Power outages happen unexpectedly, so plan ahead to be ready

Power outages can occur for many reasons, such as thunder and lightning storms, snow and ice storms, or strong winds. It is important to understand the dangers that could be involved with outages and know ways to keep you and your family more prepared in case an outage occurs at your home. (Metro News Service photo)

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Power outages can occur for many reasons, such as thunder and lightning storms, snow and ice storms, or strong winds. It is important to understand the dangers that could be involved with outages and know ways to keep you and your family more prepared in case an outage occurs at your home. (Metro News Service photo)

As winter continues, it is important to understand and be prepared for power outages. Power outages can occur for many reasons, such as thunder and lightning storms, snow and ice storms, or strong winds. Outages due to severe weather could be as short as a flicker in the lights or as long as a few days.

In any case, it is important to understand the dangers that could be involved with outages and know ways to keep you and your family more prepared in case an outage occurs at your home.

Every household should have an emergency properness kit with the basics. The following are suggestions made by the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness. This is not an all-inclusive list as each kit should be tailored to each household.

Each kit should contain at the least: non-perishable food, drinking water, a battery-operated radio, extra clothes, flashlight with extra batteries, sleeping bag/blankets, sanitation items and medications. For a more thorough list of what should be in a properness kit, go to www.publicsafety.ohio.gov .

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To prepare your house prior to a power outage, there a few important issues to look at. First, make sure you have battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms or plug in CO alarms with battery backup in your home, and perform a test of the batteries monthly. Purchase a high-quality surge protector for your computer and other important electrical equipment. Finally, if your home has an electric garage door opener, know how to open the door manually.

Remember to never use a generator or propane heater inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds or any enclosed areas even when using fans or opening doors and windows. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.

If you feel it is necessary to install a generator, consult with a professional. Be sure to seek expert assistance from a licensed professional.

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