During a Power Outage

Fortunately, most blackouts last just long enough for you to enjoy a candlelight dinner. But in the wake of a violent storm or blizzard, it could be several days before the local utility gets power up and running again. Because there's no way of knowing how long the wait will be, assume the worst and prepare for a prolonged outage. Turn off most of the electrical devices that were running before the outage occurred. This makes it easier for power to be restored to the grid. If you have water pressure, fill containers for drinking and bathing. Fill the bathtub, too; you'll want plenty of water on hand if widespread power outages lead to a disruption in water service. If you have a private well system, save the water in the pressurized tank for drinking only — you won't be able to draw additional water until power is restored. If it's winter and your main source of heat is out, fire up the wood stove or fireplace if you have one. Never use a gas oven, unvented kerosene heater, or outdoor cooker for emergency heat. All three create toxic fumes. If you need to seek shelter elsewhere during cold weather, keep a steady trickle of water flowing from each faucet to keep the pipes from freezing. Open refrigerator and freezer doors only when necessary. Frozen food will stay below 40°F for up to three days, even in summer, if the door stays shut. If you use a generator for power, follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid overloading the generator. Be sure extension cords are rated to handle the amperage draw of the tool or appliance you're powering. The thicker the cord and the lower its gauge rating, the better. If the generator is connected directly to the house wiring, disconnect your house from the grid by turning off the main breaker or removing the main fuse. By disconnecting your home, you protect utility workers doing repairs from being shocked by power from your generator.
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