What To Do When The Power Goes Out

The wind storm last month left a lot of people in the dark, as well as unprepared. With these handy tips, you won’t be left in the cold or the dark next time.

  1. What to do when the power goes outBEFORE EMERGENCIES: if you don’t have an emergency kit, please make one. Keep enough water for three days (one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days), at least a three day supply of non-perishable food, a manual can opener, a battery-powered or hand crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, with extra batteries for both, a flashlight with extra batteries, first aid kit, a whistle to signal for help, dust masks if you have to go into your basement, attic or crawl space, moist towelettes, and garbage bags. Check out this list from FEMA to make sure you’re good to go.
  2. Check to see if you’ve blown a fuse. This is the best case scenario, but you want to double check.
  3. Call your utility company to report the power outage or if there are any power lines down. Only call 9-1-1 in case of an actual emergency.
  4. Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer as much as possible. Food should stay cold for a while if the door remains closed.
  5. Unplug some of your major appliances. When the power comes back on, these could create a power surge and can harm some of your sensitive equipment. Instead, turn on a light so you know when your power is back on.
  6. Keep yourself updated, but try not to drain your cell phone battery. Puget Sound Energy refreshes outages on their website every 15 minutes, and they now have an app (for iOS and Android) as well to help you check your area. If you have family in the area, make sure they are okay, but conserve your battery in case of emergency.
  7. Heating your home is tricky in power outages. Do not use kerosene heaters, barbecues or any type of outdoor heater or grill inside. These can create carbon monoxide gases which can be deadly. If you have a regular wood burning stove or fireplace, use these for heat.
  8. Drive carefully. If you do have to go out, make sure you drive defensively and treat intersections with nonworking lights as a four way stop. Do not drive over downed power lines.
  9. Check on your neighbors, especially if older or disabled adults live nearby, to see if they need help.

Keep this list handy, so you’re ready for the next power outage and you’ll be prepared!


Marti Reeder, Realtor, Managing Broker