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How to Prepare for a Power Outage

by Hickerson Brothers on September 29, 2016

Power Outage

Are You Prepared to Get Through a Power Outage?

We’re barely a week into fall and the temperatures are already dropping and the stormy season is upon us. Here in Virginia, we’re bound to get our fair share of severe thunderstorms, which always carry the potential of a power outage. Because September is National Preparedness Month, we thought we would help you prepare ahead of time for a power outage, should one happen in your neighborhood.

Before a Power Outage

With power outages, it’s important to be be both proactive and reactive. Being adequately prepared ahead of time will allow you to react in a calm and timely manner.  Trying to put together a plan after the fact, when the power is already out, will not be effective and may trigger frustration and panic. Dealing with an outage is already difficult enough; get a plan together beforehand to minimize your uncertainties. Here are some helpful tips, including some from

  • Choose a point in the house where you’ll meet. If you have small children, have them stay where they are, and you go find them.
  • Have a first aid kit on hand.
  • Decide beforehand what tasks each person will be in charge of.
  • Always have a full tank of gas as stations rely on electricity to power pumps.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
  • If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power dependent like a medical device determine a back-up plan.
  • Purchase alternative charging methods for your electronic devices.
  • Have multiple flashlights and plenty of batteries on hand.
  • Purchase a battery-operated radio.  Your phone can work too, but bear in mind that a phone relies on electricity to charge.

Purchase a Generator

So much of your worry stems from the lack of ability to power the necessities in your home, such as your refrigerator, stove,  heating and cooling system, lights, etc. You can purchase either a standby or portable generator to help restore your peace of mind.

A standby generator is permanently installed and will immediately power on in the event of an outage. This type of generator will restore power to all of your home the second an outage occurs. They err on the more expensive side.

A portable generator, however, requires fuel to operate and can provide power to a few necessary appliances. They are remarkably less expensive than standby generators, but that’s because they do not power near as much.

You can learn more about the differences of both types here!

During a Power Outage

Now that you’ve got a plan in place, you can feel much more confident about getting through an outage with minimal struggles. We’ve got some helpful tips to get you through after the lights are out.

  • Remain calm.
  • The first thing you’ll want to do is look over at your neighbors’ houses. If their lights are still on, then don’t panic! Check your main fuses and circuit breakers to see if the issue stems from either of those. It’s possible you need to replace a fuse or reset your breaker. Give a licensed electrician a call if you need any assistance.
  • If an outage occurs at night, we know how tempting it might be to use candles either in addition to or in lieu of flashlights. However, we highly recommend avoiding candles as they have the potential to cause a fire. Flashlights are always the safest route!
  • Make sure to keep both the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as you can. This way, perishable foods can last longer. If the outage lasts for an extended period, try to eat the perishable foods first.
  • To avoid surges and spikes when power does return, unplug any unnecessary appliances and electronics.

Hickerson Electrical is your source for all home electrical services. We’re ready and willing to deliver top-quality service to your home at a moment’s notice. So call today at (703) 594-3913.

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