Power outages have been occurring around the world with increasing frequency. Some last only a few minutes while others drag on for over a week. The short ones can be a nuisance, but those that are long can be a major disruption that sometimes become life threatening. There are 7 things that you don’t want to do during a power outage.
- Don’t use candles. The fire hazard isn’t worth it – use a flashlight instead. If you feel you must use a candle then set it in the center of a table away from flammables and never leave it untended. Candle Safety
- Don’t open the refrigerator/freezer. Extended power outages are dangerous to food safety and increase the risk of food-borne illness. The risk is heightened in infants and seniors who are more likely to become seriously ill or die from food poisoning. By keeping the refrigerator and freezer closed you extend the amount of time that the food will stay at a safe temperature. A fully stocked refrigerator that isn’t opened should stay safe for 6 hours, while a fully stocked freezer should keep frozen for 2 days. Food Safety
- Don’t run a generator inside a building, not even a basement with windows open or an attached garage with the door open. Carbon Monoxide can kill even then. Generator Safety
- Don’t connect a generator to the houses electrical system. Doing so is very dangerous because it can backfeed into neighbors circuits. Backfeeding can electrocute neighbors and technicians working to restore power. Backfeeding Danger
- Don’t call 9-1-1 for information or to report the outage. In fact don’t make any unnecessary calls. Leave communication channels open to the authorities and anyone with an emergency issue. If you want to report the outage call the number that is on your electric bill. 911 for Emergencies Only
- Don’t use charcoal, gas, or propane heaters indoors. Doing so creates carbon monoxide poisoning and is also a fire hazard. Carbon Monoxide Danger
- Don’t touch or even go near a fallen power line. Even if they aren’t sparking or showing any other sign of life, they may have current running through them. Simply walking toward or away from downed power lines can get you seriously injured or killed by something called step potential Just stay away. Step Potential
Sometimes it is more important what you don’t do during an emergency than what you do. Be sure that you know how to use your generators, stoves, and other emergency gear safely. The last thing you want is to end up in a story on the news reminding people of what they don’t want to do during a power outage.