What to Do When You Have a Power Outage

A power outage can affect any home. With the sudden loss of power, there’s no television, lighting, hot water, or any other amenity that requires electricity. An electrical outage isn’t just a surprise; it can be a dangerous situation. Blackouts have occurred this year in California for many reasons, from overloads during frequent heat waves to the outbreak of wildfires, some being among the largest in state history. When power shutoffs occur, they can last hours or even days, so you need to prepare in advance.

The tips below will help you improve safety and preparedness before, during, and after a power outage occurs:

How to Prepare for a Power Outage

Preparedness can keep you safe when the power goes out. You never know when a blackout may occur, but here’s how to prepare for one:

  • Prepare an emergency supply kit: Have a first aid kit handy and also stock up on emergency supplies such as non-perishable food, bottled water, and flashlights. Purchase extra batteries for flashlights so you don’t have to rely on candles, which are a fire hazard. A food cooler and manual can opener should be available. You should also have emergency electronics such as rechargeable battery packs for cellphones and battery-powered or crank radios.
  • Create a safety plan: In addition to a kit, create a plan that accounts for the safety of your family and pets (have a stock of supplies or know how they’ll be cared for). Also:
    • Have extra cash for when ATM’s, electronic registers, and card readers are down.
    • Fill your gas tank in case gas stations have no power.
    • Install battery backups for carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
    • Keep your mobile phone fully charged and have an extra charging cable handy.
    • Learn how to operate your garage door and gate manually.
    • Have a plan in place for how you’ll use powered medical devices and refrigerated medications.
  • Maintain backup power sources: Know how to safely connect and use a power generator and make sure it is in working condition. Also identify its electrical load rating. If you have a gas-powered backup generator, store extra fuel. Contact a licensed, certified electrician if you’re not familiar with the generator; they can safely install it for you.

What to Do During a Power Outage

In the event the power does go out, here are a few areas of safety to focus on:

  • Refrigerator: Only open refrigerator or freezer doors if absolutely necessary. This will preserve food for longer. A closed refrigerator can keep food cold for about 4 hours without electricity, while a freezer can provide 48 hours of cooling. Disconnect all your appliances and electronics; an electrical surge when the power comes back can cause serious damage.
  • Disconnect appliances/electronics: Doing so will avoid damage from electrical surges when the power is restored. However, leaving one lamp plugged in is helpful, as it can let you know when the power comes back.
  • Drink plenty of water: You should have several days’ worth of water—about one gallon per person, per day. If you don’t buy bottled water, fill jugs or soda bottles with water and keep them refrigerated. Otherwise, dehydration can occur quickly.
  • Check on neighbors: A lack of air conditioning, heating, or cooling can lead to extreme temperatures in homes; older adults and children are especially vulnerable, so check on them frequently to see if they need assistance. If temperatures are particularly extreme, consider relocating to a community center or other safe location.

What to Do After a Power Outage

Spoiled food is a common source of illness. If any food has been in temperatures of 40°F or higher for two hours or longer, throw it away. Also, discard anything that has changed color or texture, or that has an unusual odor. If you use refrigerated medication, discard it if the outage has lasted for more than 24 hours. Consult a doctor or pharmacist on what to do if a life depends on such a drug.

Contact Express Electrical Services

Available 24/7, Express Electrical Services works with customers throughout Los Angeles and Southern California. You can rely on us to provide electrical repair and emergency services so your wiring, fixtures, and appliances are safe to run. We can also help you prepare for a power outage by setting up your generator; or, we can find and fix the source of a blackout if it is isolated.

Electrical services are being provided during the coronavirus pandemic. Our electrical contractors are adhering to social distancing and use of PPE and sanitizers to ensure your safety. Call (855) 976-9049 to request service today.