Thursday, September 16, 2010

What to do when the power goes out

Loss of electric power is very common in some areas of Oregon especially during winter storms. When the power goes out in the winter there are a few things you need to remember.

If the power is out all over the neighborhood or there are downed power lines, call the utility company to report the danger. Do NOT go near downed power lines and only call 9-1-1 if there is an emergency.

Listen to your battery-powered or car radio for news to find out when power might be restored and to get any other weather related instructions. Do not run your car in a closed garage.

Dress in layers and don’t forget that you lose heat through your hands and the top of your head. Wear gloves and a warm hat.

If you have a regular wood stove or fireplace, you can use it for heat. However, DO NOT USE kerosene heaters, BBQs, or any outdoor type heater inside. Such devices create poisonous gases such as carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas given off by combustion and could kill.

To avoid a power surge when the electricity returns, turn off major appliances, computers, TVs, stereos and other electronic equipment at the power source. Leave a light switch in the on position so you'll know when the power is restored.

If you have a generator, do not connect it to your home's power system unless it has been properly installed and disconnects you from the main power grid when it is operating. If you do not disconnect from the power grid, you can be sending electricity back down the lines; not just to your home. That could be deadly for power company workers.

1 comment:

Doug Holbrook said...

Nice post. Here in north Lincoln County on the coast, winter outages are pretty common. My practice during an outage is to turn the power off at the fuse box. Power surges have previously ruined electrical equipment, and I find it easier to look at my neighborhood to see when the lights are on than leave the power on anywhere in my house.

Assuming the phones are working (not necessarily a valid one in the winter here) you can phone the 800 number for the power company and get information, sometimes better and faster than broadcast radio will send it out.