How to Handle a Power Outage
Power outages are an unfortunate reality here in Alberta. Extreme weather conditions can cause an outage in any season. While some are short and sweet, others can last for hours, if not days.
Our modern lives depend on electricity for many things, from food storage to heating. An interruption in electrical service can be incredibly disruptive. It is important to know how to properly take care of yourself and your family in the instance of a power outage.
Preparing Yourself In Case of Outage
There are steps you can take long before you find yourself in this type of emergency situation. Being prepared will help the experience go smoothly as possible. Consider how an outage may affect your mobility, your ability to get food, your light sources, and your safety.
- Pack an emergency kit.
- Stay tuned in to the weather. Outages are often caused by weather, the radio could give you a much needed heads-up.
- Invest in a generator. If doing this, make sure to talk to an electrician to ensure that the generator is rated for the necessary power.
- Check that your carbon monoxide detectors are working and have a battery-power backup.
- Keep flashlights in easily accessible areas.
- Plan your evacuation route. Ensure that disabilities or mobility issues are taken into consideration when mapping this out.
- Write out a list of medical conditions and treatment to keep in an accessible place.
What To Do During an Outage
The first action you should take during an outage is to find out if it is limited to your home. Check in with your neighbours to find out whether or not they have been affected. If your home is the only one with an outage, check your circuit breaker or fuse box. If that doesn’t appear to be the problem, contact your hydro company. Once this is done, make sure to turn off all tools, appliances, and electronic equipment. This will prevent damage from a power surge when the electricity comes back on. Do not open your freezer or fridge unless absolutely necessary. Do not use charcoal or gas barbeques inside, as these appliances give off carbon monoxide.
Precautionary Steps After an Outage
Once the power comes back on, check around for any damage or flooding. Do not enter a flooded basement or use flooded appliances. Switch on the main electric switch, but give it ten to fifteen minutes to stabilize before reconnecting tools and appliances. Check food in freezer and fridge for spoilage. Then finally, replenish your emergency kit.
Don’t be caught unawares next time the power goes out. A little bit of preparation and knowledge will help keep you safe throughout the entire ordeal.