Every so often we face a natural disaster and it leads into a power outage. The recent Super Storm Sandy gave the East Coast a harsh reminder what life without electricity can look like. This was sadly not the first time that Americans have suffered power outages following a natural disaster. Last year the East Coast was hit by Hurricane Irene. The South suffered from Hurricane Katrina more than five years ago and Hurricane Ike in 2008. Last year part of the West Coast went dark due to a single worker’s error.
Americans take electricity for granted, but there are many around the globe who go through power outages daily. Clark Gellings, of the nonprofit Electric Power Research Institute explained:
“Power delivery systems have a lot of parts, wires, transformers, and other components all nicely tied together—which means there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Pieces break down or human errors. A system is designed to tolerate a certain amount of disruption but past a certain point, it’s simply gone too far and it falls apart.”
If you ever find yourself in such a situation here are a few tips and tricks to keep handy.
Don’t wait for the last minute. If you know a hurricane or a storm is coming make sure you are prepared. Remember there might be no power, running water or a way to get out of your home.
- Store food that will not spoil quickly. Pastas and canned foods can make quick, fulfilling meals and do not need to be refrigerated.
- Take a day off. While you are so stressed in your daily life, an unexpected event can mean a day off from work to relax and spend with your family. Sometimes we get so busy that we forget to de-stress and enjoy the simple moments of life. Now you have the perfect opportunity to spend a day with your family.
- Stash some snacks and games. During bad weather we sometimes call friends and family over so they do not get the brunt of the bad weather. If you end up in such a situation, have some snacks on hand and some games to play by candle light.
As power returns after an outage, people may be at risk of electrical or traumatic injuries as power lines are re-energized and equipment is reactivated. You should be aware of those risks and take protective steps if you are in contact with or in proximity to power lines, electrical components, and the moving parts of heavy machinery.
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