8 tips for what to do if there’s a power outage

Living near Atlanta, we’re lucky that we’re not faced with too many natural disasters. We get the odd tornado warning (and actual tornado – remember 2008?) and sometimes some ice during the winter, but we typically don’t get hit by hurricanes, mudslides, wildfires, and the like. But even so, we’re not immune to power outages. Though we may not get hurricanes, we still get severe storms with heavy rain, which can knock out the electricity. We also have very hot summers. The heat puts a strain on the power supply as the air-conditioners blast away, and that strain can also cause a power outage.

Anyways, the point is that you need to be prepared for what to do if the power does kick off all of a sudden. It’s important to stay safe and be prepared – there are some things that you should and should not do if you’re suddenly plunged into darkness when a power outage strikes.

1. Don’t play with matches.

Use flashlights. Repeat: use flashlights. Candles have a nasty habit of getting knocked over and catching things on fire, as if you didn’t already have enough to deal with! You don’t want to risk any singed fingers or hair. Plus, candles are messy.

2. Power down.

If the power goes out, it’s a good idea to unplug your electronic devices. This might seem counterproductive. The power’s already out, so why bother unplugging things or turning them off? Well, you want to protect them from potential frying from a power surge.

3. Keep the fridge shut tight.

To keep your food cool and edible for as long as possible, keep the doors to your fridge and freezer closed. Try to avoid opening them if you can. The goal is to keep your food fresh by trapping the cooler air inside.

Note: If anyone in your family takes medication that needs to be kept refrigerated, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist ahead of time about what you should do if you have a power outage. Next time you’re at an appointment, try to remember to ask them.

4. Be smart with your generator.

First rule: keep the generator outside. Generators can throw off carbon monoxide, which can be deadly. Don’t put it in the house.

Second rule: be safe when you’re using the generator!

5. Stay informed.

Use a radio that’s powered by battery to listen to any updates about the power outage. 

6. Mind the weather.

Power outages tend to happen at the least opportune times. Do what you can to stay comfortable even if the weather is not great.

7. Take care of the pets.

Your pets still need clean, fresh water and kibble. Make sure to give them what they need during the power outage – they’re probably confused by the commotion! Fido will thank you.

8. Keep things fun.

If the power goes out, remain calm. Don’t panic at the loss of electronics. Believe it or not, there are fun things to do that don’t require electricity or wi-fi – who knew? When the power goes out, break out the old board games and have at it. You can dig out a book you’ve been meaning to read and use a flashlight. You can draw or doodle. You can do crafts. You can play charades. You’re not going to waste away from lack of computers and cell-phones. These devices will betray you and run out of battery sooner or later.

If you live in Atlanta, you know that power outages happen. When everything goes dark, don’t panic. Stay safe. Try to keep informed about what’s going on, don’t light any candles, and don’t bring the generator inside. Use the time to have fun and bond with your family. You’ll find a way to stay entertained.

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