preparing for a Power Outage
If you ever need professional guidance regarding your electrical system or additional tips for dealing with a power outage, contact the professionals at Home Service Heroes. Call (813) 696-3398 to schedule an appointment today!