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  • Writer's pictureCarole Chantler

10 tips for surviving a blackout

Power outages are never easy to deal with, but there are steps that you can take to keep you and your family safe.

1. prepare for power surges Switch off and unplug everything in your home. Leave one light on to let you know when the power comes back on. 2. bring solar lights inside These provide hours of low-level light so you can save your flashlight for jobs that require more light. These lights are safer than a candle. Just remember to recharge them outside during the day in a blackout 3. beware of carbon dioxide Don't run generators or grills inside a garage or outside a nearly open window during a blackout. Make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working properly. 4. keep the freezer closed Food will stay frozen for one to three days and below 40 degrees F for another couple of days. Also, as a reminder, tape a Do Not Open to the door. 5. fill the bathtub When the power goes out municipal water will stop running soon. Make sure you have enough water in buckets, sinks and bathtubs to use when the power is out. Also, you have at least 40 gallons of water in your water heater. 6. release the garage door Even with a dead opener, you can still open and close the door. You will find a rope or cord hanging from the arm that connects the door to the opener rail. With the door in the closed position, yank the cord to disconnect the door from the opener and you will be able to open and close the door by hand. 7. heat your house with your water heater. Your furnace won't work when the power is off. But your water heater might - if it is gas without power venting. Fill sinks and tubs with hot water and drain them when it is at room temperature. This will make your home bearable. 8. charge with your car Your car battery has enough power to charge mobile devices. 9. prepare for freezing Turn off the main water supply valve, and open the lowest valve in your house (often the water heater drain valve or an outdoor hose bib.) Then open other faucets to allow air into the system as pipes drain. Plunge toilets, sinks and bathtub drains to clear water from the traps. Finally, plug those drains to keep sewer gas from entering your house. 10. don't take chances. Be careful walking around in a blackout. Emergency rooms will be packed. So help maybe a long time coming. Stay safe.


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