Power Outage: What to do Next

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While you might have had the power go out on you a number of times in the past, were you fully prepared and knew what to do during the situation?

Not taking the proper precautions and actions before and during a power outage can have some costly results. Not only your home and appliances could be affected, but on your family as well.

Preparing before a power outage happens will keep you out of the dark and prevent you from scrambling to adapt to your new environment. Let’s take a look at ways you can prepare for a power outage, and what steps or actions need to be taken. Stay safe and use these tips!

How to Be Prepared During a Power Outage

Be Prepared Beforehand

Are you prepared for a power outage? How about a power outage during a significant crisis? Not having a plan before the situation presents itself can prove costly. Here are a few ways you can continue to eat meals, stay warm, or deal with injuries during a serious power outage. 

Have an Emergency First-Aid Kit on Hand

Having a first-aid kit on hand for any emergencies isn’t going to hurt. Most power outage cases may not require one, but you never know when you’re going to need it.

Here are some of the basic, but best first-aid kits for you to consider putting in your home.  

Back-up Cooking Method

If you don’t have a gas stove, how do you plan on cooking meals for days on end with a power outage? Having a camping stove is a great way of cooking any small meals or boiling hot water. 

Stock up on Blankets

Power outages can happen not only in thunderstorms but in wintery blizzard-like conditions.

Storing blankets in the closet is not a bad idea. Circumstances like this will arise, and remind you why you have them tucked away in the first place. 

Know What to Do When Circumstances Get Ugly

Check the Circuit Breaker

Hopefully, the power going out is due to fuses or breakers that have short-circuited in your home. This can be a much quicker problem to solve.

Check your main electrical panel and see if there are breakers or fuses that have caused the power to go out. Flipping a breaker switch or replacing a fuse might be all you need to do. 

Check Your Neighbors’ Homes

If your circuit breaker was not the issue, go check on your neighbors’ houses and see if their power is out too. If that’s the case, you are dealing with a bigger issue.   

Call the Electric Company

Get on the phone and call the electric company and let them know about your situation. Remember to be patient, it might take a moment to get through. Chances are, they’ve had a number of calls from your neighbors already.  

Turn off all Appliances and Lights

To avoid any power surge damage to appliances like TVs from getting zapped when the power is restored, go ahead and turn off and unplug everything. The last thing you need is to miss a game day because of power outage damage. 

Grab Flashlights/Bright Lanterns

I’m not sure why it is, but most of the time it seems that the power goes out during the middle of the night. Gather up flashlights and bright lanterns, like a camping lantern, to help give you some visibility.

Try to stay away from lighting candles as we used to when we were kids. This increases the chances of fires if knocked over or played with by children. 

Keep Refrigerator/Freezers Shut

Whatever you do, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors shut at all times. You can’t be sure how long it will be until the power is restored. It could take several days. Most freezers can store food for up to 24-36 hours when you keep the doors shut. 

Limit your Flushing

Sometimes the city’s power outage will affect the water system pumps. If they aren’t working then water can’t be pumped to your home and the toilets you use. If that happens, try to limit your flushing if at all possible. You may end up having to use some of your stored water to perform the flushing needed. There’s a saying I’ve heard from some plumber friends: “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” Having a bucket handy to flush the body waste using stored water may prove to be a blessing.  

Other Tips for Dealing with a Power Outage

Stay Hydrated

Have you noticed that we forget to take care of ourselves during a calamity? Remember to drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated during a power outage. The power can be out for any period of time, stay hydrated.

Wintertime Power Outage

During a winter power outage, not only does the cold affect you and your family, but your home’s pipes as well. You don’t want your pipes freezing and bursting, especially if you’re not home. Don’t forget to report an outage!

Leave a small stream of water running in the kitchen sink to help with this. You can also have your pipes insulated beforehand to help prevent frozen pipes. 

If your power is out for an extended number of days during the winter, it might even be better to store your foods outside to prevent spoiling, if it’s cold enough. If you decide to empty everything out, be sure to leave your refrigerator doors open while the power remains out. 

Know When to Evacuate

Are you in a dangerous situation while the power is out? If so, for your own safety, get out! Extreme cold temperatures can be life-threatening even inside the safety of your own home.

Go and stay with friends or family during this time. Don’t remain in such a helpless state if you have options. 

Tips for Using a Generator

Some people are under the impression that a back-up generator is going to have all your electrical appliances up and running, just like normal.

Generators are great for keeping your refrigerator running, a few lamps on or fans blowing. That’s about all. 

Never plug a back-up generator into a wall outlet. This can be extremely dangerous, for not only your family, but the utility man that’s working on getting your power fixed. 

Dealing with an electric outage is no fun, generators can help.

Power Outage Tips to Remember

  • Your full freezer won’t go bad right away, rely on the generator.
  • Anything battery powered is better than not having any sources at all.
  • Be sure to try and report downed power lines, if possible.
  • Keep extra batteries on hand.
  • Keep cell phones charged.
  • Check on family members and neighbors to make sure everyone is ok, especially the elderly one who are most vulnerable.

Final Word

Power outages can be extremely frustrating to deal with, and always at the worst opportune times. These are some ways to make sure you make the best of your situation. What other things are important to consider when you’re dealing with a power outage for an extended amount of time? 

Please keep prepping, we must be diligent. May God bless this world, Linda

12 thoughts on “Power Outage: What to do Next

  • September 25, 2019 at 8:53 am
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    Backup generators are a great prep, but folks need to know how much fuel they use and how much power they will produce. And to make things even more complicated, you need to know the continuous power available AND the surge rating. Why? Well, when a motor or compressor starts up it takes some extra juice to get started – depending on the device that can be up to 3 times it’s normal running load.
    Most portable generators are fairly low capacity, but can run for a good amount of time with limited fuel. For folks with a larger budget, you can get a whole house standby generator wired in by professionals that will safely disconnect your house from the utility and give you independent power (until you run out of fuel.) I am fortunate that my home is connected to the natural gas infrastructure, so I was able to get a home standby generator that is piped into the utility lines. For folks not connected to the utility gas lines, you have to get propane or diesel tanks depending on the type of generator and you have to worry about getting fuel in an extended event.
    And speaking of extended events, every generator has a maintenance interval where you need to shut it down and replace the oil and filters at a minimum. Portable generators may need their oil changed every 50 hours of runtime, larger generators will have longer intervals (my Generac needs an oil change every 200 hours, but they recommend checking the oil levels each day just in case…) So if you want to be prepared for a week or more, make sure you have enough oil and filters on hand to properly maintain the generator.
    Of course it’s also prudent to plan on how to do everything without power for when the generator stops working for whatever reason – lack of fuel, worn out, damaged by EMP, etc.

    Reply
    • September 25, 2019 at 9:25 am
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      Hi DMWalsh, oh how I love your comments! A generator is not in my budget, but this comment will help those who have one or may thinking of getting one. I always thought about what to do when the fuel runs out, so I haven’t had a generator on my wish list. You really do need to think about maintenance, etc. Great comment, thank you! Linda

      Reply
    • October 4, 2019 at 6:00 pm
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      dmwalsh568: you have great info. I recently had an advertising client (heating/plumbing category) who had great big boxes of Generac generators delivered to his biz while I was talking with him. Office mgr did the checkoff for the delivery. I was definitely curious as he sure didn’t put this on his ad. Turns out he got the contract to set up generators for more than a dozen township offices. For more urban folks, a township is the smallest govt entity in most states: below towns, county, city, state, feds. However, a township office is where people vote, can make laws for residents in it regarding property rights, atv/snowmobile trails and laws, as well as gun shooting rules. Lol, even what a person can do with a driveway or to make a new one. In the case of my ad client, townships ordered these generators to make sure they could continue to do biz at hand in case of electrical outage. Client told me that the propane tanks ordered were the size of a small one-story house: at least 5g gallons in connecting tanks. Lol, yea, because generators use a lot of fuel for very little output. Hey, my client told these township supervisors they’d be better off using solar panels but the salesperson before him did a better job…my client accepted the order because his job is making money for his company. I did ask if he had a generator: yes, for his shop but not for home: a couple solar panels to run lights, appliances. 2 wood burning stoves for heat. I found his opinion interesting.

      Reply
      • October 4, 2019 at 6:11 pm
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        Hi Wendy, great comment. Thank for sharing this information. Very interesting, thank you! Linda

        Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 4:13 pm
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    Love these tips!

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    • September 26, 2019 at 7:49 am
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      Hi Jess, thank you so much, I really appreciate your comment. Linda

      Reply
  • September 25, 2019 at 11:56 pm
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    Sitting in the dark, cold, hot, bored, thirsty, hungry and restless sucks. It’s easy enough to prepare and make it less stressful. And battery/solar/hand cranked flashlights, radios and fans don’t cost a whole lot, but are sure nice to have when power outages happen. These items do go on sale, so shop around to save money.

    If you can buy or build a battery backup unit, use an inverter for your car or have a generator it would a Godsend along with some way to cook in a blackout. We have a generator to keep the fridge and freezer running or an A/C unit when it’s too hot since we are often victims of hurricanes which are always followed by extended power outages. Of course it does require fuel and maintenance.

    Reply
    • September 26, 2019 at 7:53 am
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      Hi Frank, I love your comment as always. You are so right about the inverter for your car as a backup unit. I’m glad to hear you have a generator. You are so prepared and as always I love your comments. Those simple cheap luxuries with batteries would truly be a Godsend. Thank you, Linda

      Reply
  • September 26, 2019 at 1:37 pm
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    The first thing I do is fill up my backup water barrels.
    I have stored water that if ration properly will last me
    45 days. The water here runs for about 30 minutes
    after the power goes out. Then start setting up the
    water catchment system.
    No water no life!!

    Reply
    • September 26, 2019 at 2:23 pm
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      Hi Garrett, you are so right “no water no life!” I wish more people had a plan to store water. Great comment, Linda

      Reply
  • October 4, 2019 at 6:34 pm
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    I always feel bad for people caught in a power outage for weeks/months on end, and usually this seems to be hurricane areas. I’m Up North so people think we have power outages often due to winter storms. Or that the storm areas affect all of us. In MN, we have many electric co’s, many sources of power. In my case, I’m in an electrical co-op where we generate power to use and sell to others. In the last 10 years, us members voted to put all lines underground, and to Harden Off our production grid. I only had one half hour last winter with outage, due to a motorist hitting a power box, lol, also catching it on fire!; Literally, our system re-routed power very quickly. Our system automatically sends a message to customers with info as to an outage, and a time as to when full power is anticipated. I would worry about these computer things except for the fact that my co-op is hardened off. My co-op Still worries about hackers…those guys seem to always be ahead of us, so my co-op still sends info about what to prepare for ‘just in case’.

    Reply
    • October 4, 2019 at 8:42 pm
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      HI Wendy, oh my goodness, you are so lucky! I love hearing about power co-ops. Where I live it is controlled by the government and they have no vested interest to lower our bills. You are so blessed! Linda

      Reply

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