How to Handle a Power Outage

Twelve years ago, an ice storm blew across Kentucky, causing the state’s largest recorded power outage. According to the National Weather Service, roughly 609,000 Kentucky homes lost power for days and even weeks. If the storm taught us anything, it’s to always be prepared to lose electricity. Look over the following tips and make sure you know what to do the next time power goes out in your home.

 

Get ready.

 

Always have an emergency kit handy. Collect a supply of nonperishable food, flashlights, fresh batteries, first aid items, water, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, blankets, etc. Install working carbon monoxide detectors on every floor, as well.

 

If you or anyone in your household has extensive medical needs, then talk to your doctor about how to manage medical devices during the power outage. You will also need to know how long refrigerated medications will last at higher temperatures.

 

Unplug electrical devices.

 

Disconnect your appliances and electronics. This will protect them from power surges when electricity returns.

 

Be careful with food.

 

One of the most important rules in a power outage is to keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible so your food will last longer. A fridge can keep food cold for up to four hours if the door stays closed, and a freezer can do the same for up to 48 hours. Therefore, eat food from your refrigerator first and then move to items stored in your freezer. If the outage lasts longer than 48 hours, you should move to nonperishable foods. You can also store food in coolers with ice if you have the option.

 

Watch out for carbon monoxide poisoning.

 

Only use generators, camp stoves, and charcoal grills outside and at least 20 feet away from windows. Also, never try to heat your home with a gas stovetop or an oven.

 

Clean up carefully.

 

After a power outage ends, avoid downed power lines while cleaning up debris from your property. Stay away from electrical outlets, appliances, and circuit-breaker boxes that may have been damaged by water. If a storm caused the outage, call your Hibbs agent to discuss a home insurance claim that may cover destruction on your property.