A Guide to What to Do When the Power Goes Out

What to Do When the Power Goes Out

The power can go out at any time. When the weather gets bad, and the wind starts to blow harder, it can cause power lines to go down or trees to collapse on the power lines.

Thunder begins to rumble, and the lights start to flicker on and off, indicating the power might go out at any time. You need to know what to do when the power goes out, whether or not you have a storm shelter, underground bunker or other safe space.

Our power went out just two days ago after a rainstorm. We thought the storm was over, but the winds after the storm caused a tree to fall. Our rural area was without power for several hours. Those living in rural areas should expected power outages more often than those in urban areas.

You don’t want to have a panic attack each time the power goes out. Instead, having a list of things to do when the power goes out helps you and your family stay calm. It makes the power outage less tense and, perhaps, a bit enjoyable.

What to Do When the Power Goes Out

Check Your Circuit Breaker

The first thing to do is go to your circuit breaker and check to see if something tripped it. Sometimes, you might blow a circuit breaker, and your power isn’t out. If that doesn’t work, move onto the next steps.

Grab Your Supply Box

Keeping all of your supplies in one spot makes it easier when the lights do go out. Keep the flashlights, batteries, emergency radio, and any other supplies you feel necessary in the same area.

Make sure it’s an easy spot that you can find in the dark. You don’t want to stumble around in the basement trying to find your supplies.

Fill Tubs and Sinks with Water

Many people don’t think of water and electricity at the same time, but in some situations, water functions require electricity to run as well. If you have a property with a well, then the pump won’t work.

Also, if the power outage is extensive, the water sanitation system might stop functioning. So, fill up your sinks and tubs when the water goes out. This water will be safe to drink.

Unplug Any Electronics

When the power does come back on, it can cause a power surge that might fry electronics. To prevent this from happening, unplug things such as your computer, gaming systems, cell phones, and TVs. Make sure anything that might have sensitive components is unplugged.

Notify the Power Company

Next, notify the power company. You can call them or see if their website gives you an option to report outages. When my power went out a few days ago, I used their website to report the outage, and the website showed an estimated return of power. Some sites let you sign up to receive emails or text messages when updates are available.

Check to See If Your Neighbors Have Power

Go outside and see which, if any, of your neighbors, have power. That can help give you an idea of how widespread the outage is. Checking social media is smart as well; your friends might be talking about if they don’t have power either.

Use Your Emergency Radio

If the outage is due to bad weather, the local stations might have more information.

Hand Out Flashlights

Hand out flashlights and put out candles before it gets too dark. If you have kids, make sure you put the candles far out of range. Lanterns might be better choices. Getting ready before it gets dark makes it easier and less complicated to get ready.

If it’s already dark, give each person a flashlight and put the lanterns or candles in the room where you want to stay with everyone.

Keep The Refrigerator and Freezer Closed

Since you don’t know how long the power might be out, keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors closed is imperative to keeping everything cold and fresh – even for food with long shelf lives.

When you do eat things out of the refrigerator, reach for the dairy items first. Save canned foods and non-perishables for last. Once the food from your refrigerator is gone, move onto your freezer food. Don’t continuously open and close the doors. Get into them with a plan and purpose. Try to grab everything your family will eat at one time.

Stay in the Same Room in the Winter

Keeping your house warm in the winter when the power is out is hard. Cover the windows with blankets or thick curtains to help trap the heat into the house. It’s best to stay in the same room together with your family. Body heat stays in the small space, and you can shut any vents and doors leading to other bedrooms. That stops heat from traveling to those rooms that aren’t being used.

Other tricks you can try to keep the house warmer include:

  • Caulking any cracks around windows.
  • Put rolled towels under the doors.
  • Use a wood stove or propane heater.

Get Your Generator Going

You should never run a generator in the house because it can release deadly fumes. Portable generators are only able to run one large appliance, such as a refrigerator, or a few lights. So, you might have to switch the appliances back and forth.

Ask if Anyone Needs Help

Not everyone is going to be as prepared as you, and helping other people is what we should do. Check to see if your neighbors need anything, whether that is some food, water, or a warm space to hang out for the day. Work together as a community.

What to Do Next

Now, all you have to do is wait for the power to come back on. Wait for updates from your local power company which should let you know how long you will be without power.

Most power outages last less than 24 hours. Take this time to work on some projects around the house or play card games with your kids. The power will be back on before you know it. For more preparedness tips and strategies, check out our SHTF planning guide, our favorite everyday carry items or the best dust masks to use in emergencies.

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