Power outages are incredibly stressful and can happen in just about any part of the world.
Losing power takes away our daily essentials and comforts, including everything from perishable foods to entertainment to lighting.
That said, there is a way you can still remain safe and comfortable during a blackout. In this guide, we give you practical tips to keep you prepared when the power goes out.
Install a Home Generator
Blackouts will prevent you from accessing electricity from the grid, but that doesn’t mean you need to go without power completely.
Invest in backup sources, such as whole home generators, designed to provide electrical power to a home in the event of an outage. These can be permanently installed on the property and connected directly to the home’s electrical system.
Some of the best generators operate on solar power, making it environmentally friendly and preventing potential carbon monoxide hazards that come from gas-fueled generators.
Assemble an Emergency Preparedness Kit
Anything can happen during a power outage. You can make life easier by keeping an emergency preparedness kit containing items such as:
- First-aid kit
- Battery-operated fans
- Hand-crank or battery-powered radio
- Tool kit
- Hand sanitizer
- Camping lantern
These are just a few suggestions. Depending on where you live and your personal needs, you may need to add other items to your kit. For example, if you have drug prescriptions, you may need to arrange with a medical professional to get an extra supply.
Secure Your Home
Securing your home during a power outage or emergency is paramount to ensure the safety of your family and possessions. Start by reinforcing your home’s security measures, particularly if your alarm system relies on electricity, as it may become compromised.
Install motion-activated outdoor lighting to deter potential intruders, and consider reinforcing doors and windows with extra locks, security bars, or shatter-resistant film.
Make sure that your home is well-lit, both inside and outside, using battery-powered or solar-powered lights.
Stock up on Water
While running water should still be available during a blackout, it’s better to be overly prepared.
Sometimes, outages can affect water treatment facilities, which run on electricity. This can impact your water heaters, disinfection systems, and wastewater pumps.
The best thing to do is to keep a supply of bottled water. It’s best to have at least two gallons of bottled water per person per day for two weeks.
Fuel Your Car in Advance
Gas stations typically power their pumps with electricity, meaning you’ll need to fill your car’s gas tank ahead of time. If you have an electric vehicle, go to a public station to fill up the batteries.
That said, with a home generator, you should be able to continually use your electric vehicle even when the power goes down.
Create a Family Emergency Plan
When it comes to power outages or other emergencies, having a well-structured family emergency plan can make all the difference in ensuring the safety and well-being of your loved ones. Follow these steps to create a comprehensive family emergency plan:
1. Define Meeting Places
Start by designating primary and secondary meeting places where your family will gather in case of an emergency. Choose locations both inside and outside your home. For example, your primary meeting place could be a central room inside your house, while your secondary meeting place might be a trusted neighbor’s house or a nearby park.
2. Establish Communication Protocols
Determine how your family will communicate during an emergency, especially if traditional communication methods are unavailable. Share contact information with each family member and ensure everyone has a list of emergency contacts. Consider using a group messaging app or a designated family communication channel.
3. Assign Responsibilities
Assign specific responsibilities to each family member based on their age and capabilities., like checking on elderly neighbors, taking care of pets, or turning off utilities if necessary. Clearly communicate these roles and responsibilities to ensure everyone knows what to do.
4. Emergency Contacts
Compile a list of emergency contacts, including local authorities, utility companies, healthcare providers, and family members or friends who live outside your immediate area. Keep this list in a readily accessible location, both digitally and in hard copy, within your emergency kit.
5. Evacuation Plan
In the event of a more severe emergency that requires evacuation, establish evacuation routes and destinations. Plan for multiple routes in case some are blocked or unsafe. Ensure everyone knows the locations of emergency shelters and the necessary supplies to take with them.
6. Medical Considerations
If any family members have specific medical needs or require medications, make sure you have a plan in place for their care during an emergency. Keep a sufficient supply of essential medicines in your emergency kit, and discuss any medical requirements with healthcare providers.
7. Practice Drills
Regularly conduct family emergency drills to ensure everyone is familiar with the plan. Practice evacuations, communication methods, and safety procedures. These drills will help everyone remain calm and focused during a real emergency.
8. Special Considerations
Take into account any special considerations for family members with disabilities, young children, or elderly individuals. Ensure that your plan accommodates their needs and that necessary supplies are readily available.
5. Stay Informed
During blackouts, many of the electronics you rely on won’t be available. Fortunately, your mobile device informs you of the latest weather alerts and safety tips. Just download specific weather apps or follow local government social media accounts.
You can check the national emergency alert system, which warns the public about potential dangers like widespread power outages or natural disasters. Local authorities will provide important announcements, such as when to evacuate.
While you may receive a warning of a potential blackout, you’ll often have no warning.
That’s why you need to be prepared at all times. Even a fallen tree can take out overhead power lines.
Follow our tips, and you’ll have peace of mind that you can be safe during a power outage.