Each and every one of us are quite familiar with irritating phenomena known as power outages. Especially in this technological day and age, where everything is heavily reliant on electricity.
Not only are power outages irritating, but they can also be quite harmful to a lot of your devices. So, what to do in a power outage?
There are quite a few guidelines on what you should do in a power outage. Including preparation for the outage, surviving the outage, ad steps after the outage.
In this article, I will go through all of the necessary steps that one should follow during an outage, as well as before and after it.
What Is a Power Outage? Why Do They Occur?
Basically, a power outage is when the supply of electricity to your household is stopped or blocked. Either due to authority decisions or any accidents. As most of us do not generate the electricity used in our own home, it has to be transported through the supply cables.
Any interruption in this transfer causes the power to be blocked from coming into the household.
And hence a power outage occurs. You may test whether you have a power outage or not by using a non-contact voltage tester to test your main panel.
There are several causes for power outages:
Natural disasters often cause a multitude of problems. Including knocking out electrical poles, or disconnecting power cables, which can cause more damage than simply a power outage.
Not every country or region might produce enough electricity needed for all of its’ residents.
So, when the demand is greater than the supply, the authorities might routinely cut the power for a certain region, to meet up with the demand. This is known as load shedding.
Animals are often known to cause short circuits in electrical wires or equipment, which can result in a power outage.
Vehicles might also hit an electrical pole (Fig 1), which in turn might cause the pole to break down and fall, disconnecting the power lines. Thus causing an outage.
Lightning strikes can often strike electrical equipment. Which in turn might cause a power outage. Alongside significant damage to the electrical equipment.
These are only a few of the causes of power outages. The reason for an outage may vary based on country, region, and situation. Now, let’s take a look at some of the dos and don’ts during a power outage.
What Should You do in a Power Outage?
Some steps should be done before a power outage. And some are to be done afterward. Let’s take a look below to understand what to do in a power outage.
Things to do in a Power Outage
- Make sure you have a fully charged flashlight by your hand, or a location you can easily access even in the dark.
- Make sure to keep the flashlight charged once each month.
- You could buy power banks of a bigger capacity to charge your phones and other devices if needed.
- Make sure to have a radio on hand in case of important broadcasts.
- If you live in a cold location, make sure to gather all the residents and pets in a single room. This will increase the temperature of the room.
- Make sure to close all windows and block every opening. Or drape extra clothes and sheets over windows to keep the heat inside.
- Should you turn off breakers during power outage? Yes, it is good practice to do so. However, make sure to keep at least one circuit turned on. It will act as a signal to indicate that the power has come back on.
- Try to minimize opening the refrigerator. Keep storage of canned preserved foods at hand in case of an emergency.
- It is good practice to keep a portable gas stove in case you need to cook something. It can also act as a heater in dire conditions.
- Store a decent amount of fresh water in big containers or bottles. Clean and refill them once each month.
- If possible, buy and install a backup generator. To supply power to the bare essentials of your household.
- Make sure you have enough oil or gas to run your generator.
These are the common things to do before and during a power outage. Similarly, there are a few things which you should refrain from doing. I will list a few of them below.
Things NOT to do in a Power Outage
- The very first mistake that most people tend to make is that they delay calling the power station. Often times they may not be aware of your predicament. And thus, further delaying your power supply.
- Do not waste your phone’s charge on playing games or listening to music. In the worst-case scenario, you may need that power to establish contact with the outside.
- Do not rely on candles for light. They tend to cause more severe accidents. Rather rely on flashlights or portable lamps.
- Do not keep your electronics plugged in. But if you have turned off your breakers, then you may keep them plugged in.
- However, do not unplug or turn off everything. Keep at least one light bulb plugged in and turned on as an indicator that the power has come back on.
These are some of the dos and don’ts of power outages that every person should follow. Power outages are rather common all over the planet. However, small wrong decisions, often cause serious damage.
In this article, I have gone over all of the dos and don’ts of power outages. I hope it gives you a basic idea of what to do in a power outage and what you should avoid doing.
Follow the steps shown in this article to ensure the safety of yourself as well as your house circuitry. However, if you find any issues regarding any electrical matter, which you cannot pinpoint, do not hesitate to call a professional.