On July 28, 2016, a severe thunderstorm in Stillwater caused a power outage in my neighborhood around 6:30pm. The power did not come back until about 10pm. While impatiently waiting for the power to come back, I quickly realized how much we depend on electricity for cooling/heating as well as food, drinking water, medical care, communication, and other needs. I also realized that I was not very well prepared for the power outage and the safety issues it caused. Preparing for power outages can help minimize their impacts and keep us and our families safe.
Safety Tips on Power Outage:
Protect your electronic equipment
· Turn off all your light switches; leave one on to signal you when the power comes back on;
· Turn off all appliances with sensitive electronics such as your garage door opener, microwaves, televisions, washer and dryer, computers etc.
· Don’t turn off your refrigerator or freezer – you might forget to turn them back on.
Prepare an emergency kit and include the following items:
· Flashlights with extra batteries, and candles;
· If you have a fireplace, keep firewood handy;
· First aid kit and any medications you may need;
· Bottled water;
· Battery operated radio;
· A fully charged cell phone;
· Non-perishable foods;
· Warm clothing and blankets;
· Games, cards and books.
Portable generator safety
A generator can be useful during an extended power outage, but it can also be very dangerous. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never use a portable generator indoors, inside a garage, or any other enclosed or partially enclosed area. Using a battery operated CO and propane detector at home is strongly recommended if a portable generator is used.
Portable cooking stoves, portable lamps and other camping equipment can be very useful, but they should be stored, along with their fuels, in a shed or garage that is separated from the house. Liquid fuels should be kept outside the house at all times. Outdoor and charcoal grills should never be used indoors because they are fire and safety hazards, and can emit deadly carbon monoxide.
More information on power outage safety can be found from Red Cross website: