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Saturday, 15 October 2011

What To Do In a Power Outage

In an age where most of what we do requires electricity, power outages can be a serious hassle. You can save yourself a lot of trouble by knowing how to prepare for a power outage and how to react when the power goes. In Canada, power outages often occur during times of peak power usage. These often coincide with the coldest times of the year, so it is especially important to be on your guard.

Before a Power Outage
  • Prepare a power outage kit ahead of time, and store it in an easy to reach place; you may need to find it in the dark. In your kit, include: 
    • Plenty of bottled water (enough for each person in your house for a few days)
    • Packaged easy-to-eat food 
    • Cash 
    • Flashlights with batteries, or crank-powered flashlight
    • Radio with batteries, or a crank-powered radio
  • Keep a package of ice stored in the freezer. You can use it to keep perishable foods cold. 
  • Keep a thermometer in the fridge -- when the power returns, if the temperature is below 4.4 degrees Celsius, your food is safe.  
During a Power Outage
  • Avoid using candles to illuminate your surroundings. Health Canada considers them particular dangerous and estimates that 800 serious fires are started each year in Canada by candles. 
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliances that were on before the power went out. This could include computers, air conditioner units, refrigerators, and ovens. When the power returns, it may come back in "surges" that can destroy valuable equipment. 
  • Turn off all the lights in the house except one, so that you know when the power returns. 
  • Try not to open your fridge and freezer during an outage, as it can speed up the process of spoiling food inside. 
  • Listen to the radio for updates. 

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