If your electricity is out for an extended period of time, having an emergency power outage plan can help lessen the impact.
Living without power for a few hours is inconvenient. But, if the outage lasts several days, or longer, this inconvenience can quickly become a serious problem. You may be without heat, lights, or running water. It can be difficult to cook, clean, or keep your family safe at night.
Communication may be restricted, making you feel isolated and helpless. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, preparing for a power outage is easier than you may think. All it takes is a little advance planning.
If you live where the winters are cold, it’s important to have an alternate heat source that does not depend on electricity. This should be one of your main parts of your emergency power outage plan. A wood burning fireplace or wood stove is a great option. If your home does not already have one, they can be expensive to install. But, keep in mind that wood is usually readily available, whereas fuel stations may be closed during a disaster situation.
Portable propane or oil heaters are quite inexpensive to purchase. However, they are not usually designed for large spaces, so you would have to limit the area being heated.
Be careful to choose an alternate heat source that is approved for indoor use. If ventilated correctly, there shouldn’t be any concerns. But, for extra safety, a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector is also a good idea.
Of course, fuel for your heat source should also be part of your stockpile. Keep a few weeks supply – stored properly – in an easily accessible location.
Staying cool in the summer may be just as important as keeping warm in the winter. In this case, having a couple battery-operated fans on hand can be helpful. They are not as effective as air conditioning, but at least they will keep the air circulating in stuffy rooms.
An emergency kit includes a lot of food that can be eaten with little or no preparation. But, with a lengthy power outage, it can be good to have a means of cooking the food in your fridge before it spoils. Besides, a warm meal is better than cold beef stew straight from the can, no?
If you have a gas or propane stove, you may be able to use the burners by lighting them with a match. However, you should check with your municipality to make sure that it is safe to do so. Depending on the cause of the power outage, gas lines may have been damaged.
An indoor propane burner or portable cook-top is also a great option. It is compact, easy to store, and is available in a variety of sizes.
If you are able to go outside, you could prepare your meals on a gas/charcoal barbecue or camp stove. In some areas, you may even be able to light a campfire. But, check with authorities first to make sure this is permitted.
Whatever cooking option you choose, remember to have plenty of fuel on hand.
To prevent injuries and protect your family from other dangers, it is important to have some type of non-electric lighting. Some simple options include battery operated camping lights and flashlights, kerosene lamps, hand-crank lanterns, or large candles. Of course, you will also need to stockpile plenty of matches, lighters, and replacement batteries.
Outdoor solar lights are also a smart lighting solution. They recharge during the day and can be brought indoors at night to light your home. They require no fuel – except the sunshine – and are safe for children to use. Be sure to note these and other lighting ideas in your emergency power outage plan.
An emergency power outage plan is not complete without including a plan for reliable communications. During a power outage, devices such as televisions, radios, or cordless phones won’t work. However, in an emergency situation, it is important that you are able to receive updates or stay informed. So, it is imperative that you have a reliable means of communication. In a world of cell phone dominance, you may want to consider keeping a land line. Basic packages are inexpensive, and no electricity is needed.
Hand crank radios can also be very helpful during an outage. If you are going to make the investment, look for one that has multiple charging options. There are several models that are also powered by batteries or solar energy. Some can even be charged in your vehicle using an adapter. And, as a bonus, many hand crank radios are equipped with a USB port so they can also double as a charging station for your mobile devices.
More Emergency Power Outage Plan Preparedness Ideas
- Consider purchasing a generator. Although generators can be costly, they are able to power essential appliances such as fridges, freezers, sump pumps, and furnaces. They will also allow you to flush your toilet, use your microwave, and turn on a few lights. The larger the generator, the more it will power. But, even smaller ones can be helpful. Make sure to have it professionally hooked up so it operates correctly when you need it. And, remember to have enough fuel on hand to keep your generator running for at least 3-7 days.
Home Generators for Power Outages
- Purchase a solar powered device charger. These handy tools will allow you to charge your phone, even when there is no hydro. Plus, most models are also compatible with other USB enabled devices including tablets, music players, and portable DVD players. Some are even equipped with flashlights. What more could you ask for? When the power is out, you will still have a means of communication, entertainment, and lighting. If only they could cook……Look for models that will generate power even in low lighting, in case sunlight is limited.
- Invest in non-power tools. An emergency situation or natural disaster can cause a lot of damage. To protect your family and home, it may be necessary to make simple repairs. So, in the case of a power outage, manual tools can be helpful. Put together a kit of basics such as pliers, screwdrivers, hammer, and wrenches. Also include nails, screws, duct tape, and other repair supplies.
- Include power outage supplies in your emergency preparedness kit. You should be prepared to handle a power outage for at least 3-7 days. Be sure to have plenty of extra batteries, fuel, and charging cables (including car adapters). You may even want to store an extra can of gas for your car so you can use your vehicle as a source of power for charging devices.
In today’s modern world, living without power can be inconvenient. But, by planning ahead, you can survive even a lengthy outage with ease.