Preparing Your Community for Power Outages

As nurses interested in preparing your family, friends and communities for disasters, it is important to remind others of some key actions to take to prepare for the most likely events. As we move to the summer months, powerful storms are likely across the nation. There are some key teaching elements to share with others regarding power outages.

The following are all from Simmons (2013):

  • Have back-up lighting plus spare batteries available.
  • Check the expiration dates on the batteries and that batteries have not corroded inside the flashlights.
  • Lanterns and candles may be used, but be very cautious that burning candles are not knocked over by children and pets.
  • Satellite phones will work, but are costly; cell phone text messages may work.
  • Do not open the refrigerator unless absolutely necessary; piling frozen foods together gives the food a longer “life”.
  • Turn off or unplug as many appliances as possible to prevent damage from a power surge when power returns.
  • When power is restored, turn circuit breakers back on, one at a time.
  • Do not burn kerosene, briquettes or any gas appliances indoors.

Simmons, G. (2013). Common sense and disaster preparedness: A quick guide for staying safe before, during and after any disaster, pp. 118-119. Journal of Emergency Management and American Journal of Disaster Medicine.

Submitted by Joanne C. Langan, PhD, RN, CNE

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