Blackouts and brownouts are inconvenient. Brownouts happen when a grid is not able to supply enough electricity. Homes will not receive the usual amount of voltage, and you’ll notice dimming or flickering lights and malfunctioning appliances. Natural disasters can cause a power failure, or there might be a service interruption due to scheduled maintenance or a downed line. To prepare for a power outage, it’s important to stock up on a few emergency supplies.
1. Get a Surge Protector to Prepare for a Power Outage
It is a good idea to protect your electronics with surge protectors. Surge protectors handle and disperse fluctuations in power. When the electricity is turned back on, it can send an immediate burst through the power grid. If your electronics are not properly protected, they could get damaged by the jolt. Do not use a surge protector on the refrigerator, any cooking appliances, or portable heaters.
2. Flashlights and a Radio
To prepare for a power outage, stock up on flashlights, lanterns, and batteries. Put one in the kitchen, garage, and in each bedroom. Flashlights are safer alternatives to candles. Because you do not know how long the power will be out, you may accidentally fall asleep with a candle burning, which could lead to a house fire.
Purchase a battery-operated portable radio. This basic device could be your lifeline to the outside world during a power outage. Check the batteries twice a year. An easy way to remember to do this is to check them when you change your clocks for daylight savings.
3. Keep the Refrigerator Closed
Try not to open the refrigerator when the power is out. With the fridge door kept shut, the food can stay safe for up to 4 hours. If you have been opening and closing the refrigerator, the food will spoil more quickly. Prepare for a power outage by stocking up on crackers, snack bars, and non-perishable food. Set these aside along with some bottled water.
4. Backup Generator
A backup generator is convenient to have, but there are safety precautions users of portable models should follow because the machines exhaust carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas. These generators should only operate outside, and they need to be set up far away from the house and any open windows. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for grounding, fueling, and what is acceptable to run off of it.
Consider investing in a permanent generator to prepare for a power outage if you live in an area that experiences frequent blackouts. These devices sense when the power fails and will turn on automatically. The occupants may not even notice a flicker when the system switches over.
5. Turn Off the Lights
If your grid goes down, go through each room and turn out lights and lamps. Leave one on in the room you are in so that you know when the electricity is restored. Turning switches off prevents a surge of power from overloading the panel. If you were cooking on the stovetop or in the oven, be sure to turn it off.
6. Prepare for a Power Outage by Making a Backup List
Purchase a rechargeable, portable charger for your mobile devices. In case the power is out for a long period of time, keep telephone numbers and other pertinent information written down and stored in a safe place.