Power Outages - "When
the Lights Go Out"
Everyone experiences power interruptions from time to time. Unfortunately,
many of these outages come at times of weather extremes or accompany
various disasters. When the power is out we lose our primary source
of artificial light and many loose their source of heat and water
as well. When the power is out, safety becomes a major concern.
The following information will help you get prepared when the
lights go out!
- Register life-sustaining equipment with your utility.
- Consider purchasing a small generator or know where to rent
one if you use life sustaining equipment that requires electrical
- Post the telephone number of the New Construction, Repairs
and Power Outage listing of your local utility.
- If you own an electric garage door opener, learn how to open
the door without power.
- Prepare a power outage kit. For short duration outages consider
having glow light sticks, flashlights, a battery powered radio,
extra batteries and a wind-up clock on hand.
- Make sure you have an alternate heat source and a supply of
- Have a corded telephone available.
- Remember that cordless phones do not work when the power is
- When installing generators, follow the manufacturer's instructions
and have it inspected by the utility company and the state electrical
- If your house is the only one without power, check your fuse
box or circuit breaker panel. Turn off large appliances before
replacing fuses or resetting circuits.
- If power is out in the neighborhood, disconnect all electrical
heaters and appliances to reduce the initial demand and protect
the motors from possible low voltage damage.
- If you leave home, turn off or unplug heat producing appliances.
- Unplug computers and other voltage sensitive equipment to
protect them against possible surges when power is restored.
- Conserve water, especially if you are on a well.
- Keep doors, windows and draperies closed to retain heat in
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. If the door remains
closed, a fully loaded freezer can keep foods frozen for two days.
- Be extremely careful of fire hazards caused by candles or
other flammable light sources.
- When using kerosene heaters, gas lanterns or stoves inside
the house, maintain ventilation to avoid a build-up of toxic fumes.
- Connect lights and appliances directly to a generator, not
to an existing electrical system
NOTE: Leave one light switch in the on position to alert you when
service is restored.
Washington State Military Department, Emergency Management