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Ready for a power outage? 5 things you probably forgot to do

You got the flashlight and the battery-powered radio. You remembered to charge your mobile phone. But you’re not fully prepared for a blackout unless you:

  • Have a list (on paper) of important phone numbers that you don’t have memorized, in case your phone dies.
  • Put water-filled plastic containers in your freezer so you’ll have ice blocks to prevent spoilage.
  • Make sure you can manually (without power) open your garage door or gate. If you can’t, park your car outside.
  • Have cash in small denominations and a full tank of gas.
  • Procure a manual can opener.

The above tips are among the power outage preparation list issued by the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management. Among other tips from that agency and California’s emergency authorities:

During the outage

• Unplug sensitive electronic equipment, such as televisions and computers, to protect it from surges when the power comes back on.

• Open your rerigerator and freezer as little as possible.

After the outage

• Reset clocks, thermostats and other programmed equipment after power is restored.

To help prevent an outage in the first place, by conserving power:

• Schedule power-sucking activities during the morning, rather than during the high-demand period from 3 to 9 p.m. This includes running your clothes washer and dryer or dishwasher.

• If you have air conditioning, cool your house to 72 degrees in the morning, then adjust the thermostat to 78 in the afternoon and evening.

• Close your windows and blinds in the morning, while your house is at its coolest.

• Unplug phone chargers and power strips that you’re not using.  Taken together, they can use as much power as your refrigerator.

• Turn your water heater to 120 degrees, or the “normal” setting. Water heating accounts for about 13 percent of home energy costs.

Source: Orange County Register

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