Tips for Surviving an Extended Home Power

Power outages are no stranger to Michigan, especially after the most recent storm that caused more than 260,000 outages in metro Detroit alone. The Dearborn Agency wants everyone to be safe during outages and plan ahead for future ones to reduce the negative impacts they may cause you. Here are some tips to make the situation less of a risk:

Prepare Supplies Before An Outage Occurs

There are a few steps you can take now that will make an extended power outage safer and easier:

  • If you can safely burn wood in a stove or fireplace, ensure you have plenty of dry firewood available.
  • Install battery-powered carbon monoxide and smoke detectors throughout your house and test them regularly.
  • Keep a written list of emergency numbers and addresses where you may be able to get help or access power in an outage.
  • Keep an analog thermometer in the freezer and refrigerator so you can monitor food temperature. Food in the freezer should be thrown out if it reaches 40 degrees or higher.
  • Keep batteries stocked for radios, flashlights, lanterns and any other battery-operated items you may need in an outage.
  • Keep nonperishable food and clean water (at least a gallon of water per person per day) readily available.
  • Keep plenty of blankets and warm clothes in an accessible location to ensure you stay warm if the power goes out during the winter.
  • Keep your cellphone charged and keep spare batteries on hand, or purchase a portable battery pack.
  • Make a habit of keeping your vehicle’s gas tank full.
  • Make a plan with your medical provider for any medical devices that rely on electricity.
  • Place flashlights with working batteries in offices, storage rooms, bedrooms and other easily accessible locations.

Each year, update and take stock of your emergency supplies to ensure food has not gone bad and batteries are still charged, etc.

Be Smart During An Outage

When the power is out, be strategic about what you do and what you use. Try to keep the refrigerator and freezer shut as much as possible so items can stay cold.

Refrigerator use. The refrigerator can stay below a safe temperature of 40 degrees for about four hours after the power goes out. Any refrigerated items that need to be cooked, such as raw meat, can be cooked on a gas stove or grill before 4 hours have passed. Minimize opening and closing the door to keep the cold in.

Freezer use. A freezer can keep a temperature of below 40 degrees for up to two days if it is full and kept shut. Keep the freezer closed and save frozen food items for later – as long as they remain below 40 degrees. If you have extra food, share it with neighbors rather than allowing it to go bad.

Using gas appliances. Cooking with gas is still possible during a power outage. However, if you are using an item that is meant to be used outside, such as a gas grill or camping stove, continue to use that item outdoors. Don’t use a gas stove to try to heat the house.

Generator use. Generators should also be used as safely as possible. They should only be run outside, at least 20 feet away from windows.

Make good food choices. Try to eat nonperishable foods during a power outage. Keep these foods stocked year-round, so you’re never at risk of running out of food.

Cellphone use. Your cellphone is an essential item in keeping you safe and getting you help if you need it. Put it in battery-saving mode and use it as little as possible to maintain your battery life.

Seek Out Locations With Electricity

If there is no way to heat or cool your home and weather becomes extreme, always seek shelter somewhere else where heating or cooling is available. Schools, churches and libraries are often used as shelters as they have generators in case of an outage.

You can also visit shelters to charge devices or get supplies. Take a power strip with you so you can charge multiple electronic devices at one time.

Protect Your Appliances and Electronics

Power outages can cause power surges and other damage when the power comes back on. To protect your appliances and electronics, either turn off the main circuit breaker or unplug all devices and appliances from the wall. Turn off all lights at switches.

You’ll be able to tell when the power comes back on when streetlights or other buildings near you have lights on.

Help Your Neighbors

During a power outage, keep an eye on those in your neighborhood, especially your neighbors. Check in with them and share food and supplies if needed. Its best to ensure everyone is safe and has the proper resources to stay that way.

A prolonged power outage can be a dangerous situation, but with some advanced planning, you can make it through until the electricity returns.

Contact The Dearborn Agency 313-562-8373