No matter where you live, a power outage can happen at any time. As such, it's a good idea to have an emergency kit ready, as you never know how long an outage may last. When an outage occurs, it's best to start by verifying that the outage is neighborhood-wide by checking to see if local street lights and lights at neighbors' houses are out. If so, contact your electrical company and keep the following tips in mind for your safety and well being.
DO Unplug Electronics & Shut Off Lights
Start by unplugging any electrical appliances that were on when power went out. This could include televisions, radios, computers, or anything in between. Furthermore, shut off any lights (save for maybe one, so you can tell when power is restored). This way, when power does eventually come back on, your home's electrical circuits won't risk becoming overloaded by trying to turn on multiple electronics and lights at once. Following this simple step could save you from a power surge, which could destroy your electronics that aren't directly plugged into a surge protector.
DO Keep Refrigerator Door Closed
Since there's no way of knowing for sure how long you'll be without power, it's in your best interest to refrain from opening your refrigerator or freezer door; this way, you can keep as much cold air trapped in as possible, which will keep perishable food items safe for longer. In the meantime, it's also a good idea to start planning on how to prepare some meals with the perishable items you have in your fridge and freezer so they don't go to waste during an extended outage.
DON'T Use Candles Unless Necessary
Finally, while candles can be used in emergency situations if no other light source is available, it's always better to use lanterns, flashlights, and other forms of light, as these don't come with inherent fire hazards. Make sure to gather light sources before nightfall so you don't have to stumble through the house to find them later on. If you have no choice but to use candles, place them on a stable surface and keep an eye on all pets and small children. Never leave candles lit while you're sleeping.
Knowing what to do and what not to do during a power outage will help make the situation more bearable for you and your loved ones, so be sure to keep these tips in mind.
If the power goes out at your home and your home alone, the problem might best be solved by an electrician and not your electric company. In that case, a business that provides 24 hour electrical service will be able to help you no matter the time of day.