Advice & tips from Kelowna Electricians at Epic Electric
Who turned the lights out? No doubt we’ve all experienced a power outage before, probably a few times. Power outages affect millions of people every year. Sometimes the power is back on in minutes, but other times it’s a longer wait. Power outages can occur because of utility blackouts or severe weather conditions, such as thunder and lightning storms, snow and ice storms, or strong winds. Having a game plan can make dealing with outages easier. Here’s how to prepare for, and survive, a power outage.
EMERGENCY SUPPLY KIT
In preparation for a power outage or any emergency, every household should have a emergency supply kit that contains key items such as at least 3-days worth of easy-to-prepare non-perishable food (make sure to include a can opener); water enough for one gallon (3.8 litres) per person per day for at least three days; a battery-operated radio or television; a landline telephone or cell phone; a flashlight with extra batteries; blankets and warm clothing; and an emergency contact list of relatives or friends. A fully-stocked first aid kit is essential, including essential medications and required medical items, and if you have medication that needs to be refrigerated (e.g. insulin for diabetics), consult with your pharmacist for guidance on proper storage. People with special needs or who rely on medical equipment need to be extra prepared. Their emergency preparedness kit should include a list of places to go until power is restored, additional oxygen tanks, and if possible, a backup generator as an alternate power source.
BEFORE A POWER OUTAGE
After assembling your emergency supply kit, there’s more you can do to be prepared. Know the exact location of your main breaker so you can easily restore power if the problem is your breaker. Use surge protectors for valuable electronics. Keep a supply of wood on hand if you have a wood-burning fireplace. Know how to manually open or close your garage door or bypass your garage door opener. Consider installing a generator to provide power for must-run operations.
If you know a power outage may occur, take the initiative and get your emergency supply kit out. Turn off all household electronic devices as well as any heat-producing electric equipment such as toasters, irons, or electric stovetops. Get your flashlight out and turn off all the lights. This will help to stabilise the electric system when power is restored. If you’re in a public building stay out of the elevator and use the stairs instead.
DURING A POWER OUTAGE
During a power outage, there are many do’s and don’ts you need to be aware of. Use a flashlight instead of candles to prevent a fire hazard. Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to prevent food spoilage. If you have a generator, familiarise yourself with the necessary portable generator safety precautions. Do not connect the generator to your home’s electrical system. Instead, connect the electronic devices or appliances you want to the outlets on the generator. Listen to your local radio station or to a battery-powered television for power restoration updates. Use your landline or cell phone for emergencies only. If you need to cook, do so outside on a gas-powered BBQ. Never cook anything inside. Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. If you can’t avoid being on the road, use extreme caution, especially on roads without working traffic signals. Leave one light turned on in your home so you will know when the power is restored. After an outage, replenish any supplies you have used, restock or recharge any batteries, and throw out any food that has gone off in the fridge or freezer.
No place is immune from power outages, even the serene and beautiful Okanagan Valley. Storms, blackouts, or even a solitary rodent playing a dangerous game: a power outage can have many causes. Located in Kelowna and proudly serving the entire Okanagan Valley, Epic Electric is your expert team of electricians.