Here are some important safety tips for short term blackouts from the American Red Cross:
Top Safety Tips for a Blackout
- Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Never use candles!
- Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.
- Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.
- Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.
- If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system.
- Listen to local radio and television for updated information.
What Do I Do During A Blackout?
Turn off or disconnect any appliances, equipment (like air conditioners) or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, it may come back with momentary "surges" or "spikes" that can damage equipment such as computers and motors in appliances like the air conditioner, refrigerator, washer, or furnace.
Leave one light turned on so you'll know when your power returns.
Leave the doors of your refrigerator and freezer closed to keep your food as fresh as possible. If you must eat food that was refrigerated or frozen, check it carefully for signs of spoilage. See the Red Cross brochure called, "Help The Power Is Out" for more information.
Use the phone for emergencies only. Listening to a portable radio can provide the latest information. Do not call 9-1-1 for information -- only call to report a life-threatening emergency.
Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic signals will stop working during an outage, creating traffic congestion.
Remember that equipment such as automated teller machines (ATMs) and elevators may not work during a power outage.
If it is hot outside, take steps to remain cool. Move to the lowest level of your home, as cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty. If the heat is intense and the power may be off for a long time, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall, or "cooling shelter" that may be opened in your community. Listen to local radio or television for more information. Get more tips on the preparing for a heat wave.
Remember to provide plenty of fresh, cool water for your pets.
If it is cold outside, put on layers of warm clothing. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (relative, friend, or public facility) that has heat to keep warm.
Energy Conservation Recommendations
- To conserve power to help avoid a blackout, the power industry recommends:
- In heating season, set the furnace thermostat at 68 degrees or lower. In cooling season, set the thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. Consider installing a programmable thermostat that you can set to have the furnace or air conditioning run only when you are at home. Most power is used by heating and cooling, so adjusting the temperatures on your thermostat is the biggest energy conservation measure you can take.
- Turn off lights and computers when not in use. This is especially true about computer monitors - avoid using a "screen saver" and just simply turn the monitor off when you won't be using the computer for a while. Turn the computer off completely each evening. It is no longer true that computer equipment is damaged from turning it off and on.
- Close windows when the heating or cooling system is on.
- Caulk windows and doors to keep air from leaking, and replace old windows with new, energy-efficient windows.
- Clean or replace furnace and air-conditioner filters regularly.
- When buying new appliances be sure to purchase energy-efficient models.
- Wrap the water heater with an insulation jacket, available at most building supplies retailers.
- If you have to wash clothes, wash only full loads and clean the dryer's lint trap after each use.
- When using a dishwasher, wash full loads and use the "light" cycle. If possible, use the "rinse only" cycle and turn off the "high temperature" rinse option. When the regular wash cycle is done, just open the dishwasher door to allow the dishes to air dry.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights.
- Use one large light bulb rather than several smaller ones.