We've all been there. Going about our business when all of a sudden there's a flicker of the lights and everything goes dark. Power outages happen, and there's really nothing you can do to stop the electricity grid from failing from time to time. Whether someone runs into a telephone pole, a severe storm brings down a power line or a rolling blackout shuts down an entire section of the grid, you'll still be in the same place – the dark.
In order to prepare for the next power outage that will affect your home, take a few simple actions to help stay safe above all. Put several flashlights around the house in known places. Be sure to check them every so often to make sure their batteries are still working. If the power goes out, having several flashlights around the house will prevent you from having to search for one when you need it the most.
What to do first
Once you have a flashlight in hand, there's something you should do before you even pick up the phone to call your utility company: Check the fuse box. There's a chance the power outage is only affecting your home, and it's best to check that everything is in order before going any further. Fuses can be tripped if you happen to overload the system, such as using too much energy at once.
The next step
If it turns out you're experiencing a widespread outage, go ahead and call your utility company. Unless you're the first on the line you may have to wait for a while to get through to a representative but it's definitely worth the wait. Your input will help ensure the utility is aware of all the areas being affected by the outage.
Once you've reported the outage there's not much else to do but wait. Even in today's electric reality, hopefully everyone still has a few activities around the house that don't have to be plugged in. There's never a better time to get back to tackling Melville or Thoreau than during a power outage!
If you are planning on leaving the house during an outage, there are a few things you need to be mindful of.
- Is it storming? If the outage was caused by severe weather that is still going on, it may be a good idea to stay put until the skies clear.
- Are there any downed power lines nearby? Power lines on the ground are very dangerous, and it's best to keep your distance. Also, if you do observe a downed line, you should immediately contact your utility company, even if you've already reported the outage.
- If you were burning candles, be sure you extinguish all flames before you leave. Candles are a great solution for interior light during an outage, but leaving them unattended while lit could lead to an even greater problem than a temporary power outage.
By making smart cautious decisions, sitting through a power outage will only be a temporary annoyance rather than a dangerous situation.