Harsh winter storms can create an electrical outage when you least expect it, leaving you without light, heat, water and other basic necessities. If you have medical equipment that depends on electricity, an outage could be life threatening. Tri State Restorations, a fire and water damage cleanup and restoration company serving Maryland, Virginia, and Washington DC, offers these tips for being prepared when the electricity goes off.
Have the Items You Need on Hand
- Light – Have personal flashlights for each member of the family and plenty of batteries. A few battery-powered lanterns can light up all of the important rooms in your home. Rechargeable power failure lights can also be helpful. If you use candles for light, make sure to never to leave them burning out of someone’s site, in case of an accident.
- Heat – Keep plenty of blankets or sleeping bags on hand. If you use the fireplace, be sure to burn only wood, rather than paper.
- Food and Water – Have enough to last 72 hours: large containers of water, energy bars, dried fruit and other foods that do not require cooking.
- Phones – Have at least one phone that does not require electrical power. If it is your cell phone, keep it powered up.
- Other Items – AM/FM battery powered radio, battery alarm clock, and simple toys to entertain your children.
- Electricity-dependent medical devices – Be sure to have a solid backup plan for keeping these devices operational. You may need to keep a portable generator on hand. Your local hospital or medical device vendor may be able to assist you.
Be Prepared for an Electrical Surge When the Power Comes Back On
- Unplug all small appliances and electronics to avoid damage from a power surge. Leave on one low wattage light so you’ll know when the power comes back.
- Familiarize yourself with your main electrical panel. You may have to turn off the main breaker or reset circuit breakers after an outage.
If You Need to Go Out During an Outage
- Traffic signals may be out, so be cautious when driving through intersections. All intersections becomes a 4-Way Stop.
- Notice which neighborhoods, grocery stores and gas stations might have power in case you need supplies.
Before A Power Outage
- Get to know your neighbors. You might have neighbors with special needs who could use your help: elderly people, people with disabilities and children who could be home alone. If you need help, your neighbors might be able to assist you.
Tri State Restorations provides emergency fire and water damage cleanup and restoration in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.