“Oh, no, where did I put that flashlight?” Are you suddenly sitting in the dark? A burned out transformer may be the culprit.

What is the transformer? It’s a device that steps down the high voltage of the electricity delivered from the power plant to a voltage that can safely be brought into your home. A single transformer often services several houses in your neighborhood. Utility crews must shut down the delivery of power to safely replace the damaged transformer with a new one. This repair work can take hours. Besides grabbing your flashlight, what else should you do?

Let There Be Light

Store flashlights, other battery-operated lanterns, and candles where you can easily find them. Place candles away from any flammable materials, keep them stationary, and do not leave them unattended. You can also buy plug-in emergency lights. These devices plug into an outlet, detect when power is not present, and light up and remain lit for as many as 40 hours. Use flashlights, not candles, to light your way as you move around your house.

Phone a Friend

Using your cell phone or phone plugged directly into a phone jack, call the power company to report the outage and ask for an estimate of how long the power will be off. Cordless phones or house phones plugged into an outlet will not work during an outage. (As a precautionary measure, keep your cell phone charged!)

Unplug from Electronics

Unplug all electronics – cell phones, computers, etc. Power surges may occur when service returns that could damage the sensitive electronic parts of these devices. Use a battery-operated radio tuned to an AM station to hear emergency instructions. You may also receive emergency alerts on your cell phone.

Keep Cool

Refrain from opening the refrigerator and freezer doors. Food will stay fresh in an unopened refrigerator for four hours when the power is out. During a power outage, food will remain cool and safe in an unopened freezer for up to 24 hours.

Use Generators Safely

Use portable generators with caution; do not run them inside the house or garage. Fumes from the generator can be extremely hazardous. Recognize generators keep only one large appliance and a couple of lights operational at one time. You may need to switch the generator from one appliance to another.

When the transformer in your area quits, you can follow a few simple recommendations to stay safe and secure until the new transformer is sending power to you and your neighbors again.