For the past couple of years, Californians have experienced devastating fires across the state. This year, PG&E responded with blackouts, intended to reduce the risk of wildfires. While it may seem ludicrous to some, this is our new normal.
PG&E power outages hit the East Bay hills this past fall. Picture by ABC7 San Francisco.
With the dry season behind us, it’s the perfect time to reflect on how we can be better prepared for blackouts next year. Specifically, we’re talking about how to best use technology to keep you and your family safe.
Here are the top four tech tips you need to know for a blackout:
#1. Maximize Use of Your Devices
In the hours before a (scheduled) blackout, charge your devices. You want to make sure you go into an outage with a 100% battery.
Once the blackout starts, only use your devices when necessary. Turn them off when you’re not using them. When you are, use low battery mode. You can also dim the light on your device and turn off the WiFi to save more battery.
#2. Unplug Electronics
To avoid the harmful impact of power surges – “a spike in the electrical current flowing through the wires of your house” – be sure to unplug all the electronics in your house. However, you will want to keep one on to alert you when the power is back.
The experts at The Old Farmer’s Almanac recommend using a surge protector. They say this will protect electronics from power surges and voltage spikes.
#3. Tap into Alternate Power Sources
There are several ways you can still access power during a blackout. For instance, you can use your car to charge your devices. You can also charge your solar lights during the day and bring them in to use at night.
#4. Plan How to Use Things Without Power
Before a blackout, learn and plan how to use things, like your garage, without power.