Wind, fallen trees, ground saturation — there could have been many reasons for the massive power outage many local residents experienced in late November.Approximately 1,700 people in Pike County and around 4,000 in the Hazard and Ashland areas were unexpectedly without power for several hours. Outages are sometimes scheduled, but when they’re a surprise, being calm and being prepared are the best ways to make a potentially bad situation happier and safer for yourself and your family.
Staying Safe in a Power OutageWe’re so reliant on electricity and related technologies (and we don’t fully understand them), that without them, it becomes hard to know how best to stay safe. For example, without electricity, finding alternative fuel sources becomes a priority. But using grills, generators, and other items indoors can cause highly poisonous carbon monoxide to fill your home. Without electricity, suddenly we run the risk of becoming dangerously hot (heat stroke) or dangerously cold (hypothermia). Not knowing how long you’ll be without power is where most of the struggle lies. But if you’re mentally prepared for what you need, you’ll be off to a great start. Here are some tips to help you stay safe in the event of a long outage:
- Use generators and grills only outside.
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep food cold longer.
- In hot weather, stay hydrated and wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
- In cold weather, cover up with blankets and wear clothing layers and a hat.
- Stay away from downed power lines.
- If you don’t have clean, safe, bottled water and boiling is not possible, you can make water safer to drink by using a disinfectant, such as unscented household chlorine bleach, iodine, or chlorine dioxide tablets.
- Do not try to siphon gasoline.
- Have a disaster supply kit ready. Standard items include dried and canned food, a manual can opener, water, flashlights, batteries, medication, and a first-aid kit. Don’t forget to provide for your pet!