That’s the word to describe this literally black magic that instantly turns off your TV, your microwave, and – oh, no! – puts you offline. While it usually requires a while for our local power suppliers to get the electricity up and running again, you may want to avoid these 6 common mistakes make during power outage.
Losing power can be more than an inconvenience; it can be downright dangerous. Next time your neighborhood goes dark, stay safe by avoiding these mistakes.
Mistake 1: Touching a downed wire. D’oh! It may seem obvious, but people often forget that any downed or dangling power line is potentially “live,” even if it doesn’t appear to be. “Even if the lines are not sparking, they could be energized and extremely dangerous,” notes Pacific Power, a utility company in the northwest, in a recent advisory.
Keep at least 30 feet away from downed power and utility lines, advises the utility, and if the ground is wet, stay at least 60 feet away. If you find yourself in a car when a wire is downed, Pacific Power cautions not to leave the safety of the car for any reason except fire — and then to leap out of the car with both feet and land as far away as you can. If you touch the car and the ground at the same time, the utility warns, you could be electrocuted.
Mistake 2: Plugged electronic devices. Unfortunately, it’s commonplace. The primary purpose of unplugging home appliances immediately after power outage is to prolong their lifetime and save your money. The thing is, by leaving your washing machine or PC plugged, you increase their sensitivity to power surge which may happen when the power is restored.
Mistake 3: All electric sources switched off. When darkness arrives and you have no plans to go out, make sure you leave at least one of the switches on. This will help you stay updated on when power returns to your household. Otherwise, next morning you will be woken up by the daylight simply because your alarm hasn’t gone off due to uncharged battery on your smartphone.
Mistake 4: Kerosene heaters inside.You would be surprised but some people still use kerosene heaters inside their homes instead of solar lanterns just like they did back in the 18th century. It’s an important no-no just as BBQ grills are as kerosene confined in buildings may cause toxic gases including carbon monoxide (which by the way shows no perceptible signs of presence) to spread all over your house without anybody noticing it.
Mistake 5: Generator connected to the power grid.If you have a diesel generator or fuel generator, remember to keep it disconnected from the power grid. Otherwise, you increase chances of sending electricity back to electric companies causing irreversible physical damage to their employees.
Mistake 6: Using candles. There are so many inexpensive battery-powered LED lights and flashlights that run safely for hours that there really isn’t any excuse for resorting to candles, which can cause a fire. Stock your home with these and save the candles for romantic evenings. If you must use a candle, put it in a lantern if possible and never leave it unattended. Look for stocky candles that won’t tip over.