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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

When a Storm Causes a Prolonged Electrical Outage

3/12/2021 (Permalink)

A girl uses a flashlight to illuminate a book Keep flashlights on hand in case of an electrical outage

There is often advanced notice when a winter storm approaches your area. Shoppers make a run on grocery stores and buy up all the milk and bread and plan to settle in their warm homes to ride out the storm. The plan often goes off without a problem, but that isn't always the case.

Arkansas tends to experience an ice storm event every few years that causes issues. Freezing rain and sleet topple trees into power lines, and then the neighborhood goes dark. Power companies generally have someone on the scene quickly, but during a major ice or snow event, the power companies could be overwhelmed. Now you're looking at staying in the dark for several days in a row. What should you do? More importantly, what SHOULDN'T you do?

Once the lights go out, some people immediately round up all the candles in their homes and light them all over the house. This is a bad idea, especially if you live in a home with children or pets. Even if you don't, it's never a good idea to leave a candle burning unattended. Flashlights are a much better option! Make sure you're stocked up on batteries.

Prolonged power outages also affect the food supply. A freezer full of food should last for 48 hours, and a half-full one should last for 24 hours. Highly perishable food in the refrigerator should last for around 4 hours. If your house has a gas stove, it should still work, as would a backyard gas grill. Remember – never grill inside! It could lead to a fatal build-up of carbon monoxide. Any food that isn't consumed within two hours should be tossed to avoid spoilage. Many homeowner insurance policies cover food loss in the event of an outage, so you should double-check your policy!

Should you have access to a generator, be careful how you use it. It is recommended to operate it at least 20 feet from the house while ensuring that the exhaust is directed away from doors and windows to prevent a potentially deadly build-up of carbon monoxide. If you do not have a generator, make sure to unplug all of the large appliances in the home, and some of the smaller ones to prevent an electrical surge once the power is restored.

Winter storms often lead to frozen pipes, especially in homes with no electricity. Should you have water damage from a winter storm, we're always here to help. Give us a call today at 501-776-2222. SERVPRO of Saline County and SERVPRO of Hot Springs are fast to the scene to make it “Like it never even happened.”

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