Power Outages – Why they happen and what to do about them.

Power outages can happen at any time and without warning. Despite hard work and maintenance efforts, power outages still occur, namely due to Mother Nature. Storms, with their strong winds, ice and snow, can cause widespread power outages. Lightening can also cause outages when it strikes towers, wires and poles. Small animals such as birds and squirrels and overgrown trees coming in contact with power lines can cause short circuits. Heat waves, like those often seen during the summer in Texas, can cause unusually high power demands and lead to outages.

But, a power outage does not have to be a scary experience!

If the Lights Go Off

The first thing to do is determine whether it is really a power outage or a problem with your own breaker. Check your main electric panel. If you have blown a fuse or tripped a breaker, one or more of the switches may be turned off. Simply turn it back on and power should be restored.

Turn Off Your Appliances

There are two options for turning off your appliances:

Unplug them one by one, leaving one light on to let you know electricity has been restored.

Turn off your main circuit breaker to ensure that you do not overlook anything. You will have to keep an eye on streetlights outside to let you know that power has been restored.

When power returns, there will be a surge of electrical energy that could damage sensitive equipment like computers, TVs or VCRs. Restarting appliances can use almost double the amount of electricity that they use when running normally. When the main switches are re-energized, this demand can cause breakers to trip. It helps if you don’t have all your appliances waiting to draw power the instant it is restored.

Lights

Yes, of course you have a flashlight. Could you find it in the dark? Do you have extra batteries?

Prepare kids for power outages by playing a “lights-out” game to find the flashlight.

Keep candles and matches on hand. Have solid, stable holders for them. Have a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it.

Stay Cool

If the outage is likely to be prolonged, and the weather is hot, prepare to stay cool as your house heats up:

Drink plenty of water—your body stays cool more efficiently when well hydrated.

Keep an eye on young children and the elderly for signs of heat exhaustion. Call 9-1-1 in case of a medical emergency.

Think Safety

Do not run extension cords to the home of a neighbor who still has power. It is a fire hazard.

And, always notify us if there is ever a service problem in your area!

Thank you flickr user ul_Marga for the candle picture.