Not all squirrels are good! Check out what this one did:

Photo: A red squirrel in the forest (Sciurus vulgarism). cc-by-2.0.
Photo: A red squirrel in the forest (Sciurus vulgarism). cc-by-2.0.

According to, at least 1,700 customers lost power one Sunday morning– and a squirrel was to blame for the outage. It appears the squirrel had chewed through a dysfunctional power line!

Not all squirrels are innocent and cute. This little bugger took down a power system– reminding us that power outages are always just a small (or large) disaster away and that we should prepare for them.

Here are some tips to protect yourself and your family during a power outage:

  • Be sensible. Try and use flashlights for emergency lighting around kids and unsafe surfaces. Candles can — and do — cause fires because people get careless or disorientated.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Most food requiring refrigeration can be kept safely in a closed refrigerator for several hours. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours.For more information about food safety visit our food page.
  • Take steps to remain cool if it is hot outside. In intense heat when the power may be off for a long time, consider going to a movie theater, shopping mall or “cooling shelter” that may be open in your community. If you remain at home, move to the lowest level of your home, since cool air falls. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing. Drink plenty of water, even if you do not feel thirsty.
  • Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside. Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors. Never use your oven as a source of heat. If the power may be out for a prolonged period, plan to go to another location (the home of a relative or friend, or a public facility) that has heat to keep warm. Remember those solar power generators seldom pack much of a punch. Most will just about make a cup of coffee, so check them put very carefully. If you’re getting a back-up generator remember the noisy ones will attract neighbors in need. If you’re installing a major back-up system assess your needs (medical devices, computers, freezers, etc.) and discuss your needs with an electrician who can calculate your true power needs.
  • Tiny SquirrelThe (good) Squirrel says: Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other devices. Add surge protector strips on important outlets.
  • Only use gas generators away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home’s electrical system.Stay safe out there folks!