Floridians face the 6th most frequent outages in the country and the longest average outage time, primarily due to hurricanes and other severe weather. Knowing what to do during (and before) a power outage is essential to keeping your family safe. United States Heating & Air Conditioning has served Floridians for over 30 years. In that time, we’ve picked up plenty of power outage safety tips that you can use whether you’re currently in a power outage or preparing for upcoming severe weather.
Power Outage Tips for Your Home
No matter the cause, you need to act immediately when your home loses power. This list is an excellent place to start, but in extreme weather, make sure you first and foremost listen to any advice from local emergency services, such as evacuation protocols. If the power outage is caused by an event that doesn’t require you to leave your home for safety, these tips can help you until the power returns.
Only Open Your Refrigerator and Freezer When Necessary
In a power outage, food safety is critical. Until you can go out and get new food, you will have to get by with what you have. When the power goes out, your refrigerator and freezer will stop working unless you have a backup generator. Although they will heat up naturally over time, keeping the door shut will keep your food cooler longer. Food in a refrigerator without power can last up to 4 hours, which might be enough time to wait out the outage.
Don’t Use a Stove to Try to Heat Your Home
If it’s cold outside, you’ll also be facing losing heat during a power outage. Using a gas oven or stove to heat a home could be tempting. However, without proper ventilation, this could lead to carbon monoxide and other gases leaking into your home, which can be harmful to your family’s health and increase fire risk.
Disconnect Appliances and Devices to Avoid Surges
Power surges, especially during storms, can damage your appliances and devices. You might think there isn’t a risk if there is no power, but you’ll still want to take the time to unplug any chargers, clocks, and especially computers and large appliances.
Have a Back-up Generator Installed
One of the best ways to combat these issues is to install a backup generator. Backup generators will turn on as soon as your power shuts off, preventing you from finding ways to manage your home during a power outage. The benefits of a backup generator include the following:
- Safe, reliable power, whether caused by an artificial problem (like a car accident taking out a transformer) or a natural disaster (like a hurricane).
- Automatic power when you need it. Your generator will kick on without you having to do anything, which is particularly useful when going outside to turn it on would be dangerous.
- Power for your most needed items, such as refrigeration, heating and cooling systems, and charging for phones and other devices that can be used to contact emergency services.