Although power outages don’t occur frequently, they do happen. An outage is an inconvenience that may last from a few minutes to several hours or even days. Whether caused by a natural disaster, an accident, or failure in the electrical grid, when you’re not ready, your home and your family are at risk. Here are a few tips to prepare for a power outage.
Gather Flashlights to Prepare for a Power Outage
When the power goes out, you’ll need a plan for lighting in your home. Keep flashlights and fresh batteries on hand. It’s a great idea to have a flashlight for each member of your family. Young children will feel more comfortable with their own light source.
If you need hands-free lighting, purchase a headlamp or two. Store the lights in an easy-to-access area so everyone can find them in the dark. To be even more prepared, stash an extra flashlight in each common area, such as the kitchen, living room, and basement.
Candles are an alternative to flashlights. However, they can be a fire hazard if not used safely. If you will be using candles, burn them on a fire-resistant surface, keep them away from flammable materials, and never leave a lit candle unattended.
A power outage might also mean that your home is without water. If you’re on well water, there will be no electricity to pump water to the taps. Be prepared by storing bottled water.
Store enough so that you have at least one gallon of water per family member per day. Buy gallons of water if a storm is expected. When severe weather is forecast, fill a bathtub with water and fill water bottles that you have around the house ahead of time.
When the Power is Out, Leave the Fridge Closed
The refrigerator can maintain its temperature for several hours. If the power outage is short, the food inside will still be safe to use. If you must open the refrigerator, do so quickly. Keeping the door closed keeps cold air trapped inside.
If the electricity will be out for a while, plan ways to use the food as soon as possible. Snack on fresh fruits and vegetables and make sandwiches with the cold cuts and cheeses. If you have a grill out back, cooking meals for your family is still an option. Eat the most perishable foods first so they don’t spoil during the blackout.
Purchase a Battery-Powered Radio to Prepare for a Power Outage
Although it is unlikely, a power outage may affect the phone service in your area. Purchase a battery-powered radio for your home in case of extreme conditions. A radio will provide updates and you can tune into the NOAA Weather radio station to get live updates on the weather and outages.
Prepare for Power Outage by Having First Aid Kit
You probably already have a standard first aid kit in your home. Make sure it is well-stocked with basic medications for pain relief and allergies. If you have family members or pets with a health issue, keep a supply of their medications with your first-aid supplies.
To prepare for a power outage, add hygiene products to your kit. Make sure you have hand sanitizer. Other useful items include baby wipes, makeup remover wipes, and water purification tablets.
The above tips will help you handle the inconveniences that a power outage causes. Build your emergency kit ahead of time so you’re always ready in case the lights go out.