Seven steps for surviving a power outage this summer

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Summer’s filled with excitement, as everyone’s looking forward to warm temperatures and summer vacations. But the season can also bring tumultuous weather in Texas, since strong storms are common during the transition from the cooler spring temperatures to the hot summer scorchers.

That’s why it’s a good time to review best practices for getting through power outages. Here are some tips to help you be prepared for a power outage:

1. Prepare a power outage survival kit ahead of time so you’re ready if it happens. Items to include: flashlights, a hand-crank radio, fresh batteries, candles, lighter and packaged snacks in case the outage lasts a little longer than expected. If you have an old-fashioned corded phone that doesn’t require electricity, place one in your kit as well.  You may also want to consider purchasing a backup generator to keep important items up and running during a power outage. Your local home improvement store can help you determine what type of generator would work well for your home.

2. When an outage occurs, report it to your local Transmission and Distribution Utility (TDU). If the outage has already been reported, they may be able to provide an update on when you can expect power to return.

3. Turn your radio to a local station for severe weather reports and updates on power restoration efforts.

4. Unplug appliances so they aren’t damaged by power surges when lightning strikes or as the power returns. Televisions, computers, room air conditioners and space heaters are among the sensitive appliances that should be unplugged.

5. Keep refrigerators and freezer doors closed, especially if you expect the outage to last less than 48 hours, as a fully stocked freezer can usually be kept at a low enough temperature during that time if the door remains shut. If you expect the outage to last longer, use coolers and ice to keep items cool.

6. Keeping your curtains closed and limiting trips in and out of your house can help keep cool air in your home for as long as possible.

7. When power returns, it’s safe to plug in the items you unplugged. Also, check the temperature on your freezer and refrigerator. As a general rule, perishable foods that have been kept at a temperature above 40 F should be thrown out to avoid bacterial growth.

Do you have some tips for surviving a power outage? Share them with us below.