We've all experienced that sinking feeling when you realize the electricity has gone out and you aren't quite sure what to do next. According to a 2017 Eaton Study, nearly 37 million people were affected by 3,526 reported power outages in the United States alone. Whether a storm has knocked down a line or a curious raccoon fried a wire, the reality is that power outages are incredibly likely and preparing for them isn't just important, it's practical.
Don't be left in the dark, we've put together a short checklist of what to do when the power goes out.
1: Find Light
We sometimes take for granted that one of the most important and basic things electricity does for us is provide lighting so we can find our way around the house safely. The first thing to do after a power outage is carefully finding your way to your emergency kit or wherever you're keeping a flashlight or other light source.
Make sure the area you or your family is hunkering down in is well lit, especially if the power is out at night. Don't make a stressful situation worse with an injury from not being able to see where you're walking.
2: Conserve Power
This may seem like a no-brainer, but pulling out your phone to do just about everything is muscle memory these days. Remember that your phone can be an important communication tool with neighbors, loved ones, or the power company as well as help you stay informed of updates from local authorities or about weather changes.
Although some invest in backup power generators, one of the most practical ways to ease your mind about these first two steps is to invest in a charging light. Our Solar Charger + Light arrives fully charged for your first use, and can fully recharge from sunlight so you're never without a source of light or a place to re-charge your phone to stay connected and informed.
Charging packs are nice, but having the ability to re-charge just from sunlight is key.
3: Stay Informed
If you aren't sure why the power has gone out, try connecting with your local electricity provider via their website, social media, or a quick phone call. Reporting the outage to them helps identify affected areas and restore power quicker. Remember that many people may be trying to contact them and that automated systems are usually set up to keep customers informed. Take advantage of any automated alerts they may offer.
4: Kitchen Patrol
Hopefully the power is only out for a short time, but on the off chance it is out for several hours or even days, set a plan for the food in your fridge or freezer to know when it's safe.
The key here is that the more often you open and close the doors, the shorter the amount of time optimal temperatures can be held. If it seems like the power will be out for a while, make plans to consume or discard what you can.
Remember this isn't the time to longingly gaze into the refrigerator and with the power out, you'll want to have a light source nearby so you can get what you need quickly and keep the door closed as much as possible.
5: Stay Occupied
Time can feel like it's passing very slowly when the power goes out. It may seem silly, but including a deck of cards, paper and crayons, or other activities that don't require electricity in your emergency kit can really help reduce the stress of a power outage, particularly if you have little ones.
You'd be surprised what special memories you can make together as a family once you've made sure your family is safe and secure.
Looking for more?
Power outages from earthquakes or other major disasters generally last a long time. If you're looking for a more in-depth look at Surviving Without Power After an Earthquake, check out our blog post!
What do you usually do when the power goes out? We'd love to hear from our community of preparedness sharing more tips and recommendations to staying safe when the power goes out. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram and drop us a note!