Summer is the season for grill outs, days on the lake, baseball games—and power outages. Power outages are more frequent in the summertime due to powerful summer thunderstorms and electrical systems overloaded by an increased demand for power. Power outages usually only last for a few minutes or a couple of hours, but it’s still a good idea to know how to respond in order to protect your family and your home.
The following tips will help you safely survive a summer power outage:
- Find out whether your neighbors’ electricity is also out. If it is only your home, check your fuse box. The problem may be a tripped switch or blown fuse. If your neighbors’ power is also out, call your local electricity provider to report the problem.
- Unplug all electrical devices, including televisions, kitchen appliances, and air conditioners. This will protect your devices from damage if there is an electrical surge when the power comes back on. Leave one lamp plugged in so that you know immediately when power is restored.
- Avoid opening your refrigerator or freezer while the power is out. This will trap the cold air inside and keep your food from spoiling. Without power, your refrigerator will stay sufficiently cool for 4 hours and your freezer will remain cool for up to 48 hours. If you have a digital thermometer on hand, you can monitor the temperature to ensure food safety. Dairy products, meat, poultry, and eggs are safe to consume at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- Consider installing a standby generator to supply power to your home in the event of a power outage. Especially in the summer, having a generator to keep your air-conditioning running can make enduring an outage not only more comfortable, but more safe.
- If the power outage lasts more than a few minutes, make sure you take additional safety precautions to prevent heat-related illness. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, wear light, loose-fitting clothing, and seek shelter in a cool place such as a basement.