Preparing for a Power Outage

We have prepared a list of Safety, Security, and Health issues that you should use to prepare for a power outage.

Safety Issues

Purchase needed items for your home, office and car including: flashlights, batteries, AM/FM battery-powered radio, rechargeable power failure lights, wind up or battery alarm clock.

Have a 72-hour emergency kit for each family member.
Keep cash and change on hand. In power failures ATMs may not work and you may need to go outside.
Phones with answering machines and cordless phones are power dependent. Have at least one phone that does not require power in case you need to call an emergency service. Keep your cell phone powered up.

Familiarise yourself with your main electrical panel. You may have to turn off the main breaker or have to reset circuit breakers after an outage.
If you use candles for lighting, place them on a fire-proof surface.

Make sure you have smoke detectors in appropriate rooms. Change the batteries regularly, preferably every 6 months, and test them monthly. If your smoke detectors are wired directly into the electrical system of your home they will not operate during a power failure unless the batteries are working. Special smoke detectors are available for people with hearing impairment.

Have a fire extinguisher and know how to operate it. Have a fire evacuation plan and practice fire drills.
During the power outage, unplug all small appliances and electronics to avoid damage from power surge.

Leave one low wattage incandescent light on so you know when the power comes back on.
When power comes back on you may have to reset your clocks, VCRs, microwave ovens, programmable thermostats, burglar and fire alarms.

Security Issues

Have a plan for checking on and reuniting family members.
Stay home and be safe during a power outage. Gas stations may be closed. Don’t add to the confusion by driving around.

During an area-wide power outage, traffic signals may be out. If so, remember the intersection becomes a 4-way Stop.

Watch for suspicious activity. Criminals may decide to take advantage of the power outage. Always call 15 if you notice suspicious activity.
Health Issues

Focus on children’s needs. Provide flashlights for each child that they can keep by their bed and in their backpacks. Discuss living without electricity and how the outage is usually short term.
Elderly people and people with disabilities who are on power-dependent medical devices should arrange for backup power with their vendors.

People who are medically dependent on electricity may need portable generators. Safely store fuel only in approved containers, outside, never in garages. Operate generators only outside, ensuring that exhaust will not enter the home through vents or windows. Plug appliances directly into the generator using heavy-duty extension cords. NEVER attach generators to home main wiring.

Have a first aid kit in your home, office, and car. Take first aid and CPR training.
Be a good neighbour and check on any neighbours with special needs: elderly people, people with disabilities, and children who are home alone during a power outage. They may need your help.

By: Nabeel Niaz

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