Our first thought, when the electricity fails, is whether or not we paid the bill. Fortunately, we did, but that doesn’t cover power outages thanks to inclement weather or a natural disaster.
Now we realize we should look into power outage preparedness in case of such an event.
Water flows without power, but natural and man-made disasters can contaminate your water source. Stocking up on water and avoiding any illness is the better idea. The trick is storing the right amount of water for every possible scenario.
In case of an evacuation, you should have a gallon of water per day for every individual in the house for up to three days. Otherwise, prepare for up to two weeks. Don’t forget water for your furry family members either.
Without electricity, a full freezer preserves food for forty-eight hours and a half-full freezer keeps food for twenty-four hours according to the website BePreparedCalifornia. Canned foods will survive, but they get old fast.
Easy-to-prepare, non-perishable food, like Meals Ready to Eat (MREs), will ensure you and your family have plenty to eat whether you evacuate or remain in your home. For safety, keep up to two weeks of food in a dry, cool place.
Light It Up
A flashlight doesn’t seem like a priority – until you trip over a chair in the dark and break a toe. BackDoorSurvival states that at least one good flashlight is advised, but keeping several small LED flashlights is a great idea, too.
In fact, you might want to keep a variety of light sources on hand, like battery operated lanterns and kerosene lamps.
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First Aid Kit
Inclement weather and natural disasters can cause delays in emergency service’s response times, leaving you to take care of the victim until help arrives. Thus, Ready.gov suggests you restock your First Aid kit or build one up in case of a long-term power outage.
Such a practice ensures you’re prepared to handle minor accidents and illnesses as well as administer first aid in the case of major accidents.
A radio is an important part of power outage preparation and crucial to keeping you informed of what is going on and what to expect. The American Red Cross suggests a NOAA Weather Radio, but a hand-cranked or battery operated radio will work.
Just keep in mind to preserve your battery power and only use the radio for weather updates and emergency broadcasts.
You have the suggested battery-operated devices to get your family through a long-term power outage so don’t forget the batteries. More importantly, don’t store just a few batteries or stick to the most commonly used sizes.
You want enough to see you through a few weeks as well as a variety of sizes to ensure you can run any battery-operated device.
Carbon Monoxide Detector
Natural gas becomes the mainstay during a power outage, which increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Fortunately, carbon monoxide detectors are becoming standard in homes today, but you should make sure yours is battery operated.
Don’t forget to keep batteries on hand for the device either. Don’t take risks, either, by using outdoor grills or camping stoves inside.
Landlines are quickly becoming a thing of the past, but there are those of us who continue have home phones. If you are one such individual, you should consider keeping a corded phone on hand as cordless phones may not work during a power outage.
However, if you only have cell phones, be sure to have a car charger or another means of charging your phone to keep you in contact with family, friends and emergency services. The video, Emergency Power to Keep Your Cell Phone Charged, by Tekzilla not only offers some suggestions for charging your phone during a power outage but also addresses other power outage issues and solutions.
With the power out, you have the issue of no hot water to wash dishes, counters or your hands. Add to that the problem with septic systems, although, if you have a septic tank, you’re fine.
Nevertheless, keep a decent stock of antiseptic hand soap and antibacterial wipes to prevent contaminating your food and water sources and making yourself sick. SurvivalBased.com also advises keeping water on hand to flush the toilet should water flow become a problem.
Prepare for the Cold
We all know many power failures are thanks to blizzards, yet many of us are caught unprepared. Those of us who have a fireplace and a protected stockpile of firewood are fine, but even then you should consider keeping a propane or kerosene heater on hand.
Use them in well ventilated areas, but they may become key in protecting your family from hypothermia. Today.com suggests wearing layers of clothes to help keep you warm and toasty in bitter weather.
Protection Against the Heat
Spring and summer hurricanes and floods often cause long-term power failures, leaving us to beat the heat without air conditioners according to HomeAdvisor.com.
Battery operated fans will help prevent heat stroke, particularly if you place them in open windows to help circulate the air. In addition, keep a bag of light colored, loose and flowing clothes with your power outage emergency kit.
Cash on Hand
You may think cash is the last thing you need to worry about during a power failure, but cash is important to keep on hand. Many businesses are capable of making cash transactions and enable you to purchase anything you may have forgotten to restock.
In the case of an evacuation, cash will ensure you’re able to check into a hotel room in a safe region. A credit card used exclusively for emergencies is advisable as well.
A few days without power causes boredom and makes people go stir-crazy. To prevent either, add games, books and puzzles to your emergency kit.
Be sure to consider the preferences of everyone in your household in order to keep them entertained and preoccupied during the long hours without power.
Are You Fully Prepared for a Power Outage?
No one can predict a power outage, but you can make sure you are prepared should your area experience a long-term power failure. Only you and your family know which power outage preparedness steps best fit your specific needs, although some steps are highly advised.
Food, water, batteries, light and a first aid kit are all important in a power outage. Other than that, start at the beginning of the list, chose which steps are important and start small. Before you know it, you’ll be prepared to survive weeks without power in the comfort and safety of your home.