This post is originally authored at the home security blog at family + home security.
In today’s society, we depend on electrical power for most of our everyday needs. We use it to obtain water, heat our food, take showers and run electrical appliances. However, when the power goes out, it’s important to be familiar with how to keep your home and family safe. If you are unprepared for a power outage, it can be more than just an inconvenience. Here are a few simple tips to help you to keep your home and family safe during a power outage.
Call Your Electric Company.
In order to ensure that your electrical company is able to work on getting power restored in your area, it’s best if you report your power outage. Most electrical companies have an automated phone system to report power outages, which usually involves entering your zip code. To find the number to call, you can either look it up in your local phone book, or check your latest electric bill.
Many water pumps use electrical power in order to function. When the power goes out, you may only have a limited amount of water available. In order to conserve water during a power outage, be sure to regulate the amount of water that you use. It can be natural behavior to turn on a faucet to wash your hands, or rinse a plate. If necessary, remind yourself to avoid using water by taping over the sink or faucet with masking tape.
Keep the Fridge Closed.
Most refrigerators will be able to keep food cold (without power) for about six hours. However, this is only if you don’t open the refrigerator door during that time. You may want to duct-tape the door to the fridge closed, in order to ensure that none of your family members open it by accident.
If you have an electric heating system, you may need to take extra measures in order to ensure that you and the members of your family stay warm. Bring blankets out into the living room, and have a “sleepover” with your family. Be sure that everyone is bundled up in warm clothes, especially if the power outage occurs during cold weather.
Keep Your Family Occupied.
Experiencing a power outage can be a scary experience, especially for young children. In order to keep everyone occupied, have some activities planned while you wait for the power to be turned back on. Read a book to your children by candlelight, or organize a family board game. Give young children crayons to color with, and give older children a writing assignment.
What to Do for Extended Power Outages
If the power in your area is going to be out for more than a day, you need to take additional steps in order to ensure that you and your family remain safe. If the power outage is due to a natural disaster, be sure to use an emergency radio to keep up-to-date on the situation. If it’s recommended that you leave your home, organize your family for an evacuation. Otherwise, staying in your home is often the safest place for you and your family. Take inventory of all of the food inside your home that can be safely eaten without power. If you have a small camping stove, you may be able to use it to heat up soup and other food items. However, when using any type of open flame, be sure to practice proper fire safety procedures.