Winter Storm Power Outages FAQs
Posted on November 21, 2019 by Oozle Media
What would you miss most during a winter storm power outage? Your Wi-Fi? Your heat? Storm outages can be really irritating, not to mention dangerous for everyone. Resources can be limited during power outages. Make sure that you and your family are properly prepared for any extreme weather conditions so that you can stay safe! Here are some common questions related to power outages during winter storms:
Is a Winter Storm Power Outage Dangerous?
In addition to being a major inconvenience and potentially boring, power outages that happen during a winter storm can be extremely dangerous. Many people don’t realize how much your day-to-day life is affected when the power is out. Which necessities are affected during a winter storm power outage?
Many homes lose access to heat when the power goes out—which can be deadly in a winter storm. Hypothermia can set in as the temperature drops.
A lack of heat can also impact your pipes. Pipes are prone to freezing in extreme temperatures and can eventually burst. This can severely limit your access to running water, and on top of that, can become very expensive to repair.
Emergency Responders and Utility Companies
Extreme weather conditions make traveling dangerous for everyone—including emergency response and utility crews. Prepare for winter storms ahead of time to avoid the need for emergency services during a power outage.
Don’t forget that when your power is out, your wireless internet access is also out. Oftentimes this can extend to cellular networks, so be aware of your connection before attempting to find storm updates or contact loved ones.
During a power outage, your electric appliances such as your refrigerator, freezer, oven, electric stove, microwave, and more will not be usable.
Food in your fridge will last about four hours if the door has been unopened. Frozen food can last up to 48 hours if your freezer was fully stocked and the door remained closed. If an outage lasts longer than these times, the food is unsafe to eat and should be discarded.
Tip: If you have to open the fridge or freezer for something to eat, do it as quickly as possible so that food can last longer.
The days are shorter in the winter as it is, and storms can keep you in the dark for the majority of the day. Candles and flashlights are great for short outages, but you may want to consider backup lighting in the event of a long-term power outage.
Have an Automatic Backup Generator
Having an automatic backup generator can restore heat almost immediately after the power goes out. These generators are hooked up to your gas line rather than your electricity. JP Electrical can install one for you at a great price!
Traveling during an extreme storm should be out of the question unless it’s an emergency. Stock up on supplies beforehand like:
- Nonperishable food
- Water bottles
- Backup light and heating sources
- Pet supplies
- Portable generator
- Gasoline for generator
- Anything else you know you couldn’t live without for an extended period of time
It’s also a good idea to have an alternate form of communication other than your cell phone, such as a radio.
Open Water Taps
During a winter storm power outage, keep the faucet open slightly and allow the water to trickle until the power is back and your heat comes back on. This will help reduce ice blocks created by excessive water pressure, which should also help prevent pipes from bursting. Keep outdoor pipes from bursting by insulating them as well.
Keep the heat in as long as possible by making sure your house is properly equipped with insulation, caulking, and weather stripping.
Install Safety Equipment
Make sure that your smoke alarms are properly functioning. Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backups and replace inoperable smoke alarms immediately.
These critical household functions are all things that homeowners would desperately miss in the event of a winter power outage, whether they are aware of it or not. The best way to ensure you and your family’s safety is to create an organized winter preparedness plan that includes a stockpile of food, water and other supplies as well as a source of backup power.
What Should I Do in an Emergency During a Power Outage?
It’s important not to panic in emergency situations. Panic can intensify emergencies and cause additional problems. Remain calm and logically think through the situation before acting.
Traveling in extreme weather conditions can be deadly, so you should be prepared with a standard emergency kit at all times. A standard emergency kit contains:
- First aid supplies and medications
- Drinking water (one gallon per person, per day)
- Non-perishable food
- Flashlights and batteries
- Personal hygiene products
- Importact documentation (IDs, insurance cards, contact info, etc.)
- Pet supplies
- Portable phone chargers
If You Have to Travel…
Take a four-wheel-drive vehicle, if possible, and drive carefully. It’s better to arrive in one piece than to never arrive at all. Stay on the main road as much as you can. Main roads are usually managed first by emergency responders, so they are likely to be safer than alternate routes. When you arrive at your destination, calmly explain the situation to emergency personnel.
When Should I Call a Professional?
Remember that utility crews are delayed in winter storms as well. Try to look for outage information and updates via your cell phone before calling for updates because crews might be out working on restoring power rather than back at the office to answer the phone.
Call a Pro Before the Storm
It’s better to be prepared than to find yourself in an emergency situation during a winter storm power outage. JP Electrical has an experienced team of technicians that can help prepare your home. Call us today or fill out a form online to schedule a consultation!