Are You Ready for the Next One? How to Prepare for a Power Outage.

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The power has just gone out and you are stumbling around the house looking for a flashlight. The large maple dresser that has sat in your room for a decade is suddenly invisible – and you stub your toe. Ouch! Sound like a familiar scenario? Likely you have experienced a number of power outages in your life and they are usually nothing more than a temporary inconvenience. However, If you are not prepared, prolonged power outages can limit your ability to heat your home, cook and prepare food, convey or receive information from the outside world and perform other necessary daily tasks.

Here are a few simple precautions that can minimize the frustration and more importantly ensure that your family remains safe.

Before:

  • Prepare an emergency kit.
  • Keep at least one flashlight and spare batteries in a designated location on each floor of your home.
  • Use surge protectors to protect your electronics such as computers and televisions.
  • Know the location of the circuit breaker or fuse box in your home. Keep it clearly labeled.
  • Keep your cell phone charged. Have at least one corded phone in your home. (Most cordless phones will not work in a power outage.)
  • Consider purchasing a back-up generator. Read and follow all accompanying safety instructions!

During:

  • Turn all lights off except one inside and one outside to serve as notification when the power has been restored. Turn off appliances and electronic equipment.
  • Never leave lit candles unattended.
  • Try to avoid opening the fridge and freezer doors to keep the contents cold as long as possible.
  • Listen to your battery powered radio for updates from local authorities.
  • If you venture outside, stay far away from any damaged or fallen power lines.

After:

  • Initially turn on only essential lights or appliances. Wait 15 minutes before turning on other items.
  • Return/replace items that you have removed from your emergency kit. Place flashlights back in their designated locations.
  • Check food and discard any compromised items.
  • Reset clocks and alarms.

What if a power outage occurs while you are out of town …

No problem, right?  Not really.  If the power outage was lengthy enough, the food in your freezer could have thawed, spoiled and then refrozen when the power came back on.  This could lead to you unknowingly consuming spoiled food.  How can you avoid this scenario?

Place a clear zip-top bag containing ice cubes into your freezer.  Upon returning home from a trip, check to make sure that the individual cubes are still intact.  If they are not, and you are instead greeted by a solid mass of ice, you will know that the contents of your freezer thawed during a power outage and then refroze.

Being prepared for a power outage is much like being prepared for any unexpected event in life. A little advance planning can often take much of the sting out of the unpleasant event. The same is true of insurance. Having adequate insurance will not prevent an accident, flood or any other disaster – but it can certainly lessen the blow and get you back on your feet much faster! Talk to us today about your personal insurance needs. We’re here to help.

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