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What To Do During A Power Outage

Family Spending Time Together During An Energy Crisis or Power Outage In Minnesota Causing Blackouts. Kids Drawing In Blackout.

Do Power Outages Happen Often In Hennepin County?

Being prepared makes all the difference when the lights go out, and the power shuts down. Let’s walk through the steps to keep you, your family, and your home safe when left in the dark. Let’s be prepared before the next Minnesota storm.

Stay Informed and Prepare Your Home

Pre-Outage Prep: To prepare for future power outages, you should protect your gadgets and computers by hooking them up to surge protectors. This keeps them from getting damaged when the power surges and comes back. Also, it’s wise to think about setting up a reliable backup generator so you can enjoy a steady stream of power to your home during outages.

Stay Updated on the Outage: First things first, keep yourself in the loop. Use your phone or a battery-powered radio to catch updates on the outage. If possible, sign up for SMS alerts from your utility company. This way, you can get real-time updates directly to your phone.

Keep Your Fridge and Freezer Shut: Want to keep your food safe? Keep those fridge and freezer doors closed. Your fridge can keep food cold and safe for about four hours if you don’t open it, and a full freezer will hold its chill for 48 hours—24 hours if it’s half-full.

Light Up Safely: Skip the candles—they’re a fire hazard. Go for flashlights or battery-powered lanterns instead. Make sure they’re easy to get to and that you’ve got extra batteries ready.

Managing Electricity When the Power’s Out

Conserving Energy: Prioritize what needs power the most, like your fridge or sump pumps. Keep a tight lid on using power for non-essentials to save your generator and battery life for what matters.

Generator Safety: Remember, never run a generator inside your house or garage—that’s just asking for trouble with carbon monoxide. Always have it installed by someone who knows what they’re doing, and make sure you know how to use it safely.

Keep Your Appliances and Electronics Safe

Unplug to Protect: Unplug your electronics to dodge any damaging surges. If possible, stick to using just the essentials. 

Backups for Critical Gear: For stuff that needs to stay on, like your home office tech, use a UPS (uninterruptible power supply). It’ll keep things running a bit longer and protect against surges.

Manage Water and Plumbing

Conserve Water: If your water supply relies on an electric pump, you’ll be at risk of running out of water when the power goes out. Fill the tub and some sinks with water so you can flush the toilet or do some basic cleaning. If it looks like the outage might drag on, ration your water.

Protect Your Pipes: Considering Minnesota’s cold winters, power outages can lead to frozen pipes. Open up cabinet doors to let warm air circulate the pipes, and let your faucets drip a bit to prevent freezing.

Ensure Personal Safety and Comfort

Dress Right for the Weather: Layer up to stay warm or opt for lightweight clothes if it’s hot. Huddle together in a central room when it’s cold, or stick to lower levels of your house if it’s hot, as these areas tend to be cooler.

Use Generators Wisely: If you’ve got a generator, never run it inside your house or garage—that’s a surefire way to risk carbon monoxide poisoning. Always have it installed and checked by a pro.

Food Safety and Cooking Options

Check Your Food: When the power’s back, check your perishables. If they’ve been at 40°F or higher for over two hours, we recommend you throw them out.

Cooking Without Power: If you can, use an outdoor grill or a camp stove for cooking. Remember, never use these indoors—it’s unsafe.

Keep Communication Lines Open

Charge Your Devices: Keep your phones and laptops charged. Consider getting a portable or solar charger to keep your devices powered up if the outage lasts a while.

Have a Communication Plan: Make sure everyone in your family knows how to reach each other. Pick a meeting place in case you’re not together when the power goes out.

After the Outage

Do a Quick Safety Check: Once the power is back, take a moment to check your electrical system and any appliances for signs of trouble. If you’re not sure, it’s best to call an expert.

Test Your Safety Gear: Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working fine and change out any old batteries.

Restock and Prepare: If you have an emergency kit, restock any items you used during the outage so that they are ready for next time.

Having an Action Plan Is the Best Way To Prepare Against Power Outages

Being ready and having an action plan to rely on makes power outages easier to manage and safer to go through. By following our guide, you’ll be able to protect your electronics, manage your remaining power, and keep yourself and your family comfortable. It’s all about staying informed, staying safe, and keeping cool (or warm, depending on the weather!). 

Every time the power goes out, you’ll have a chance to fine-tune your action plan so you’re better prepared for the next time!  

If an outlet, light fixture, or anything electrical is damaged during a summer storm in Minnesota, do not try to DIY. Call a licensed electrician like our journeymen from  Accredited Electric of Anoka county to come to make sure your new switch, outlet, or breaker is installed correctly.