Home Safety: Winter Power Outage

Residential Substation SilhouetteEverything is harder in winter, and this holds doubly true for interruptions in your power. This is why planning ahead and acting quickly within the first hours of the power outage can do a lot to keep you comfortable in such a miserable time. While some of these instructions hold true for any time of the year, most are geared towards dealing with the cold and the weather that causes it. Be ready to react to a winter power outage by keeping these ideas and mind, and making some small purchases just in case.

Part One: How Big is the Power Outage?

When the lights go out, the first step is to figure out two things: why and where. This will allow you to figure out the scope of the outage, which will provide you with some options, as well as an idea of how long the power outage might be.

  • Check Your Home: When the power goes out, the first thing you should check is your circuit breaker. Make sure you know where your breaker is, and how to reset it if it blew a circuit.
  • Call Your Utility Company: If it’s not the breaker, call your utility company (check your last electricity bill for the number). They may be able to provide more information.
  • Finding the Scope: Using a battery-operated radio or phone, check the news to determine the scope. You can also check the city skyline or go for a drive (drive safe) if the weather isn’t too bad to see the extent.

Part Two: Staying Warm and Comfortable

During winter the biggest issue is staying warm when the power goes out. It’s important to know your options to generate and retain heat in a safe way.

  • Dress Warm: Make sure to layer up sooner than later, especially when going outside. Even indoors, think about putting a jacket on. You lose a lot of heat through your head and hands, so keep both covered when possible.
  • Heat Property: Fireplaces and wood stoves will work fine, but don’t use devices not meant for indoor heating. This includes outdoor heaters such as kerosene, as well as gas stoves or BBQs. All can produce toxic carbon monoxide.
  • Use Warm Water: Even if your water heater is electronic, the heated water will stay warm for several hours. Anyone who is cold should avail themselves of a hot shower while they can.

Part Three: Long Duration Outages

If the power goes out, it’s always a good idea to plan for the worst. From now until that power outage, try and stock up on some basics for your pantry, such as bottled water and canned meals. Ideally, plan for at least three days of food for your household. Speaking of food, avoid opening the fridge and freezer as much as possible to keep them cool longer. Make sure your electronics are all shut down, and unplug some major appliances to avoid a power surge when the power comes back on. If you or your neighbors have medical conditions or electrically powered medical equipment, try and get them to a place where electricity is working.

We hope you enjoy the winter, and that you stay safe! If you’d like to learn more about protecting your home, car, or business with insurance, make sure to contact us. At TJ Woods, we’re committed to providing you with the most information about the best insurance. Find out today.