Heed these five tips to keep your home and family safe.
Power outages can happen at any time of year. Whether it’s 90 or -9 degrees outside, tornadoes, strong rain, snow and ice storms can snap power lines, leave your family in the dark and cause a need for storm damage repair to your home. However, power outages can be more than just an inconvenience. They can also pose a health and safety risk to your family. Here’s a list of five key ways to be prepared and keep your family safe should in a power outage.
- Have a family emergency plan. Every family should work through an emergency preparedness checklist to create an emergency plan. You should designate a storm shelter inside the house, such as a basement, as well as a designated safe place to meet outside the house, in case it’s impossible to be inside the house.
- Prepare an emergency kit. Every household should have an emergency kit, and everyone should know where it is. In order to be prepared for a power outage, you should, at a minimum, have several flashlights (and/or a head lamp), flameless candles and extra batteries for all of these things. You should also have at least a gallon of drinking water per family member on hand. It’s a great idea to keep a flash charger for your cell phone charged up so you can extend your phone’s battery during a power outage. Additionally, consider keeping a weather radio in your designated storm shelter.
- Beware of carbon monoxide. If you experience frequent power outages, you might consider getting a generator. However, you must take care to run the generator outside only; never run it in an enclosed area, including a garage. Generators emit carbon monoxide which is a colorless, odorless and very dangerous gas. It can pose a real threat to your family’s safety. You should also exercise caution if you’re trying to use your fireplace to heat your home—never leave it burning unattended.
- Unplug electrical equipment and avoid standing water. This is particularly important if you leave your home during a power outage, as your home might experience a strong power surge when the electricity comes back on. You can leave a light or two on, but definitely unplug things like your television and small kitchen appliances.
If a heavy storm has caused a flooded basement or standing water anywhere in your home, do not enter those rooms to unplug anything! Instead, keep all family members and pets out of the area, and call your local property damage restoration company immediately. They’ll send an experienced professional to assess the situation. You will also need to have the water removed properly to avoid the need for mold remediation in the future.
- Keep the fridge closed. If you don’t open your fridge at all, it’s possible that most everything in there will stay at a safe temperature for four to six hours, maybe more. Opening it even once or twice will cause the temperature to rise much more rapidly. When the power does come back on, check everything in your fridge immediately, particularly dairy products. Use a food thermometer to check these items if you have one. Anything that temps between 40 and 140°F is in the “temperature danger zone” established by the USDA, and should be tossed. When in doubt, throw it out.
When strong storms take out your power and disrupt your life and your schedule, or cause damage to your home that results in the need for storm damage repair or personal property restoration, it can be a hassle, but the most important thing is that everyone in your family is safe. Staying ahead of potential problems related to power outages and storm damage is the best bet for minimal disruption.
If you find yourself in need of board-up or property restoration service from a strong storm, or if you experience water damage from a flooded basement, structural damage, roof damage, or fire and smoke damage, the compassionate, experienced and trusted restoration experts at Hays + Sons are just a phone call away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.