Fact Sheet:

Safety Information for Short-Term Power Outages or "Rolling Blackouts"

What is a "Rolling Blackout?"

A rolling blackout occurs when a power company turns off electricity to selected areas to save power. The areas are selected using sophisticated computer programs and models. The blackouts are typically for one hour, then the power is restored and another area is turned off.

Hospitals, airport control towers, police stations, and fire departments are often exempt from these rolling blackouts. These blackouts usually occur during peak energy usage times, usually between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. on weekdays, but they can happen at any time of day.

Blackouts may affect the same area more than once a day, and may exceed an hour’s duration.

How Do I Find Out if My Area Will Have a Rolling Blackout?

Listen to local television, radio, and check the web site of your power company. Usually, rolling blackouts occur when power usage increases, especially during hot weather when many people are using air conditioning to keep cool. Power companies try to give a warning when they will turn off power to an area, but they can not always do that.

Top Safety Tips for a Blackout

1. Only use a flashlight for emergency lighting. Never use candles!

2. Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.

3. Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.

4. Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.

5. If you use a generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the

    outlets on the generator. Do not connect a generator to a home’s electrical system.

6. Listen to local radio and television for updated information.

How Can I Prepare Before a Blackout Happens?

Assemble essential supplies, including:

Due to the extreme risk of fire, do not use candles during a power outage.


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