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Power outages occur everywhere and aren’t confined to a specific area. They can occur for a number of reasons from natural occurrences to accidents and overburdening the system. In fact, as the infrastructure ages and more people demand power, outages are becoming a lot more frequent across the nation. Preparing ahead of time is important. So, stock up on emergency supplies and have alternative lighting, heating and cooking system ready.
The first thing you need to do when an outage occurs is to confirm it’s not in your electrical system. Grab a flashlight and head for the breaker box or fuse box if you have one. If there’s not a switch flipped or bad fuse, do a second check by calling neighbors if it’s during the day or just looking out a window if it’s at night. If lights are out everywhere, call the electric company to report the outage.
Hang up the powered lantern and grab a flashlight to check other areas. If it’s summer, cover your freezer with a thermal cover to help keep it cold. Refrain from opening the refrigerator door. Unplug all appliances to avoid damage from the surge of power when electric power returns.
If you have a pump, conserve water. Some people fill containers at this time, but it’s unnecessary. The water will remain in the lines until you need it. It’s time to consider the potential for lack of water for flushing. As they say in California when there’s a water shortage, “If it’s brown flush it down and if it’s yellow let it mellow.” You can bring out the porta potty if you have it, just in case the electricity is off for several days. If you have a stash of water to use for drinking and hygiene, use the gray water, water previously used for dishes or washing, to flush the toilet. If you have city water, call and check to see if you can safely drink it or need to boil the water first. The purification system may also be down.
Dress for the outside weather because it will be the inside weather soon. If it’s cold out, break out the blankets and the warmest snuggies you have, you’ll be chilly before you know it. Close the curtains and blinds to block the cold air as much as possible. Start a fire in the fireplace or breakout the alternative heating apparatus. People with thermal curtains will have a more comfortable environment for a longer time. During warm weather, dress appropriately, particularly if you are used to an air-conditioned room. Get out battery-powered fans if you have them.
Once you’re set up for the long haul, get out a board game and enjoy it with your family. You might consider a power outage as a way to reunite with them without cell phones, computers and televisions interfering with good conversation and family fun.