What You Should Do When The Power Goes Out During Extreme Weather Conditions

Posted on: 30 August 2016

No area of the country is safe from extreme weather. From droughts to floods and tornadoes to blizzards, bad weather can wreak havoc on power lines. In fact, weather-related power outages have drastically increased from about 5 to 20 a year in the mid 1990s to 100 a year in 2011. And climate changes and more frequent extreme weather conditions are contributing to this alarming increase in power outages. Since weather is unpredictable, it's very important that you know what to do when the lights go out.

Call Your Local Electrician

The first step you should take is to make a phone call to your local electrician. This is only possible if you have a cell phone or access to another phone that is in operation, since most land lines won't work when the power goes out. Although the electrician can't always help you when you lose power due to inclement weather, the sooner you're on the service list, the quicker you'll get the electrician to come to your home and inspect for damages once the power has been restored.

Be Cautious Of Candles

One of the first things most homeowners do in a power outage is grab a bunch of candles and light them up around the house. But this may not be the best idea. The National Fire Protection Association reports that fire departments responded to about 9.300 house fires started by candles per year, between the years of 2009 and 2013. If you decide to burn candles when the lights go out, make sure they are far away from curtains and other hanging material. It's also best to keep candles away from wood surfaces. Instead, consider placing a burning candle in the middle of your stove top or next to your bathroom sink.

Here are a few more things you can do:

  • Have a battery-operated radio so you can listen to the news. This will give you an idea as to when the storm will be over and power will be restored.
  • Unplug all your appliances and electronics, except for one item. This will prevent a power surge from damaging devices when the power does come back on. It will also quickly alert you when the power returns.
  • Evacuate your home immediately if you smell gas.
  • Make sure several responsible people in the home know where the fusebox is and how to turn the circuit breakers on and off. Even better, label and map each breaker to its relevant room or appliance.

If power has been restored but something isn't working properly, call your local licensed electrician right away. He or she will be able to assess the situation and fix your electric problem.