Emergency power outage at home:
When you’re dealing with an emergency power outage at home, treat the situation for which you need to prepare and act upon in the event. When you first notice a loss of power, check to make sure you have not blown a circuit or a fuse and check the circuit breakers or fuses in your home’s electrical panel. In this case, you’ll need an emergency electrician technician to restore your home.
Emergency power outage in the neighborhood
If your entire neighborhood is experiencing an emergency power outage, report it to your local utility company. Look for power lines that are down and immediately call 911 if you see any. Don’t approach downed power lines.
There could be a situation where widespread areas experience emergency power outage for various reasons. In extreme temperatures typical during winter, freezing and wet weather conditions, you should be prepared for what you might need in such a situation.
Widespread area emergency power outage during wintertime:
Winter tips for emergency power outage problems
- Dress to stay warm – wear layers, including a sweater, sweatshirt or even a jacket. You lose heat through your hands and the top of your head. Wear gloves and a knit hat, not just a baseball cap.
- Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer as much as possible. Food inside should stay cold for hours if the door is left closed.
- Unplug your major appliances. When the power comes back on, all of those appliances can create a drain or power surge.
- If you have a generator, do not connect it to your home’s power system unless it has been properly installed and disconnects you from the main power grid when it is operating. If you do not disconnect from the power grid, you can be sending electricity back down the lines; not just to your home. That would be a deadly situation for power company workers.
- If you have a regular wood stove or fireplace, you can use it for heat. However, do NOT use kerosene heaters, BBQs, or any outdoor heater inside. This will cause the deadly carbon monoxide to poison you and your family.
- Check on your elderly neighbors or those who may have medical conditions or use medical machinery that operates on electricity. Make sure they are dressed appropriately warm. If someone needs to have machinery that operates on electricity, move them to a place where electricity is working.
- If you have to go out, drive carefully. Remember that traffic signals may be out during a power outage. Red lights that are out should be considered a four-way stop.
Warning about HYPOTHERMIA
The human body loses heat during the winter due to the conduction and convection of heat from the skin to nearby air, due to evaporation of moisture from the skin surface, and due to normal respiration. To compensate for this heat loss, the body burns energy to produce heat to keep the body temperature at a relatively constant level. If, however, a body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, the body temperature will cool to below normal levels, a medical condition known as hypothermia. Hypothermia will gradually worsen unless the overall rate of heat loss can be stopped.
The warning signs for hypothermia may start with shivering and shaking and may end in death. Initially, as the body temperature starts to drop, shivering begins. At the same time, the brain begins to reduce the amount of blood that is circulated to the extremities of the body in order to conserve heat for the vital organs near the body’s central core. If the central core of the body continues to cool, uncontrollable shaking, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion may develop.These are all signs of a very serious situation. If the body core temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, just 4 degrees below normal, immediate care is needed, as the person will likely become irrational.
Once the body core temperature drops below 90 degrees, the person loses muscle control, and outside help is the person’s only hope for survival. If that help is not available, heart and/or respiratory failure and death will eventually follow as the core temperature continues to drop. If a person is suffering from hypothermia, it’s critically important that the person be warmed properly. If warmed improperly, death may result. In a hypothermic person, cold blood is concentrated in the extremities. If these extremities are warmed too quickly, this cold blood will be released into the body’s central core, possibly lowering the central core temperature to a fatal level.
How to raise the core temperature of a hypothermic person
- Get the person into dry clothing if their clothes are wet.
- Put on additional clothing to warm the person’s head and trunk, such as a hat and vest.
- Wrap the person in a warm blanket and be sure their head and neck are covered. Do not cover their extremities.
- Give them warm liquids to drink, but no alcohol, drugs or coffee.
- Seek medical attention, if necessary.
- Hypothermia can also develop in elderly people in a cool room with few, if any, warning signs.