Power Outage Preparedness
The Huntington Beach Fire Department Emergency Services Office has prepared the following list of safety, security, and health measures that you should use to prepare for a power outage.
- Purchase needed items for your home, office and car, including: flashlights, batteries, AM/FM battery powered radio, rechargeable power lights and light sticks.
- Keep cash and change on hand; in power failures ATMs may not work and you may need to make a phone call at a pay phone.
- Phones that are cordless and phones with answering machines are power dependent. Have one that does not require power to operate in case you need to call 9-1-1. Keep your cell phone powered up.
- Familiarize yourself with your main electrical panel. You may be required to turn off the main breaker, or have to reset circuit breakers.
- Portable generators are an excellent source of backup power if operated safely. Safely store fuel outside, never indoors, and not in the garage. Operate generators outside and only use fresh gasoline because old gasoline may ignite. Plug appliances directly into the generator and never attach generators to the facility current.
- To save electricity use your fireplace, but do so responsibly. Don't burn wood with paint or stain. Any time you have an open flame in your home you should observe it at all times. Make sure you close your fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying. Do not store newspapers, kindling, matches, or any combustibles near the fireplace.
- Do not use candles for lighting. Use lanterns. If you use candles, make sure you have smoke detectors in all rooms and that the batteries are operating. Have a fire extinguisher and know how to operate it. Have a fire evacuation plan and practice fire drills.
- If your smoke detectors are wired directly into the electrical system they will not operate during a power failure. Consider purchasing a smoke detector with batteries as a backup. Special smoke detectors are available for the hearing impaired.
- During the power outage unplug all small appliances to avoid a power surge. Leave one light on so you know when the power comes back on.
- When power comes back on you may have to reset your clocks, VCRs, microwave ovens, programmable thermostats, burglar and fire alarms.
- Have a plan for checking on and reuniting family members.
- Stay home and be safe. Stores and gas stations may be closed. Don't add to the confusion by driving around.
- During a power outage traffic signals may be out. If so, remember the intersection becomes a 4-way Stop.
- Watch for suspicious activity. Criminals may decide to take advantage of the power outage. Always call 9-1-1 if you notice suspicious activity.
- Focus on children's needs. Provide a flashlight for each child that they can keep by their bed and in their backpacks. Discuss living without electricity and how the outage is usually short-term.
- Help elderly and disabled individuals who are on power-dependent medical devices arrange for back-up power.
- Have a first aid kit in your home, office, and car. Take first aid and CPR training.
- Sewer pump stations have limited storage capacity. As much as possible, do not flush your toilet during a power outage.
Be a good neighbor and check on the elderly, disabled, and children who are home alone during a power outage. They may need your help. Also, try to conserve electricity between the hours of 5 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. This helps prevent power emergencies.
Click here for information on Fire Department CERT disaster preparedness classes. For information about Fire Department education programs, please see Safety Education.