Radio & Energy

What To Do When The Power Goes Out

For most if not all of us, power outages may seem like a normal event, especially in the event of a major storm such as lightning or a blizzard.

That being said, even a ‘normal’ power outage is absolutely nothing that you want to take seriously.  Sure, there may be something wrong with the power lines or maybe the weather has caused it.

But even so, you don’t know how long the power outage is going to last.  And furthermore, if there is nothing wrong with the power lines or if there’s no bad weather going on, you have reason to be suspicious that something greater could potentially be afoul.

While the power outage may only last for a few hours, there’s also a chance that it could last for days or weeks, depending on the scenario.  If that happens, your resources are going to be stretched to the limit (especially if you poorly prepared and stocked up beforehand), so it’s important that you take action right away to prepare yourself for the upcoming days.

Here is a step-by-step process of what you need to do after the power goes out:

1 – Assemble The Items You Need

There are certain items you will want to have in your house at all times as preparation for a power outage.  These include an emergency radio, a backup phone, flashlights, and spare batteries.

2 – Unplug All Electronic Devices

This is one of the more well-known pieces of advice on what to do after a power outage. All laptops, desktop computers, tablets, phones, gaming systems, and TVs need to be unplugged after a power outage.  This way, if there’s a power surge, your electronic items will not become damaged in any way.

3 – Gather Water

A normal power outage isn’t really going to affect the water supply, but if the power outage is only the symptom of a larger grid down scenario, then the supply of water isn’t going to last much longer.

To be on the safe side, fill up all of your bathtubs and sinks with water.  If you do this early on, the water will be fully safe to drink as it’s just normal tap water.

4 – Find Out More Information

After you have completed the above three steps, your next course of action should be to find out more about the situation.

You need to try and contact your power company, and even if no one answers the phone, they should have a recording up that explains why the power is out and what the time is before it should be back up.  As a general rule, the power company will have the recording up around twenty minutes after the power has gone out, so be patient.

Alternatively, you can check the website or social media pages of your power company as well as to see any information that is posted.

Meanwhile, you can also go outside and look around to see things for yourself.  How widespread is the power outage?  Is it only affecting your house or is it affecting other homes in your neighborhood?  And if it’s affecting your entire neighborhood, what is the scope of it outside of that?

You can also speak with your neighbors to see if they know anything as well.  Speaking with your neighbors and staying in contact with them will actually help to reduce tension in the neighborhood.  In the event of an extended power outage, your neighbors should all be working together rather than against one another.

5 – Protect The Food In Your Freezer and Refrigerator

All the food that you have stored in your freezer and refrigerator is going to become vulnerable as a result of a power outage.  Everything should be fine for only a few hours without power, but for a few days, your food is at risk of going bad.

Always keep the freezer and refrigerator doors shut at all times and only open them with absolutely necessary.  Eat the food in your refrigerator BEFORE the food in your pantry so that nothing goes to waste.

If the outage ends up lasting several days, you can try to extend the life of the food in your freezer by filling up your coolers with ice and then placing the food in there.

As a general rule, food in a refrigerator should last fine up to five hours before food spoiling becomes a problem, and food in a freezer will last up to one to two days.

6 – Light Up Candles

Candles are the simplest solution to provide light around your house.  Since they can be an obvious safety issue, especially if you have small children, negate that by placing the candles inside Mason jars for at least some degree of protection.

While you’re lighting up candles, you should also disperse your flashlights amongst the members of your family.  A good rule to follow is to have a minimum of one flashlight in the house per family member, along with at least two rounds of spare batteries per flashlight.

7 – Run Your Generator

Do you have a generator on hand for situations such as this?  If so, now is the time to use it.  As preparation for a power outage beforehand, you’ll want to make sure that you have a healthy supply of gasoline on hand (a one week’s supply is a good base to shoot for).

8 – Secure Your Home

Thieves will take advantage of power outages to break into homes.  Secure your house by bringing your pets, kids, and any valuable possessions indoors, and lock all of the doors and windows shut as well.


The above steps are just basic actions and precautions that you will want to take in the event of a power outage.  Most power outages are not big deals, and it’s really only the unusually extended ones that last for several days or weeks that you need to worry a little about.

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