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Are You Ready for a Power Outage? Here’s How to Prepare

Whether it’s a winter storm, spring thunderstorm or any kind of extreme weather condition – power outages and lack of other services can often be the outcome. Although most power outages are very short, it’s best to have sufficient preparation for an outage of three days or more.

Here’s how you can prepare for the next power outage:

1. Build or Restock Your Emergency Kit

It’s a good idea to plan for a power outage of at least 72 hours. Consider preparing a duffle bag or plastic bin with the following items in case of an unexpected power outage:

    • Flashlights and new batteries
    • First-aid kit (in addition to the basics that come with standard first aid kits, remember to include: latex gloves, bandages, pain
      relief medication, extra prescription medications, saline solution, thermometer, antibiotic, burn ointment)
    • Bottled water
    • Non-perishable foods
    • Cash

Tip: Restock after Use

Remember to restock any items used after an emergency situation. Also, be sure to review the contents of this kit seasonally (add it to your spring and fall checklists) to avoid items expiring. Replace batteries – even though they may not have been used, it’s always best to ensure that a fresh set of batteries is included in your kit.


2. Invest in a Generator

Consult with an expert when choosing a generator for your home as this can often be a tricky process. If you plan to use a generator, make sure you install carbon monoxide alarms in the house

Tip: Leave Generators Outside

A generator should be installed outside the home to ensure proper ventilation and to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. It should never be running in the garage or any room in the house. Alternatively, you may want to invest in a portable power station which can be used to charge phones or run lights or a radio.


3. Make an Emergency Contact List and Family Plan

It’s important to put the phone number of your power company on your cell phone as well as numbers for any local authorities. Create a family emergency plan that outlines safe exits from the home, meeting places and designated roles for family members as this will make for a quicker and less stressful response in an emergency.

Tip: Print Your Emergency Contact List

It’s a smart idea to print and store a copy of your emergency contact list and family plan somewhere safe for easy access.


4. Safely Protect and Manage Electronic Devices

Have your phone fully charged if severe weather is on the way and invest in a portable phone charger so you don’t have to worry about using a power outlet to charge your device. Disconnect all surge-prone electronics i.e. laptops, TVs, certain home appliances such as toasters and microwaves before a storm hits as they can get damaged if the power spikes.

Tip: Surge Protectors

Consider using surge protectors for your key electronic devices.


5. Make Sure Your Freezer and Fridge Doors Shut Completely

Food can remain cool in a refrigerator for up to four hours and a freezer for up to 48 hours if fully stocked. If a freezer is only half-full, it may keep contents cold for up to 24 hours.

Tip: Purchase Bags of Ice

Tip: In the event of a power outage, purchase bags of ice and place them in your freezer to help keep temperatures down and preserve the food in there for a longer period of time.

6. Learn How to Manually Release Your Garage Door

If your garage door operates on power, make sure you’re aware of where the door’s release lever is located. It’s important to test it out manually without using the power function. You’ll need to know this if your car is parked in the garage and you want to access it during the power outage.

Tip: Keep Your Gas Tank Full

It’s essential to keep your car’s gas tank full in advance of any extreme weather conditions.

Don’t Forget To:

      • Listen to your local news on the radio for updates and instructions from officials
      • Turn off all appliances and electronic equipment
      • During a winter storm, drip both hot and cold water at faucets in kitchen and bathroom to help prevent frozen pipes from bursting

If you have questions or concerns about how a power outage may impact your comfort at home, or if your heating or cooling system is not working properly after an outage, call Reliance, 24/7/365 at 1-888-837-1451.

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