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Winter weather and power outages often go hand-in-hand. Heavy snow, ice and high winds can often bring down power lines. Depending on the temperatures, a few hours might not pose a huge problem, but an extended power outage that could last for days in extreme cold can jeopardize your safety and health. Here are a few tips to successfully ride out a power outage:
You can’t prevent disasters, but you can take charge of how you respond if you are prepared. Be smart and prepare a home emergency preparedness kit. Make sure your kit has enough water, dried and canned food and emergency supplies for at least three days. Store all battery-powered flashlights, lanterns, and candles together for quick retrieval. Use extreme caution with candles to avoid a home fire disaster.
2. REPORT OUTAGE
Now that you are prepared, let’s pretend the actual outage has happened. First, determine if the whole street or neighborhood is out or just your home. You may have tripped a circuit breaker or blown a fuse. Check your electrical panel to determine if that is the case. If it’s not just your home, call your power company and let them know. Chances are they have already received a few calls and have started to work on the lines already. If power lines are down near your home, do not put yourself in danger and avoid being near them at all costs. Take caution with your children and pets as well.
3. PRE-EMPT PROBLEMS
Shut off your home’s natural gas, electricity and water if you suspect the power outage is a result of a disaster. Turn off and unplug major appliances and electronics that were in use prior to the power outage. Leave refrigerator and freezer doors closed to help preserve food for hours. Refrigerator food can usually stay safe for 4 hours and freezer food for 48 hours. If you suspect a longer outage, store food in a cooler or even an animal-resistant container you can place outside if the temperatures are cold enough. Prevent pipes from freezing by opening cabinet doors under sinks to allow air flow and opening faucets to allow a constant water drip.
4. STAY WARM SAFETY
Gather everyone in a room with a wood burning fireplace or stove. If you use a generator to power heat, make sure you follow the directions supplied and never use it indoors. Every year, people die in situations related to portable generators. Read more here for safe generator tips. Do not use heating sources designed for outdoor use such as kerosene heaters or any device powered by gasoline, propane or charcoal. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the greatest danger when using alternative means to heat your home. Layer clothes on such as sweaters, sweatshirts and jackets. Wear gloves and hats and keep moving if possible. Body temperatures rise with physical activity.
Power outages during winter weather can be fun for a few hours when you are safe and warm with your family and enjoying some quality time together. However, longer durations of power outages can become dangerous. Be prepared, avoid potential problems as a result of power outages and stay warm safely!
For more information regarding how Anchor Heating and Air Conditioning can help keep your family and your home warm and safe this winter season with an efficient heating system, give us a call at (770) 942-2873.