How to Prepare Your Home—And Garage—For a Power Outage

A power outage can occur at any time. Even if the forecast is free of storms, heavy precipitation, and strong winds, the power grid can still go down due to factors such as equipment failure and wildlife interference. By being well prepared, you minimize the inconveniences and risks involved with a prolonged power outage. In today’s blog, we’ll make sure you have all the information you need to be prepared for the next time your power is down and also how to get in and out of your garage! 

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How to prepare for a power outage

You should make the following preparations sooner rather than later so that you’re ready for the next power outage.

  • Create an emergency kit. Put together an emergency kit that will allow you and your family to be self-sufficient without power for at least three days. It should include items such as ample drinking water, non-perishable foods, a manual can opener, a flashlight, candles and a first aid kit. Keep it in an easily accessible place.
  • Make a list of emergency numbers. Write down all the relevant emergency contact numbers (your power or hydro company, the local fire department, your personal doctor, etc.) and put this sheet of paper somewhere everyone can access it like on the fridge or next to your home phone.
  • Consider getting a generator. A portable generator can prove indispensable during a prolonged power outage. However, make sure you know how to use it properly. Never run it inside your home or near a window, as it gives off carbon monoxide.
  • Install a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector. When combustible fuels are used during an outage, there’s a heightened risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Invest in surge-protecting power bars. This will help protect your sensitive electrical appliances.

Finally, you may need to take certain special precautions if there’s a person in your family with a disability or who requires assistance. Consider how a power outage will affect them. For example, does this person rely on electrical medical equipment? If this person requires the use of an elevator, what’s his or her evacuation route during an emergency?

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What to do during a power outage

Being prepared also involves knowing what to do during a power outage.

  • Get to the source. Check whether the power outage is only in your home, or if your neighbours’ power is out too. If only your house appears affected, check your circuit breaker panel or fuse box. If other houses on your street are affected, contact the power company.
  • Disconnect your electronics. When the power grid eventually comes back on, it may create power surges, which can damage sensitive electronic components in TVs, computers, and appliances. Unplug all your electronics and, for good measure, turn off the lights (except one so that you can tell when the power has returned).
  • Stay updated. Using your mobile device or a battery-powered radio, look for any status updates about the power outage.
  • Try to keep the fridge closed. Keep your fridge and freezer closed for as long as possible. A refrigerator can keep food cold for about four hours when unopened. And an unopened freezer can keep food frozen for 24 to 36 hours.

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How to open your garage door during a power outage

You may chose to leave your house during a power outage in circumstances where it’s safe to do so. If you keep your car in a garage, you’ll be faced with the problem of getting the garage door open. Fortunately, manually opening your garage door isn’t at all difficult. Here’s how you do it.

On virtually all garage door systems, there’s a rope with a handle (usually red) that hangs down from the trolley. Pulling on this manual release rope disengages the trolley, allowing you to slide the garage door up and down manually. Note that if you have a T-rail opener, you’ll need to pull the manual release rope down and then back toward the opener.

Only ever disengage the trolley when the garage door is closed. Otherwise, your garage door could come crashing down.

To reattach the door to the trolley, pull the manual release rope back toward the opener until the trolley snaps back into place. Alternatively, you can simply open the garage door with the wall button when the power returns—this will cause the trolley to re-engage automatically.

Or, forget all of that and invest in a modern garage door opener with battery backup. These openers continue to work and even provide a light source when the power goes out.

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Quality garage doors and openers in Western Canada

If you want to upgrade your garage door opener, count on Creative Door. We offer state-of-the-art LiftMaster and Genie openers that include battery backup and a host of other useful features, including Liftmaster's myQ technology. For a quote on a new garage door opener, contact our team today.


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