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Safety

Power's out! Surviving three days without electricity

What to do before, during and after a power outage.

  • Grades 6, 7
  • Group Work
  • 40 mins

Overview

Power outages can occur at any time. Being prepared before the power goes out is the best way to stay safe and comfortable while you wait for the lights to come back on. 

What you'll need

  • "Power's out" worksheet

Instructions

Thinking about electricity

1. Have the class think about how we depend on electricity every day.

2. Now think about what happens when the power goes out:

  • Have you ever experienced a power outage at home?
  • What caused the power to go out?
  • What did you notice? What could you do or not do?
  • Did you have lights? Heat? Hot water? What did you eat? 

Living without power

3. In small groups have students brainstorm what life would be like without power for up to three days. Remember that in a power outage, you may be left without heat, light, hot water and the ability to use or charge electronic devices.

4. Ask the class for ideas and write them up on the board. 

Getting ready

5. Go over the "Power’s out" worksheet and have students complete the before, during or after exercise in pairs.

6. As a class, check the answers (see "Notes to help you teach" below for the answer key).

7. Now put the plan into action by sending the worksheet home for students to share with their parents and get prepared.


Additional Information

  • Observe students during small group work. Are they contributing to the conversations, engaged in the topic, listening to others and building on others’ ideas?
  • Before students bring their "Power’s out" worksheet home, check that the steps are in the correct order.
  • This short Government of B.C. video covers what to expect in a power outage.
  • Have students report back about what their family is doing to prepare for an outage.
  • Visit bchydro.com/outages to learn about outages in your area and how to stay safe.

A power outage can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. There are many causes of power outages that can occur throughout B.C. – wind or snow storms, car accidents and more.

During a power outage, you may be left without lighting, heating/air conditioning, hot water or running water.

You can lessen the impact of a power outage by taking the time to prepare in advance. A household should be prepared to go without electricity for at least 72 hours.

Worksheet answer key

Before an outage

  • Develop a preparedness plan with your family. For helpful tips on putting together a plan, visit getprepared.ca
  • Check that emergency equipment like flashlights and radios are working properly
  • Make a list of important local phone numbers. Include the police, fire, poison control centre and the number to report a power outage: 1-800-BCHYDRO
  • Use surge protectors to protect your electronic devices such as computers, printers and TVs.

During an outage

  • Find out if the outage is just in your home or in other houses around you. If your neighbour’s power is still on, check your circuit break panel or fuse box.
  • Never go near or touch a downed or damaged power line. Stay back at least 10 metres and call 911 to report. Don’t attempt to remove objects or debris around the power line
  • Turn off all appliances, especially those that generate heat. This helps prevent injury, damage and fire when the power is restored.
  • Switch off all lights except one inside your home and one outside to let you and crews outside know when the power is back on.
  • Keep the doors of your fridge and freezer closed as much as possible to keep the cold air in. Your food will stay fresh longer if you only open the fridge when necessary.

After an outage

  • Turn appliances back on (turn on the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes before reconnecting the others)
  • Check to make sure your fridge and freezer are back on. Decide if anything needs to be tossed. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Reset your clocks, timers and alarms
  • Restock any supplies you used from the emergency kit

Use these tips to prepare for an outage at your school:

https://www.bchydro.com/safety-outages/power-outages/prepare-for-outages/prepare-your-business.html 

Information to help families create an emergency plan:

https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/plns/plan/mrgnc-pln-en.aspx

Grade 6 and Grade 7 Physical Health and Education - Content
  • Responding to emergencies: basic principles include following safety guidelines, having an emergency response plan and knowing how to get help

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