Winter Safety: What to Do and Not to Do During a Power Outage

Photo by Kelly L from Pexels

The winter season is coming, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made its predictions, confirming that the US will experience La Niña from December to February next year. So what does that feel like on the ground? The federal forecasters said there could be more wildfires in California, increased snowfall in some parts of the country, and colder and wetter in the northern region.

All of these are a threat to electrical equipment and power lines, causing power outages. Without a steady heat supply during these colder months, not only your family but your home can suffer from fire, dampness, damage to your plumbing system, walls, floors, etc. In other words, it can result in stressful and expensive property damage.

Planning ahead of time is the most effective way to prevent any damage. It could include preparing an emergency survival kit, stocking non-perishable food and water, and pre-winter home maintenance. Here are safety tips and don’ts during a winter power failure to protect your family and home:

1. Ensure That An Overloaded Circuit Breaker Does Not Cause it

First and foremost, check your breaker, power lines, and fuses if the power failure only occurs in your house. If it’s possible and safe to do, look through your window to see your neighbors’ home. If they don’t seem to have power, you may have just experienced a power outage. Otherwise, immediately call an electrician if it only occurs in your home.

Photo by Taryn Elliott from Pexels

2. Stay Warm

Wear layers, huddle under extra blankets, and stay in a confined space. Body temperature is critical to staying warm, and you want to keep your natural heat as long as possible. It helps to hang blankets on the windows to draw in heat.

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Keep your windows and doors closed. If there are no materials available, use towels, duct tape, or clear plastic sheeting to seal your drafts around your windows. If necessary, move to your basement that is maybe more insulated.

3. Keep Your Refrigerator Closed to Avoid Food Spoilage

Your food can stay frozen for up to 24 to 26 hours if you keep your freezer or refrigerator doors closed. If they start to thaw, you can add snow and ice from outside.

4. Stay Safe from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Never use camping stoves, barbecues, and gas generators indoors to heat your home because they can produce harmful gas. Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to sudden illness and even death. Also, properly clean your fireplace and chimney, and ensure that your flue is open before using.

If you plan on staying inside your car to keep warm, open your garage door to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

5. Avoid Using Candles

While it may be the best option, avoid lighting candles, especially if you have small children or pets. They or even you could accidentally tip these candles and start a fire in your home. Instead, always make it a habit to stash flashlights in specific areas around your home. Check them regularly to ensure the batteries still work in times like these.

6. Protect Your Home from Additional Damage

Unplug all appliances, including your televisions, washers and dryers, fans, lights, computer, equipment, etc., especially if they were in use before the power went out. Leave one light switch, so you will know when the power returns. Reduce the risk of burst pipes by turning your faucets on a slow drip. Even if the water is moving at a trickle, running water is more difficult to freeze.

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Once the power comes back, carefully assess the damage to your home and see what repair works you can do. If you notice pooling water, contact a water damage restoration company, such as PuroClean.