One minute, you're watching television with your family – the next minute, all the lights cut out and the TV goes black. Blackouts are relatively rare in most regions of America, but when they do occur, they can cause serious problems for any family that relies on its electrical work. Read on for advice on how to be prepared for an outage so you aren't left in the dark.
When the Lights Go Down in the City
Follow these tips to make sure you're ready when the lights go out:
- Keep an eye on the forecast: Some blackouts are unpredictable, but they are more likely to happen if there is a heavy storm, which can knock down trees across power lines and create other disruptions to municipal electrical work.
- Have an emergency kit on hand: Make sure you have flashlights, extra batteries, a radio, cash, water and some non-perishable food stashed in your home so you can get by in the event of an extended outage.
- Hook up a generator: Many families find peace of mind by purchasing a generator. That way, you have emergency power so you can use your communication devices, or keep important appliances like the refrigerator running so your food doesn't spoil while the electricity is out.
- Break out the warm clothes and sleeping bags: If you rely on electricity to heat your home, nighttime could be dangerously cold when you lose power in a winter storm. Make sure you have enough heavy clothing and bedding so you aren't in danger of freezing before you can get the heat turned back on.
- Have a backup plan: It's no big deal to make it through a few hours or even a day with no power to your household electrical work, but if the outage drags on, you may need to leave your home for safety – especially in bitterly cold weather. Make arrangements for emergency lodgings with friends or family in advance so you always have a warm place to stay.
- Keep in touch with the news: Make sure you know how to use your radio or mobile device to get up-to-date information about the status of the blackout so you can check for updates from the utility company. Don't call 911 unless you have a true emergency.
Making the Best of a Power Outage: