How To Prepare for Power Outages

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Power outages don’t have to be unbearable. All you need is the necessary equipment and the knowledge of what you have to do to stay safe.

A random power outage can happen without warning and can last for hours or days so it’s important to always be prepared.

  1. Common Reasons for Power Outages

Knowing what might cause a power outage can help you be ready in advance.

Severe weather and natural disaster

This is the most common cause and it’s usually a sum of reasons such as lightning that brings down a tree that cuts through power lines. But extreme cold on its own can damage the components of the grid. Earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and mudslides can wreak havoc on systems too.

Accidents near power lines

With a short lapse in attention, motor vehicle accidents can threaten lives and bring down power lines in small areas.

Equipment failure

The components that bring power can be faulty or break or simply wear out with age, like cables that crack.

Fallen trees

Strong winds and heavy snow load can break a tree and as the tree snaps, it can bring down wires. An old tree can fall on its own without any external pressure.

Wildlife looking for a new home

Birds and squirrels can chew through power lines or knockdown components as they try to build their nests. They seem to find that warmth and hum of flowing electricity appealing.

Higher energy demand

Electricity can go out on a perfectly sunny day if too many people in an area use too much power at once.

Power line damage

Human error can also cause power outages as utility poles get knocked down by mistake during construction work. Professionals and the regular consumers can make errors and cause power outages. Sometimes people cause power outrages by mistake when doing yard work or deliberately as an act of vandalism.

Planned power outages

Sometimes, electricity providers set the power outage to conduct maintenance or in an effort to prevent a much wider blackout by reducing the pressure on the grid.

  1. Preparing for a Power Outage

In order to always be prepared to make light of a dark situation, it is good to know what to do before, during and after a power outage.

What you need to do before anything even happens is update your contact details so you can be served faster by your utility company. You also need to make sure you have your emergency power outage kit ready, beginning with a flashlight and batteries. This includes purchasing appliances with built-in surge protection to help safeguard valuable electronic equipment such as your computer. You should also plug any sensitive equipment into a separate and grounded circuit to isolate them from fluctuations caused when a major appliance restarts.

You should have one gallon of water per person, per day, nonperishable food items such as canned foods, and extra cash along with a full tank of gas in case you need to get out.

If your power goes out, you need to contact your Duke Energy utility immediately to report an outage in your area. Stay away from flooded areas, debris, fallen wires and downed lines. Turn off all your appliances and just leave one lamp on if you need to know when power is restored. Do not open your freezer or refrigerator and they should be fine 24-48 hours, depending how full they are. If you are using portable stoves or kerosene heaters, make sure the room is ventilated.  

Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed for the food to stay cold as long as possible.

If you don’t have to go out, don’t, especially by car as traffic lights and there will be chaos.

Once power is restored, you need to pay attention to avoid fires and injuries by making sure that power is no longer flowing through downed lines. You need to keep you’re your family and pets away from them. Electric companies will fix whatever needs fixing, as soon as they care for critical communities such as hospitals. You need to throw away the food that has gone bad along with everything you are questioning as it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Takeaway Knowing what causes power outages can help you know when to prepare for them or, in some cases, possibly avoid causing them. The more information you have, the less anxious you’ll feel if the power goes out. Power outages aren’t unbearable if you’re prepared with the necessary equipment and knowledge. Use them as a valuable opportunity as all they shut down the outside noise, allowing you to tune in with yourself for a change. Outages and life, in general, will be easier and much brighter if you can find that inner light within you.