During winter months, storms can quickly occur causing many problems. There can be high winds, flooding, and more that cause power outages. Here are some tips to help you cope if this occurs.
When an Outage Occurs
Your property manager cannot control power outages and the restoration of service. The best source is to call your electric company directly to find what the problem is and what they are doing. Be realistic when talking with them – many people are experiencing the same problems and the utility companies normally are working around the clock. They will handle emergencies first and then restore power as quickly as possible.
Radios, Flashlights, Telephones
To prepare for an outage you should have battery-powered radio, clocks, cellular telephone, and flashlights available. Find out the best radio channels for important warnings and news. Be sure you have plenty of batteries for all devices. Many of the newer telephones will not work without electricity, so if you have a cell phone, keep it charged.
Because most furnaces need electricity, they will not operate during an outage. Make sure you have doors and windows properly closed to avoid drafts and loss of heat. If using backup heat sources, check for safety and approved indoor use, and follow instructions carefully. If you have a fireplace, keep an ample supply of dry firewood in an accessible place. Do not burn charcoal in your fireplace - it releases carbon monoxide, which is an odorless and deadly gas.
Food and Water
If you are anticipating any storm, stock at least three days of non-perishable food and water. It is important to stay hydrated at all times. Do not bring outdoor BBQ grills inside to cook food – this is dangerous and this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and toxic fumes as well.
To help prevent food from spoiling when an outage occurs, keep the refrigerator or freezer closed as much as possible. Every time you open the door, you let in warm air. Adding ice to your refrigerator and dry ice to your freezer will help keep them cold.
Unplug or turn off major appliances - such as washers, dryers, computers, TVs, irons, and stoves. Several appliances coming back on at the same time may overload circuits, which could cause a fire hazard if you are away or asleep. Leave a single light on to alert you when they restore power.
Trees and Power Lines
If you have tree branches that are growing too close to overhead electric lines or are in danger of falling on an electric line, call your property manager and report your findings. Do not attempt to handle the branches in this situation.
If you see a downed wire, treat it as if it is live or carrying electric current, and stay away. Keep children and animals away as well. If a power line falls on your car, stay in the car. If you must leave it, jump out with your feet together and clear the car so that no part of your body is touching the car when your feet hit the ground. If someone else is in a car that has a downed wire on it, do not touch the car, call 9-1-1.
Remember, there is nothing anyone can do to prevent bad weather. By planning and taking precautions, you can reduce the discomfort of the situation and increase your safety.