EL PASO, Texas - A power outage can happen anytime and to anybody. Wednesday's storms knocked out the power of one west El Paso apartment complex for several hours. Do you know what to do if the power goes out at your place? Here are some tips and tricks.
With any power outage, you typically don't know how long the outage will last. Prolonged outages can have greater impacts than a power outage that lasts an hour or so. First, we will talk about food. While in an outage, do not open your fridge or freezer! Most fridges are powered by electricity, so when the power shuts off, your fridge will miss out on the cool air that normally takes care of your food in the fridge and freezer.
In addition, you want to have nonperishable backup food in case the rest of the appliances do not work. That way, you'll always have something to eat, even if you can't warm it up. On that note, it is imperative to have water stocked up at your place as well.
Alejandro Ayala, the Distribution Dispatch Outage Analyst for EP Electric shared it is important to turn off all appliances that you were using before the outage began. "If you are going the leave the house during an outage, it's recommendable to unplug all the appliances you were using so they don't turn back on by themselves," he said. For example, if you were using the microwave or blender before the outage, you'd want to unplug them to avoid any hazards.
It's also a good idea to have a plan in place if there is a power outage. Some rely on medical devices that require electricity to work. In that case, a solid backup plan would help if you had to switch over to a backup generator, or batteries to get the electricity you need.
Speaking of backup energy, it may be a good idea to have a generator or another resource to pull out in times of need. However, Ayala said generators are not necessary for the average family:
"If you feel more comfortable having a generator, because you need a generator at all times, yes by all means please go ahead and get one. But for the average person, it's not necessary." If you do want to use a generator, Ayala emphasized that you should use them outside and outside only, as their fumes could lead to sickness or even death.
As for light, candles and flashlights are what you'll have to rely on.
"We all have cellphones, we all have flashlights on our cellphones, but for anything, if we don't have a cellphone or if it's not charged- we can use candles. Of course, that's the last resort, because as you know that's a fire hazard depending on where you put it. You cannot leave them unattended, you have to be there," said Ayala. Ultimately, just be very careful with the candles.
Finally, if your home starts to get too cold or too warm, you should leave and head to a warming or cooling center in town. Or, you can always camp out with a friend, family member, or head to a store, library or community center.