Staying Safe When the Power Goes Out

33592250_mPower outages have become more common. According to a 2011 report by the National Wildlife Federation, we had about five to 20 weather-related power outages per year in the mid 1990’s, and now we have about 50 to 100 each year. Weather-related power outages can happen any time of year. Many of the dangers posed by power outages are completely avoidable. They are often posed by the way we try to cope with being without electricity. For instance, using candles for light is a common cause of fatal house fires.

Tips for Staying Safe During a Power Outage

  • If you see downed power lines stay away. You can be electrocuted from several yards away if there is standing water.
  • Use alternatives to real candles for lighting, such as LED candles, flashlights, battery-operated lanterns, and glow sticks.
  • Unplug the devices and appliances that you value in case there is a power surge.
  • If you use a fuel-powered generator it must be used outside to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • The same goes for grills and camp stoves. Never use them to cook indoors, even in bad weather, and never try to use them as an alternate heat source.
  • Only use your fireplace for heat if you have had it serviced recently, know it is in good working condition, and are accustomed to using a fireplace. Now is not the time to learn how to use the fireplace properly. If there is an accident, you may not be able to call for help and emergency services may not be able to get to you quickly.
  • If you smell gas, get everyone and all pets out right away, no matter how unpleasant the weather.
  • Listen to a battery-operated radio for updates about the power outage and other emergency information, such as evacuation notices if flooding is a threat.
  • Try not to open your refrigerator and freezer doors unless you absolutely have to. Keeping them closed as much as possible can keep your food from spoiling before the power is back on.


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