A word about waiting for the power to come back on (especially in the summer)

When the power goes out, there are a few things you need to do (or not to do.)

1) Turn off your air conditioner.  (Turn it to "Off" at the thermostat or throw the switch at the breaker box.) When the power comes back on and everyone's AC pops on at the same time, you just may throw it off again.

2) If you're using a generator -- Make certain you leave it outdoors.  Understand the wattage of the generator and the items you're plugging into it.  And DO NOT connect it to your whole house (via the dryer plug or any other method), pay an electrician to do it correctly.  (When linemen work to repair lines, they need those lines to be electricity free!  When you rig a generator improperly to power your whole house, you're sending excess power out on the line!)

3) Unplug and turn off as much as possible in your home or business.  This prevents power drain on the circuit when it's restored and reduces the chance of damaging your appliances with a power surge.

4) Leave your porch light switch ON.  Then power crews, neighbors, or emergency workers can identify homes and neighborhoods with restored or lost power in the middle of the night or when you're not home.  I leave mine on 24/7 during a storm or other emergency.

5) Do not open your refrigerator or freezer even one time unless you are ready to take all the food out.  The insulation in appliances can hold the cool for a long time, but opening the door even once greatly shortens the time your food will stay cold. 

6) Unless you have a reptile, bird or exotic, your pets can generally stand temperatures at least as hot or cold as you can.  Keep the calm and cool in the summer and active and warm in the winter, and they'll likely be fine as long as you are.  Never leave a pet behind when you leave due to disaster issues.

7) Don't count on buying anything in an emergency.  Many stores will be closed at first, then they will sell out immediately of staple emergency items.  Research now and stock at least two (sets) of critical emergency items.  I keep two sets of batteries for each flashlight.  The first set I use initially, and the second set is for when I'm surprised at how fast the first set was used up. 

8) While we're talking about flashlights, always store the batteries out of the flashlight (to preserve the battery charge).  Rechargeable batteries must be recharged routinely so follow manufacturers instructions to keep them ready for the moment you'll need them.  Use one flashlight at a time, when possible, to extend the total time you'll have light.

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