Many homeowners or apartment dwellers lose electricity from time to time. Power surges, severe storms, electrical shortages, and other causes may lead to the disruption of power that runs many appliances in a residence. As a result, your lights may go out suddenly, and you will not be able to cook on an electric stove, read electric clocks, turn electrically-powered radios or televisions, or operate the computer.
Rather than waiting to see if this will ever happen to you, take steps now to plan for a power outage to minimize possible negative effects:
- Have a plan. Inform all household members about what they should do during a power failure. If it occurs at night, they need to know what to do for alternative lighting. Make sure each family member knows where flashlights are kept. Adults should be able to find and light candles or kerosene lamps as well as battery-operated appliances. You may want to designate a meeting area, like the family room, if the electricity goes out suddenly, leaving everyone in the dark.
- Keep alternative illumination on hand. Stock flashlights for every room ideally, or at least one or two for every floor of the home. Every family member should know where to find them, along with replacement batteries if needed. Change the batteries every six months when clocks are adjusted during the seasonal time switch. If your dwelling is large or there are outdoor chores to do at night, keep kerosene lamps or large battery-operated lamps for more extensive use.
- Stash several gallon containers of drinking and washing water. If the electric goes out, homes that pump well water for use may find that the pump will stop working, leaving them without water after the tank runs dry. In addition to drinking water or enough to wash hands and face, you will need water to flush the commode when the water pump stops working. Keep a gallon or two of water in all bathrooms for this purpose, and sealed containers of water for drinking use in the kitchen or pantry.
- Don’t store valuables in areas that are likely to flood. In a power outage, water can back up in the basement and cause flooding. Either find a way to provide alternative power to keep the water pump working or plan for possible flooding when the electricity fails. Don’t lay carpet or keep good furniture in the area where water damage may occur.
- Consider investing in a generator. Operated by gasoline that you also should keep on hand in the garage, a generator can keep basic appliances like the water pump or furnace running during a power outage. It won’t be able to operate all electrical appliances, but it can manage the basic needs that will keep household members safe, warm, and dry.
In the little more than a hundred years, most of the world has come to depend on daily electricity for operating basic living appliances. Don’t be taken by surprise when that vital commodity fails temporarily.