Whether it’s from thunderstorms or powerful windstorms, losing power is all too common here in Florida. In the event of a power outage, food safety, electrical protection, and medical preparedness are key to staying safe. Try these power outage tips to prepare your home for the next blackout.
What to Do During a Power Outage
In Edgewater, strong winds and thunderstorms can knock the power off, leaving you in the dark. To protect your household during a blackout, follow these power outage safety tips.
- Maintain food safety. To preserve perishable foods and medicines when the power goes out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Unopened, the fridge can keep food below 40° F to prevent spoilage for 4 hours.
- Prevent fires and electrical surges. Choose flashlights over candles to reduce the chance of fire. You can also protect your delicate and expensive appliances from electrical surges by disconnecting them from the outlets.
- Protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning. When the electricity goes out, you may have to get creative about how to cook dinner. If you pull out the camping stove, only run it outdoors.
Don’t use gas power inside the house. While it may seem like a good idea to have a gas stove to cook with or heat the home while the power is out, the fumes can be dangerous.
- Keep appliances, cooling, and heating running with a generator. If you have a generator installed, you can use it to continue using necessary electricity, such as maintaining a safe temperature in the home.
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Types of Backup Generators: Portable Vs. Whole Home
Generators allow you to continue to use some electronic appliances and can alleviate the stress of dealing with a power outage. But not all generators are the same. It’s important to know the difference between these two types—portable and whole home.
- Electrical power. The capacity of a portable generator is limited to essential electricity, such as keeping the lights on or running the water pump and small appliances. For larger appliances, such as heaters, air conditioners, or refrigerators you will want a whole home generator that is equipped to keep your entire home comfortable as well as safe during a power outage.
- Fuel tank. Whole home generators connect to your home’s natural gas line, where it draws fuel as it needs. Portable generators have self-contained tanks that have to be refueled after the machine cools completely. Portable generators also produce more carbon monoxide which can be dangerous to breathe. The Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA) stipulates strict rules for safely running portable generators.
- Placement. Due to fire hazards and potential carbon monoxide poisoning, both machines are required to be stored outside in a space protected from rain and flooding. Portable generators must be a minimum of 20 feet from any doors or windows because of their fumes.
How a Whole Home Generator Can Protect Your Home
A whole home generator allows you to keep the lights on and the heating or cooling going while the wind howls outside. In addition, a generator can help you:
- Protect electronics. Backup generators offer a steady flow of electricity, which prevents electrical surges from zapping your devices.
- Keep the water pump running. Backup generators power the water pump, allowing you to continue to use water to wash dishes, stay hydrated, or shower as you normally would.
- Keep medicine cold. While you can preserve fragile medication for a time in a closed refrigerator, a backup generator ensures the medicine is not damaged by temperature fluctuations.
- Ensure your family is safe and comfortable. When the electricity goes out, the house gets muggy—or cold. The lack of lights can make it difficult to see. But you don’t have to stumble in the dark with a backup generator. And your family can stay safe and comfortable from the heat or the cold as well.
- Prevent bursting pipes. In addition to blackouts, severe storms can bring harsh cold fronts. Florida plumbing is often not insulated and vulnerable to sharp temperature changes. Generators help keep the home temperature stable, preventing broken pipes.