9 tips for before, during and after a power outage
What to do before, during and after power outage
Whether it’s during a hot sunny day or cold winter night, a power outage can get stressful and quickly turn into a messy situation. Don’t worry, losing power doesn’t mean you have to lose your sanity too. From handling toilet issues and food spoilage to preventing medical emergencies, we’ve got you covered. Here are our top 9 tips to help you stay safe and prepared before, during and after a power outage.

Before a power outage:

1. Have emergency cash ready. When the power goes out some businesses stay open, but won’t be able to accept card payments if their systems aren’t working. Plus, ATM machines are likely to be down as well.

2. Fill up your gas tank. During a power outage, gas pumps might not be functioning. If a big storm is predicted to hit your city, try and make sure you fill your tanks beforehand. Having a reliable mode of transportation is crucial, whether it’s for running a quick errand or in case of an emergency evacuation.

3. Preserve food in your fridge and freezer. Left unopened, a refrigerator will stay cold for about four hours, a full freezer will last 48 hours, and a half-full freezer will last 24 hours. If a power outage is predicted, store containers of water or bags of ice in your freezer to fill up extra space. This will help prolong cool temperatures and keep food safe for longer.

TIP: Hydro BC offers a helpful guide that goes over when specific foods spoil after your fridge reaches warmer temperatures. Plus, some home insurance policies may cover the loss of refrigerated food that spoils during to a power outage. A common limit for most policies is $500.

During a power outage:

4. Beware of carbon monoxide (CO). You might be tempted to bring your propane heater or charcoal grill indoors to create heat, but these sources release CO and should be avoided. Instead, keep an indoor safe propane heater on hand and have a working CO detector to monitor gas levels.

5. Keep your toilets running. Losing electricity can cause your toilet to stop draining. If this happens, pour about four litres of water directly into the bowl before flushing.

6. Stay warm. Preventing heat loss can be crucial when the power is out, especially when temperatures reach below zero. Here are a couple ways you can stay warm and preserve heat:

  • a. Close all doors to prevent unused rooms from cooling your living space. You can also close your vents to prevent heat from escaping the room you’re in.
  • b. Keep the cold air out by using rolled up towels to block drafty doors and windows.

    7. Or, stay cool. Temperatures can reach well above 30 degrees in the summertime. To stay cool during a summer power outage, consider the following:

    • a. Hang damp sheets or towels by your windows or doorways. The sheets will cool through evaporation and can turn a hot breeze into a cool mist.
    • b. Since hot air rises, upper floors tend to retain the most heat. Close your doors upstairs to ensure that the hot air doesn’t travel into the rest of your house.

    After a power outage:

      8. Reset electronic devices. Remember to reset your digital clocks, timers, alarms and internet routers and be sure to unplug all your electrical appliances before resetting your circuit breaker. Consider investing in power bars to make this process quick and easy.

      9. Assess your damage and report it if necessary. If lightning strikes your home, it’s possible to experience a power surge that will damage your electronics. Similarly, if the power outage causes your hydro to stop working, your pipes may freeze and burst. In these situations, your home insurance may cover the cost of the damage.

      TIP: Heads up, the amount of coverage will often depend on the cause of the power outage. For example, if a power outage is caused by an earthquake, this would only be covered if you have extra earthquake coverage.

      Protect your home and the things you love most.