Power outages are always inconvenient, and almost always unexpected. Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to keep your loved ones and possessions safe until things are back to normal.
This one may seem obvious, but in the immediate aftermath of your power spontaneously switching off, one of the most important things for you to do is check the actual state of your power. Trying to trace the origins of whatever has happened can help resolve the issue as soon as possible.
Examine your breaker to see if it's been tripped. Look outside–are the street lights still on? What about the lights in your neighbors' homes? Answering questions like these can help pinpoint the source of the trouble. Also, if the phone lines are still up, consider calling your local utility company for more information, if possible.
One of the most common causes of outages is inclement weather. These kinds of conditions are problematic because even after a power outage has occurred, stormy or otherwise abnormal weather can still cause issues for you and your loved ones. Have them relocate somewhere secure, like the basement. Stock up on food and water. Having a backup generator isn't a bad idea and can be more affordable than you think.
As soon as the power goes out, close any refrigerators or freezers, and make sure they stay shut as long as possible. Keeping the cooler air trapped inside will help preserve perishables when the refrigerator or freezer unit has lost power to keep running. As a general rule of thumb, you have about four hours until your refrigerated food will start to go bad. To extend this time window, cover the food with ice packs.
Flashlights are preferable to other light sources. Using candles can lead to fire hazards, and they also raise the temperature uncomfortably high during the summer months. Instead, use flashlights and lanterns. Stock up on batteries to make sure you have enough light to get you through the power outage.
Being able to stay in touch with one another helps ensure overall safety and security. Cell phones are handy in these situations, but you'll want to conserve their charge for as long as possible, so sparing use is suggested. Walkie-talkies are a good alternative, in particular the kind that can be manually wound up to produce more charge.
No matter how you handle the next power outage, it's important to stay calm while also moving quickly. Having a clear-cut plan for how to handle this situation is a good idea for every household, so take the precautions you need for your family so you know what to do when an outage strikes.