During a power outage:
- First, check whether the power outage is limited to your home. If your neighbors’ power is still on, check your own circuit breaker panel or fuse box. If the problem is not a breaker or a fuse, check the service wires leading to the house. If they are obviously damaged or on the ground, stay at least 10 meters back and notify your electric supply authority. Keep the number along with other emergency numbers near your telephone.
- If your neighbors’ power is also out, notify your electric supply authority.
- Turn off all tools, appliances and electronic equipment, and turn the thermostat(s) for the home heating system down to minimum to prevent damage from a power surge when power is restored. Also, power can be restored more easily when there is not a heavy load on the electrical system.
- Turn off all lights, except one inside and one outside, so that both you and utility crews outside know that power has been restored.
- Don’t open your freezer or fridge unless it is absolutely necessary. A full freezer will keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours if the door remains closed.
- Never use charcoal or gas barbecues, camping heating equipment, or home generators indoors. They give off carbon monoxide; because you can’t smell or see it, carbon monoxide can cause health problems and is life-threatening. Every year in Seattle there are deaths due to using these items indoors.
- Use proper candle holders. Never leave lit candles unattended and keep out of reach of children. Always extinguish candles before going to bed.
- Listen to your battery-powered or crank radio for information on the outage and advice from authorities.
- Make sure your home has a working carbon monoxide detector. If it is hard-wired to the house’s electrical supply, ensure it has a battery-powered back-up.
- Protect sensitive electrical appliances such as TVs, computers, and DVD players with a surge-protecting powerbar.
“Power Outage Lights” turn on when the power goes out. Place them in rooms/spaces where you would have trouble navigating if you suddenly lost power (hallways, basement, etc.). Many of them remain charged and can be removed from the wall socket and used like a flashlight. They are easily found at your local hardware store or online.