Do you know what happens when the power goes out in the retail stores where you live? I decided to check out a few gas stations located within a mile or two from my home to see what they do when the power goes out. I wanted to ask two different facilities to get a feel for what they would do in a power outage. One clerk who looked to be about 25-30 years old, basically said to me “I don’t know what we would do if we lost power”. He did say the gas pumps would not work, but he had no formal training as to what to do in this situation. I then asked if they had a backup generator, and he responded that no they do not. I then asked, well, could people still buy stuff inside the store without power, since obviously, the cash registers would not work without electricity. He said, no. I was shocked, to say the least, that he had zero training for a power outage.
I then headed to another gas station and asked what is the protocol if you lose power? This gas station had a woman and a man standing there as clerks and they instantly blurted out what they were trained to do. “We lock the doors and no one is allowed inside the store until the power resumes”. The pumps will not work, but the water outside can be used to drink, fill water containers or radiators. We cannot accept cash, debit cards or credit cards for any food items inside the store and gas cannot be purchased.
This is exactly why I always recommend keeping our gas tanks at least half full. If we need to evacuate our homes, our cars must be serviced well and filled with gas. I do not want to be caught off guard with an empty gas tank.
When The Power Goes out:
Okay, then I called my favorite grocery store here in Southern Utah to see what they are trained to do when the power goes out. I was told I need to talk to the store director. I asked when I could talk to him, he said, “be here tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.”. I drove the next morning to meet with the store director, he was awesome!! These are the things I asked him along with the answers:
- What do you do if the power goes out? We will keep the doors open until the generators go out.
- So you do have generators? Yes, they will work for about two hours, after that we will order a system that will be delivered by truck from Salt Lake City, Utah that will increase the power for an extended period of time. Until it arrives they will have to be closed.
- How long can you keep the food cold? The generators only keep the store lights on, the registers running and the entry doors working. Coolers and freezers take too much power to be kept running by the generators.
- Their staff has been trained what to do immediately after any power outage. The will move the cold dairy and meat products to a larger cooler refrigerator in the back of the store that will keep the food colder for a while. They will open that cooler door as little as possible to keep the cold inside to protect the food from going bad. If someone wants a ham, the staff will walk back and get them a ham, for instance, in the larger cooler.
- Will you lock the doors? They will not lock the doors until all power sources are exhausted.
- Will solar support your freezers or cold storage areas? No, they will not.
- Can you still sell things without electricity? Yes, they have the ability to take debit and credit cards for up to 4000 transactions.
We hear about stores running out of food and other necessities very quickly once people realize they may be without necessary items for an extended period. Most of us don’t think about what happens to the items in the store that need to be kept cool / frozen or they begin to spoil. Even the perishable items in the produce department won’t last very long without periodic sprays and cooler temperatures.When I think of having a power outage in my Southern Utah area I get very concerned. Two weeks ago the average daily temperature was between 105 and 108 degrees. Whether the store or your home is out of power, particularly in very hot and/or humid areas, food in your fridge or freezer isn’t going to last very long. Be sure to try and keep these appliances closed as long as possible. If you do have to open them, have a plan in mind regarding what will be removed so you don’t have the appliance doors open for an extended period.
Take some time this week to evaluate your personal situation as a family. What is your plan if the power goes out? Having water is critical so you don’t get overheated or dehydrated. Have as much water as possible stored on site so it is readily available. Have alternative ways to cook other than your electric or gas stove.
Let’s all plan ahead and be ready for the unexpected, including the loss of power. Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected. May God bless you and your family.