A severe storm can cause considerable damage, and they can come unexpectedly, or with some advance notice. Storms also often result in power outages, some more widespread than others.
If you've experienced a power outage, especially a long-term one, it is a good idea to follow certain precautions as power is restored. As the electric systems come back online, things may not return to normal immediately.
According to National Grid, while power is restored, additional power outages may occur and it is a good idea to check your own systems as things go back to normal.
• Look for flooding
If your dwelling has flooded, experts recommend not turning on anything until checking with an electrician. If any wiring has been damaged or is sitting in water, this could be a hazardous situation.
• Plumbing and water
National Grid recommends checking plumbing systems for leaks and also if the plumbing system has been drained, to only refill the pipes after heat is restored to the home or building. Water tanks may also take a while to refill and heat up.
• Heating system
Many people turn off their thermostats and furnaces during an extended power outage, this way there are less chances of harming a system when power is restored and everything turns on at once. As power is restored, pay close attention to your heating system.
It is probably a good idea to heat your house back up a little at a time rather than set the thermostat at full blast when it is operating again; this way you don't overwhelm the system.
• Reconnect appliances
As power is reconnected, experts often recommend to plug appliances back in one at a time, especially the larger ones, as they consume the most energy. Electric systems may not operate at full capacity initially and you don't want to cause any further electrical outages or cause any new damage.
Unfortunately, if a power outage has not been a short-lived one, food in the refrigerator and/or freezer will go bad and you'll have to throw out perishables so you don't get sick. Before eating any of the food or drinks you had stored, check the contents to see what needs to be tossed.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), provides some good guidelines on food safety and how to examine foods after an outage and/or flood occurs.
• Be on alert
After any rain or snow storm, it is important to always be on alert once your power is restored. Monitor to ensure all your appliances are operating correctly and keep an eye out for any types of leaky substances.
Also keep in mind that additional trees or other debris could fall after the storm has passed so you should not only keep focused on power-related issues, but also your personal safety and that of your loved ones. Check your vicinity or any potentially damaged trees or deficiencies in the building that may have been sustained by the storm.
Power outages are often difficult to contend with, especially long-term outages. It is a good idea to be proactive and have your own personal disaster recovery plan to minimize the effects the next time a storm does affect your region.