power outage tipsOn September 19, 2012, 6,750 Portland-area homes went dark at approximately 8:35 p.m.

The cause was found to be a substation malfunction at Portland General Electric after wiring at a station near SE 60th Ave and Stark St. caused power failure, lasting until 10:15 p.m. Additionally, earlier that day, more than 5,000 customers lost power due to equipment failures in Multnomah and Washington counties due to a severed power line near Northwest Springville Road and Northwest Sickle Terrance at the Portland Community College Rock Creek Campus.

Loss of power can happen at any time, for a variety of reasons, and affect you and your home in a variety of ways. Preparation is essential when unexpected events occur. In order to be prepared for damages, your best defense is to keep the following in an accessible location in your home:

1. Written emergency checklist for you and your family.

2. Flashlight (one for every room or person in the house over ten years old)

3. Batteries.

4. Candles and matches (hidden safely from small children)

5. Dry goods in case of prolonged power outage: these may include trail mix or canned goods. Don’t forget your can opener!

6. Extra blankets and pillows.

7. Plastic containers: Fill these with water and place them in the refrigerator if you have room. Leave at least an inch of space inside each one to allow for the water to expand as it freezes. This chilled water will help keep food cold during temporary power outages by displacing air that can warm up quickly with ice and keep cold for hours without refrigeration.

8. Leave refrigerated medications in the refrigerator. Be aware that they will keep in this closed space for several hours without issue.

9. Keep your car tank at least half full, as gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.

10. Keep extra keys to your home in case of a power outage, particularly if you use your garage door as the main entryway for your home. In the event of lost power, this door will be difficult to open and using key-operated doors is best.

11. Know where the manual release for your garage door is located and the way to operate it. Because garage doors are heavy, you may need to lift this on your own to access your car. However, when doing so, make sure that small children are out of the way of the door and that you exercise extreme caution so as to avoid personal injury.

During a power outage, your local PGE and electrical companies will be working hard to restore power. Help them out by reporting your outage online if at all possible. Soon, your electricity will be restored and you will be glad you took precautionary measures to ensure the comfort and safety of your family.