Storm Season is Approaching: Tips for Dealing with a Power Outage
Although it may be somewhat unusual for us in Maryland to have to deal with the effects of a hurricane, it can and certainly does happen. But regardless of whether Mother Nature deals us a thunderstorm or hurricane, it’s important to be ready and know what to do before and after a power outage, especially during storm season.
Here are a few helpful tips and reminders:
Before the storm:
- Check flashlights and portable radios to ensure that they are working.
- A radio is an important source of weather and emergency information during a storm.
- Flashlights are safest for lighting, unlike candles which can be a fire hazard.
- Fully charge your cell phone, laptop, and any other devices before the storm.
- Ensure that you have extra batteries as part of your family’s emergency kit.
- If you own a car, purchase a car phone charger so that you can charge your phone if you lose power at your home.
- Consider purchasing a generator to provide power during an outage. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines when using a generator.
- Always use outdoors, away from windows and doors. Carbon Monoxide fumes are odorless and can quickly accumulate indoors.
- Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator directly into household wiring, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is extremely dangerous and presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices.
- Consider the benefits of a wholehouse generator; they will turn automatically even if you are not home.
- Don’t get overheated. If the power goes out when it is hot outside, stay in the lowest level of your home where it will be coolest, put on light-weight, light-colored clothing, and drink lots of water. Remember to give your pets and/or service animals fresh, cool water; and if you need it, see if your community has “cooling centers” or shelters open.
- Do not call 9-1-1 to report your power outage or to ask for information; use 9-1-1 only for emergencies. Contact your utility company to report the outage and get restoration information.
- Check in on friends, family, and neighbors, particularly those most susceptible to extreme temperatures and power outages such as seniors and those with access and functional needs.
After the storm:
- In order to protect against possible voltage irregularities that can occur when power is restored, you should unplug all sensitive electronic equipment, including TVs, stereos, microwave ovens, computers, cordless telephones, answering machines and garage door openers.
- Leave one light on so that you will know when your power returns.
- Be extra cautious if you go outside to inspect for damage after a storm. Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by trees or debris. Never attempt to touch or moved downed lines. Keep children and pets away from them.
- Call your utility company to report any outage-related problem such as downed wires.
- Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40° F (4° C) for two or more hours or if it has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
The best way to be prepared… have a safety inspection conducted by the professionals at Mister Sparky. They can help ensure you are ready to handle whatever comes your way. Make an appointment now and remember, you can SAVE $50 on any electric repair.