When the power goes, especially during a storm, you’re never going to be sure how long the outage will last. It could be a few minutes; it could be a few days. After a blizzard or hurricane, it could even be weeks. No matter the cause, it’s better to have a plan in place ahead of time so you’ll know what to do.
Put together a collection of supplies to have ready for outages. Include items like flashlights, spare batteries, candles and matches, an emergency radio and a solar charger. Keep these in a place that is easily accessible, especially in the dark. Then when the lights go out, follow these steps to help ensure you and your families safety.
Hand out the Flashlights
Being in control of their own light source is a great way to keep other members of the family, especially younger children, calm and occupied.
Light the Candles
Place candles throughout the house in areas that are out of the way of being bumped into but will cast the most light for better vision.
Related Article: How to Make a Candle from Crisco
Take a Look Around Outside
Do you see lights across the street? How about a few blocks over. Making this visual assessment of the situation will help you get an idea of how widespread the outage is. If it appears to be local, then odds are it won’t last as long as it would over a larger area.
Fill Your Tubs and Sinks with Water
If you’re preparing for a blizzard or hurricane, you should probably do this in advance of the storm hitting. For all other cases, use this method to collect and store safe drinking water. That way if the outage affects the water supply, you’ll already have a supply taken from when it was still safe.
Related Article: Fresh Drinking Water: What to do in a Time of Crisis
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Unplug From the Power Grid
This may seem pointless initially, after all, there’s no power right now, right? However, surges from lightning or power stations suddenly coming back on are more likely to happen in these scenarios. It’s better to remove the chance of frying your tech by unplugging everything than rely on the surge protectors you got from Best Buy.
NOTE: Even the best surge protectors are only effective for a few years. If you are coming into store season and it’s been awhile since you bought the one protecting your 60” TV or $2000 gaming laptop, you should probably consider a replacement.
Contact Your Electric Company
Utility companies often put info recordings on their phone systems and their websites. If you have a smartphone and a decent data plan, you should be able to find out what the company knows, as they release the info. Keep in mind; it can sometimes take up to 30 minutes for them to diagnose the problem and update their info, so be patient and keep checking back.
Suggested Article: 6 Survival Benefits of a Generator
Keep Fridges and Freezers Closed as much as Possible
Without power, your food will still stay fresh for a little while, provided you don’t let the cold air out. Like a cooler, your fridge will hold its temperature for up to 4 hours, and the food in your freezer can last up to 24 hours. If the frozen items thaw, you’ll want to cook them soon, so they don’t spoil.
Move Everyone into One Room
This step applies especially during cold weather. Settle everyone into a smaller room with just enough space to move around and sleep. Cover any windows with blankets to keep the warm air from seeping out and keep the door closed as much as possible.
Lighting candles and oil lamps will help keep the temperature from dropping too far. Try to stay huddled together under covers to utilize body heat as well.
Bring Your Pets Inside and Secure Your Home
Unfortunately, outages are often taken advantage of by ne’er-do-wells who like to use the darkened streets as cover for robberies. If you need to let the dog out, be extra cautious of sounds and shadows.