A power outage happens when the electric power goes out in an area. It might affect a whole city or just one household. It all depends on the cause for the power outage.
If your power is out, check out these local electric utility companies for more information or to report an outage:
Majority of power outages happen from severe weather. Normally when severe weather is involved, a large number of people will be be without power. Common severe weather includes severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and ice storms.
Overuse of power in an area can cause power outages as well. When everyone in the city wants to use their air conditioning due to a heat wave, a power outage can occur.
Power outages can happen at random too. A small animal or bird could accidentally cause a power outage. Squirrels are well known for power outages. Other animals that are known to cause an electrical disruptions include birds, raccoons, and sometimes snakes.
Power outages can happen due to equipment failure. Equipment failure can include a broken circuit or an old wire that needs to be replaced.
Public accidents are known to cause power outages. Vehicle or construction related accidents are quite common. If a vehicle runs into a power line with enough force, it can cause a lot of damage. If you happen to run into a power line or are in an accident where a power line goes down, check out this helpful video from Puget Sound Energy to keep yourself and others around you safe.
Make an emergency kit. Your kit should include first aid, flashlight, a hand-crank radio, and some extra batteries. Put your kit in an accessible place and make sure every member of the family knows where it is.
Extra food and water is extremely important during a power outage. Make sure you have enough food and water for at least three days and make sure the food you have is non-perishable.
Here is a list of great non-perishable food that will keep for a while:
- Granola bars
- Canned fruit and vegetables
- Beef jerky
Don’t forget your pets! They need food and water just as much as you will during a power outage. Be sure to have extra food, water, and toys available. You can even create an emergency kit for you pets.
During a power outage, don’t panic and use your resources wisely. Know where everyone in your household is and stay together. Use a flashlight rather than a candle to reduce the risk of a fire. If you are at home during a power outage, stay at home, do not attempt to go anywhere, especially if it city wide. Street lights could be out too making it difficult to travel. You may use a generator, but be aware of the risks associated with them. Here is a link from the American Red Cross on how to use a generator safely.
After a power outage, throw away food from your fridge or freezer if the power has been out for at least 2 hours. Inspect the house to see if there were any leaks or anything else that might have been messed up during the outage. Also, be sure to check any clocks or electronics and change them back to the correct setting if they lost power.
Here is more information on what to do after a power outage provided by Lowe’s.
Again, power outages happen for different reasons, but there are ways to prevent an outage in your own home. Unplugging electric items you are not using such as your TV, game consoles, or chargers will keep unnecessary power from being used. You can also reduce power and electricity usage by washing your clothes and dishes with cold water. This will save you money as well. Replace light bulbs with energy efficient ones to keep them from burning out faster. Be gentle with your air conditioning unit. You don’t need to blast the air to extreme temperatures when it is hot or cold outside. This will save you energy.
More information on what to do during a power outage can be found through the American Red Cross.
The American Red Cross has great resources on what to do during a power outage as well.
Check out actions you can take during a power outage at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Also, see our previous blog posts on power outages.
For more information on managing utilities, checkout our page Managing water, electric, and gas service in your home.