Jul 11, 2022 - News

How to stay cool in a summer blackout

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Monday marked the latest test of the state's power grid, with officials urging Texans to conserve energy during peak hours.

The big picture: ERCOT didn’t anticipate any "system-wide outages" as of mid-afternoon, but it's yet another reminder to prepare for potential blackouts in the summer heat.

Here's what you should do ahead of time:

  • Fill your car with gas, get cash and stock up on water and nonperishable food items.
  • Purchase emergency items like a first aid kit, a battery powered radio and fan.
  • Conserve energy usage by rotating reversible ceiling fans counterclockwise, closing blinds and setting your thermostat higher.
  • Make a plan in case you need to evacuate, and review cooling center locations.

Here's what to do if you lose power:

  • Make sure you, your loved ones and pets drink lots of water.
  • Keep curtains closed, especially those facing direct sunlight.
  • Use towels soaked in cold water and ice packs on the body to stay cool.
  • Circulate the air with a battery powered fan and open the windows at night.
  • Take a cold bath or hop in a swimming pool to cool off.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed to prevent food from spoiling sooner.

The bottom line: Know the signs of heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Check on pets, elderly neighbors and children.


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