Power outage while on a sit!

So I’m on a sit in Nashville, about 90 minutes from my own home. Pretty good storm blew through here last night, and knocked the power out at around 12:30 a.m. I heard a loud ZAP! and saw a bright blue flash …and then total darkness.

Since I have my car, I have more stuff than I would if I had flown somewhere. I used my phone light to get to the car to get out my extra flashlights, and a “giant” portable power bank (Jackery, from amazon.com, about US$250) that I use for car camping.

Then I quickly went around the house and unplugged their important electronics (computers and internet router) because sometimes when the power comes back on, there could be a surge that could fry some devices. I lost a printer this way, and it was already on a surge suppressor!

Because of the timing, my only inconvenience was that I had to brush my teeth in a bathroom illuminated by a flashlight :grin: beyond that, there was nothing else to do so I just went to sleep! When I woke up at 7:00 a.m., the power was back on and everything is fine.

My lesson learned, however: The homeowner created their own document and didn’t use the welcome guide format. I didn’t insist on collecting additional important information since it was “only” 4 days. I didn’t have the phone number for the electric company. I probably could have figured out the circuit breaker location. I was mostly worried about the contents of their refrigerator! You never know how long these things can last!

Does anyone have any suggestions besides the standard “don’t open the refrigerator or freezer”?

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I’ve had 2 power out experiences.
First was on Jeju Island, Korea. A lightning strike tripped the circuit breakers for part of the house. Which isn’t a big deal except the HO hadn’t told me where the breakers were and at least in this house, the panel in front of the breaker box was ‘art.’ I texted the HO and she let me know.
The other was sitting for my brother locally. I just took the dogs to my place for the night. Power was back the next morning.
I did have 1 utility mishap that was a bit more problematic. I came down to the basement to clean the cat litter boxes in the morning to find water on the basement floor. I texted the HOs who told me to stay out of the basement and keep the cats out as well if possible. It seems that West Haven, CT has occasional sewer backup problems. The HO said it had happened twice before. She called the city and then I got a call from the city about an hour later - an engineer came out and told me that the city would be having one of the cleanup companies call me and come out same day - a Sunday. An hour later that was done, sanitized, etc. The HO noted how well I had handled the problem in her review!


Hi @MissChef having your car and “appliances” was indeed a plus and a reminder to owners and sitters to have that Plan B to cover power outages, flash lights, candles and a hard copy of the welcome guide is often helpful.

The main plus for the owners was that you were there to check everything when the power went off and came back … I went on a week long sit to Edinburgh leaving my home empty (I have no pets) we came back to an awful mess, a packed, defrosted freezer and the lost contents of two fridges and the freezer of course.

There had been a short power outage a main breaker tripped and didn’t come back on which happened just 36 hours after we left, should have gone to TrustedHousesitters.com

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I print off a sit guide in advance of a sit as you never know… I always take a spare flashlight on my belt with me. One of the first things I do with a HO is have them walk me through and show me the circuit breaker box, water main shut-off, and gas shut-off. As an old Eagle Scout, Be Prepared. When I go off on an emergency site management assignment I have a full emergency kit with medical supplies etc., but this is too much for a THS sit.


My Fitbit has a flashlight function, and my phone is the first thing I use, like I said, just to get to the other flashlights… I have plenty of flashlights, and power bricks to charge my electronics. For that matter, Since I have my own car here, I have everything that -I- personally need to be comfortable for several days, but I’m not going to go into that detail here.

What I DON’T have is the ability to power their fridge, but if that food was going to go bad, I could have cooked it at least :slight_smile: When I went to check that everything was still frozen solid this morning, I noticed that they didn’t even have ice cream that I could have saved from melting by making a sacrifice and eating it. :joy:

I mentioned the issue for two reasons:

Number one, to start a discussion about what else you might do to protect a person’s house, and

Number two, as a heads up to other homeowners!! DON’T think just because it’s a quick trip that you can afford to skimp on the tour and edification of your house sitter!

I do emergency site management.
In the case of a power outage, a THS Sitter is only responsible for reasonable care for the home and pets.
Your safety is the most important consideration.
Avoid open flame. A candle can burn the house down.
Keep a written log of what you do:
If possible, contact the HO and inform them there is an outage and share a reasonable estimate of when power might be restored should you have one. Call them again once power is restored.
Turn the porch light to the on position for the power company.
Fill containers with several gallons of drinking water. Try to keep the water where it will not freeze (wrap containers in blankets)
It might be prudent to unplug electronics (make a list).
Play calmly with pets to reduce their anxiety.
Do not open the freezer for the first 24 hours. It will likely be OK for 24 to 48 hours without power. Be prepared to check the temperature once power is back on. Most foods can be refrozen if they have not been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours.
Avoid opening the refrigerator as anything in there needs to be thrown away after 4 hours above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Unless you have a generator, you are not likely able to do much more for the freezer and refrigerator. Do NOT run a generator inside the house - it could kill you.
Preparing a large amount of diverse food for extensive preservation is a complex task far beyond a sit.
In cold weather, gather warm bedding to a small area. Avoid getting wet. Avoid major exertion.
Don’t forget to drink water (not alcohol) and water pets.
There are many more steps which might be taken, but this is a good start.


AMAZING! Thank you!

Turn the porch light to the on position for the power company.

Proud to say that I had all the other stuff down, but I didn’t think about the porch light because where I live, you can’t even see my house from the road.

Preparing a large amount of diverse food for extensive preservation is a complex task far beyond a sit.

No plans for “preserving” it, just cooking it so it wouldn’t go to waste. [yum] It would be like the most intense “iron chef” contest ever. :rofl:

And, power outage or not, I NEVER have candles where there are animals. One swipe of a tail and you’re done for. I grew up in Chicago, learning all about Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. A Cow, A Lantern, and a Myth: Mrs. O'Leary and Nineteenth Century Immigrants in Chicago | WTTW Chicago and now that song is going to be stuck in my head… Mrs O'Leary Song - YouTube

I’m sitting in Nashville too and didn’t notice the outage last night. I love it here so far… except for the allergies! The HO commented that just about everyone, even people who aren’t normally sensitive to pollen, gets affected in the summertime here. Any tips on how to handle them? I got 3 different kinds of allergey medication from Target and am rotating them to see what works best but rather not be so much of a pill popper if there are other ways to manage it.

Xyzal. You can FINALLY get a generic brand for about a third of the price at CVS.

I’m going to send you a private message, but if anyone else wants to talk about allergies, I have time for this. :joy:

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