How to Get Ready for and Live With a Power Outage

You likely know the ominous feeling: As a storm or storm sweeps throughout your community, you’re huddled safe in your home or in a nearby refuge … and with no warning, the lights wither and perish. You’ve lost power, and experience says it could be some time before you receive it back. What do you do today?

If you’re one of the lucky people with a generator, the moving won’t be so bad, and you can live in relative comfort until the power’s back on. But generators could be costly, beyond the reach of many people. When a storm is coming and you could be facing days or weeks with no power, these measures can help you make it through.

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Strategy early. When a big storm is bearing down, there’ll be a run on water, propane, mobile figurines and other essentials at local stores. Keep as a number of these items as possible on standby so you don’t get caught in the beat or, even worse, confront a deficit.

Stock the pantry. Have available nonperishable products that offer loads of protein and other nutrients and may be eaten cold: peanut butter, whole-grain crackers, energy bars, beef jerky, canned and dried fruit and so on. Make sure you’ve got litter, food and other supplies available for pets too.

Do not forget to maintain a manual can opener nearby. And stockpile lots of bottled water or water in jugs for drinking.

Make or buy extra ice. If you know there is a storm headed your way, load up on bagged ice in the supermarket or fill zip-top plastic bags with water and freeze them to create cold packs. Utilize them in the fridge, the freezer and simmer to maintain milk, milk and other perishables at a safe temperature as long as possible.

Get meds filled. If you’re running low on medication and the power is out at your local pharmacy, you could be in a bind. Get your next wash and keep it handy.


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Get your grill ready. If you can not use your cooker, you will want to have an alternative way to cook. For gas grills, have extra propane tanks on hand; when the grill is connected to a natural gas line which may be affected by the storm, then it’s worth buying or planting a charcoal version. Lay in a supply of charcoal, in watertight containers to keep it dry when needed.

Remember to grill outside only; do not hesitate to bring the grill inside, no matter how cold or wet the weather is. At a pinch you can channel your scout days and fashion a makeshift oven. Utilize the oven outside, away from any flammable surfaces, and extinguish the coals promptly after cooking.

Know where your lanterns and flashlights are. It’s a good idea to keep at least one or 2 in an easy-to-reach place on every floor of the house. Consider flashlights which are powered by winding or another nonbattery method.

Charge your phone and other electronics ahead of time. Then use them as sparingly as possible; power them down or off when you do not need them. If you have car chargers, you can top off the charge occasionally when required. And while we’re discussing automobiles, fill your gas tank before the storm hits.

More ways to Remain charged and connected when the power goes out

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Get laundry completed. Your washer and dryer will not function while the power is out. Wash as many loads as possible prior to the storm so you will not run out of clean clothing while the power crews do their thing.

If necessary, have a portable heating or cooling supply. In hot climates or in the middle of summer, you might not have air conditioning; in winter, you could be without heating for some time. Buy a few cheap battery-operated fans (and lots of extra batteries) and/or propane heaters. If you’ve got a wood-burning fireplace, make sure there’s lots of firewood to fulfill it.

With propane heaters, security is key — they’re not designed for small or poorly ventilated spaces. Use them on your largest room and do not run them; use them just to keep the room warm enough to avoid compromising your health. Stay bundled up in sweaters, hats, gloves, extra blankets and socks.

Additionally, know when to run and cut. If you’re not able to keep the house warm or cool enough for many family members to remain safe, go to a nearby resort or refuge, or go to a buddy or family member’s house in an area not affected by the storm.

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Conserve water. Fun fact: A typical family of four goes through nearly 300 gallons of water a day, much of it hot. A gas water heater may work even when the power’s out. An one clearly won’t. Use hot water sparingly to allow it to last as long as possible, but with no heating source, it is going to start to cool quite shortly. If you have to, you also can heat water onto the grill or over the fire.

With water that is well, you’ll lose pressure in the event the pump change will not work. If you do not possess a supplemental storage tank built into your own system or a portable generator which powers the pump, then fill big tubs or your bathtub with water which it is possible to dive into for flushing toilets or sponging off. Never drink water during or after a power outage until you’re certain it’s not contaminated.

When you’ve got a generator, offer to help. Do everything you can to make life easier for other people in your area. Let neighbors bill telephones or take a warm shower, or prepare hot food to send to older residents or families with young kids. Should you have Internet access, you may even use the power of social networking to spread the word about individuals locally who may be in need of immediate assistance.

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