The Tallahassee area’s electrical grid is quite reliable, but power outages can and do occur on occasion. Generally speaking, our power outages tend to be short in duration and localized to smaller areas. However, powerful storms and hurricanes—like 2018’s Hurricane Michael—can cause widespread outages that can last for days and even more than a week. Whatever the cause and duration of an outage, you can take steps to help minimize their impact on your home and family.
As the Tallahassee area’s electrical experts, Meeks Electrical Services knows a thing or two about power outages. And the first thing to know about anything electrical is that safety should always come first. Power lines may be down or otherwise damaged if the power has gone out because of a storm. Before venturing outside, check the surrounding lines to ensure that none are down in your yard or neighborhood. This holds especially true if the ground is saturated due to heavy rainfall. If you see any downed power lines, immediately report them to the authorities.
Other safety steps to take during and after an outage include:
- If the outage has put you in the dark, don’t make any sudden moves. Let your eyes adjust, and then carefully make your way to the nearest flashlight or other emergency lighting.
- Rely on flashlights and other battery-powered lights for your lighting instead of candles, which present a fire hazard. If you must use candles, make sure you keep them away from any flammable materials, such as curtains, paper products, furniture, or anything else that could catch fire.
- Do not use a gas stove or BBQ grill inside for cooking or heating purposes because they emit dangerous carbon monoxide gases. Also, if using a generator, keep it outside and away from windows.
- If any electrical equipment or electronics around the home have been submerged by flooding or otherwise damaged by a storm, do not use them until a qualified electrician has inspected them.
Steps to Take When the Power Goes Out
Electricity is the lifeblood of your home, so a power outage significantly disrupts its normal operations. This is not only inconvenient. It can also cause damage to other elements of the house and put your family at risk. In the event of a power outage, there are several steps you should take to reduce the inconvenience, protect against potential damage, and keep your family safe. We’ve already listed the steps you should take to ensure everyone’s safety, so add these to the list to complete your power outage response:
- Try to determine the source of the outage. Figure out whether it is solely affecting your home, localized to the neighborhood, or widespread. If the blackout does not seem to be weather-related and/or is only impacting your house, check your electrical panel for any tripped switches. Should the source prove to be in-house, you might need to contact an electrician—such as Meeks Electrical Services—if a tripped switch fails to restore power when switched back or the problem happens again. If the outage seems more widespread, make sure that someone contacts the Tallahassee Electric Utilities Office.
- Unplug all of the major appliances and other electronics in your home to protect them from power surge damage that could occur when the power is back.
- Protect your HVAC system from power surges by turning the A/C or heat off on your thermostat or put it on a temperature setting that will not turn the system on when power is restored.
- Limit access to your refrigerator and freezer to help keep perishables cold for as long as possible. Only open their doors when necessary and eat the most perishable foods first.
- Try to leave at least one light on so that you will know if power gets restored during the night.
- If it’s a cold-weather outage, get your blankets, sweaters, and other warm gear ready.
Preparing for Potential Power Outages
While some localized power outages occur without warning, an approaching thunderstorm ups the odds that one could soon affect you. If the Tallahassee area is in the path of a significant tropical storm, a widespread power outage may be inevitable. If you’re facing a potential power outage, there are several steps you can take to prepare for it, including:
- Keep all of your portable electronic devices fully charged.
- Place flashlights and other battery-powered lighting in easy-to-reach locations.
- Assess and makes plans for any personal and/or medical electrical needs.
- Keep your car gassed up in case you need to evacuate.
If you truly want to prepare for a Tallahassee-area power outage, consider installing a directly wired generator to your home. There are numerous generator options you can consider that provide varying power levels for your home’s electrical needs. Contact Meeks Electrical Services to learn more about a direct-wired generator’s benefits or for any other electrical service needs. You can reach us at (850) 575-3201.