What to Do During a Power Outage

October 8th, 2010 by

During a power outage, you can help speed up the restoration of power and also increase your safety by having an action plan in place. Knowing what to do beforehand can help you cope when the power goes out in your apartment.

Have an Outage Kit

Putting a few items in a small shoe box and storing it in an easily accessible location will help you spring into action during a power outage. In this kit, you should have at least two flashlights or battery-operated lanterns. You’ll only need one, but you’ll want another one on hand if you run out of batteries. Twice a year, check to see if the batteries need to be replaced and keep a change of batteries in your kit.

Also in this kit should be some bottled water so you won’t have to open your fridge during the outage and in case you can’t run your water. You can also include some non-perishable snacks so you’ll have them in easy reach and won’t have to rummage through your cupboards. Another item should be a memo with two phone numbers: your landlord’s and your local power company’s. Other items in your kit should be a battery-operated fan during the warmer months and a blanket/pocket warmer during colder months. When there’s an outage, first grab your kit.

Turn Off Appliances

Give the power outage about a minute and if it looks to be more than an intermittent loss of power, go around and turn off any appliances that you were using before the power went out. If the power turned on when these items were still on, they could have a sudden surge and cause a small shock. However, do not unplug any appliances. You don’t want to have your hand on a cord when the power suddenly surges and returns.

Make Some Calls

Once you’ve turned off your appliances, first call your landlord to see if the power outage is a problem that’s exclusive to your apartment or apartment complex. If so, your landlord should be working to fix the problem. If not, or if you can’t reach your landlord, call your local power company to report the outage. Even if someone else has already reported the outage, you may be able to get news about what’s causing the problem and learn how long you have to expect to wait before it’s fixed.

Get Comfortable and Wait

Depending on the weather outside, you’ll want to make sure you keep yourself warm or cool (the opposite of the temperature outside). To keep yourself cool, use battery-powered fans and wear light, breathable clothing. To keep yourself warm, put on extra layers of clothing, cover yourself with a blanket and/or use a pocket warmer. While waiting for the power to return, avoid opening your fridge or using the water. (The food in your fridge will need to retain as much cold air as possible and the water may not be properly filtered due to the outage.) If the wait gets excessive, you may have to stay with a friend and/or go out to purchase more bottled water. If the outage lasts more than two hours, you may have to through out the food in your fridge and freezer.

It doesn’t take long to prepare for a potential power outage in your apartment and you’ll find it much easier to have everything you need on hand instead of scurrying around in the dark when it’s too late to plan ahead. You only have to prepare once, so take the time now and you won’t have to worry about what to do when it happens.

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