Power surges are extreme, fast pulses of electronic voltage, and are considered the most damaging of all power disturbances. Surges can fry equipment not guarded by surge protectors. The extreme amount of electricity coursing through an electronic device will likely cause lasting damage as the surge outpaces the maximum voltage of the device. Guard against surges by plugging your electronics into a surge protector. Not every power strip has surge protection.
Observe the electronics plugged into the power strip. If they are flashing, such as clock radios, there is a chance the power strip experienced a surge.
Test any equipment plugged into the power strip. If the strip does not have a surge protector and the equipment will not work, a surge may have occurred.
Smell the area around the power strip. Power surges can cause acrid, burnt odors resulting from the voltage spike shorting out electronics' inner components.
Locate the strip's reset button. Following a surge, the button will switch into the reset position and will not work until manually reset. If this is the case, the strip may have experienced a power surge.