A power outage may happen due to bad weather, defective equipment, or other factors. A response plan will help keep employees safe, secure, and productive when the lights go out. Practice your response plan by conducting regular emergency drills and simulations. Also, remember to stay away from downed wires. Follow instructions from public safety officials and the media.
Prepare for the Outage
So, what should I do when a power outage occurs? There are many things you can do to prepare for a power outage. You can stock up on supplies, like flashlights and batteries, and create an emergency kit for your home or office—foster relationships with local utility providers and emergency services so they can provide valuable support in challenging situations. Encourage your workers to work from home (provided they have adequate IT protections to prevent gaps) so they aren’t tied to a single workplace and can stay productive regardless of the circumstances.
Turn off your lights and unplug any appliances when the power goes out. A power surge when the power comes back on could damage them. Make sure to check on your neighbors’ homes to see if they have control. Suppose they don’t call the electric company to report an outage in your area. Don’t use your phone excessively; the last thing you want to do in a power outage is waste battery. Additionally, keeping the doors closed on the freezer and refrigerator will keep things cool.
Stay Away From Downed Power Lines
The lines that bring electricity into our homes and businesses are vulnerable to extreme weather events. Power lines can fall and become energized, making them dangerous to touch. If you see a downed line, assume its existence and stay away. You can get shocked if you come into contact with it. When a downed line touches something like a tree, fence, or car, it becomes energized and sends electricity through that object and into you. Stay clear of downed lines and warn others to do the same.
It is better to stay inside your car and dial 911 if your vehicle collides with a downed electrical line. If a circumstance requiring you to leave the vehicle puts your life in danger, jump out. When you do, shuffle or hop away from it with both feet touching the ground, avoiding any contact with the vehicle while moving. Honk your horn to help others around you notice and avoid the area. It can save lives. It would help to remember that downed lines can energize other objects like water pipes, fences, buildings, bushes, and even maintenance hole castings and reinforcement bars on the sidewalk.
A power outage may result from storms, equipment failure, or fallen trees. It can affect everything from your home’s heating or air conditioning to lights and appliances. A prolonged outage can even close businesses, cause food spoilage, and leave you without water. An emergency response plan and supplies kit can minimize the impact of a power outage, whether for just a few hours, a day, or more. A family emergency plan is important so everyone knows what to do and where to go in case of an outage.
Keep a list of emergency contacts close to hand, and think about signing up for text alerts from your utility and local government to stay informed. Be aware that when the power is restored, there could be a surge of electricity that can damage sensitive electronics, electrical appliances, and computers. To avoid damage from this surge, unplugging or turning off your appliances and electronics would be beneficial. Also, please do not touch exposed or downed wires!
Turn Off All Appliances
A power outage can create several problems. Food may spoil, water pipes can freeze, and the ability to use electronics such as computers may be disrupted. Take the following steps to prepare for a power outage: Unplug all appliances that will not be needed in a power outage. Unplugging non-essential equipment prevents them from restarting unattended when the power returns. It includes all cooking appliances, kerosene lamps, and candles (per university housing contracts, they are prohibited in DRL rooms).
Many electrical devices continue to consume energy even when turned off. These are energy vampires, including any device with a clock or LCD screen, such as televisions, cable boxes, monitors, and PCs. They will go into sleep or standby power mode instead of turning completely off. Grip the main fuse block handle firmly and steadily with one hand while pulling outward to turn off the electricity to these appliances. It will pop free from the service panel and contain cylindrical cartridge fuses that can be replaced with exact duplicates.
Prepare for a Shelter-In-Place
If a short- or no-notice hazardous materials event, extreme weather emergency, or other emergency arises, you may be instructed to shelter in place. It is the safest option when evacuation or exposure to outside contaminants would be life-threatening. You can best listen to the radio or television for instructions during this time. If the recommendation is to shelter in place, do so immediately. Seal all doors, windows, and vents to prevent contamination from entering your home or work environment.
Go to an interior room with no windows, preferably above ground level. Stay there until the all-clear is given or evacuation orders are issued. Have a full freezer and a half-full refrigerator ready with food until power is restored. If you have a generator, keep it outdoors and never run it inside a garage or partially enclosed area. Generators produce poisonous carbon monoxide that can kill you if inhaled. Also, be prepared to use propane lanterns and stoves for lighting and cooking.