Storms and natural disasters can very much affect your electricity supply. Knowing how to prepare for a power outage is crucial. Some careful planning and an emergency plan will go a long way in keeping you and your loved ones protected and comfortable. The duration of the power outage should determine your level of preparedness. Here are nine ways to get ahead of any blackout.
- Talk to the power company beforehand
If your power company announces an outage before it occurs, speak to them to put you on the priority service list especially if you have a critical medical device running in your home.
- Put together a power outage emergency kit
Instead of dangerously scrambling for supplies during a blackout, be prepared by assembling the necessities into a container (duffel bag or storage box) while there is still power. Keep this container in an accessible location in the house. Your emergency kit should contain necessities—like the first aid box, snacks, water bottles, and flashlights.
You will find further information on my article for emergency kits here.
- Get an emergency weather radio
Hand-crank or solar-powered emergency weather radios are very important for information. Investing in one would save you a lot of stress. Information is key during a blackout. And you do not want to be left in the dark. A solar-powered radio offers local news and emergency announcements to keep you in touch with the outside world.
- Get enough water and non-perishables
Stock up on enough non-perishable food (mostly canned food) and water to last you and your household for at least three days. Getting these sorted beforehand will save the hassle of crowded stores and shopping panic. Go for shelf-stable food like peanut butter, beef or chicken bouillon, canned vegetables, cereal, comfort foods (cookies and chocolate), crackers, dried fruit, fruit juice, granola bars, instant coffee and tea, oatmeal, pasta, powdered milk, rice, etc.
Building at least a three-day supply of meals should be your target. Note: pay careful attention to expiration dates while shopping or consuming.
To keep your food fresh, avoid opening and closing your refrigerator all the time. A food thermometer is also handy in determine which food in the refrigerator is safe to eat or not. To improve the cooling life of your refrigerator, consider putting one or two gallons of water in it. More ice is also good.
All the above food is great too have in an emergency. You can also find freeze-dried food with a 25-year shelf life at Legacy Food Storage and Mother Earth Products. Both these companies have a variety of freeze-dried food that you can buy and store for emergencies.
- Illuminate your home
Illuminating your home is important during a blackout. While candles are a low-cost choice, they are a fire hazard, particularly when you have kids running around. Some better lighting options are solar lanterns, headlamps, and flashlights.
Flashlights are inevitable. Keep them within reach and be sure to include them in your emergency kit. At least every member of your family should have one. Getting a solar lantern (powered by the sun) is also a nice investment. Charge it outside in the daytime and bring in during the night.
- Invest in a water filtration system
Water is life, and getting drinking water might be hampered during a natural disaster or a blackout. For proper functioning, one person needs at least one gallon of drinking water per day. You should also take account of water for hygiene, cooking, and pets when collecting water.
If you run out of drinking water, you can collect rainwater or water from nearby a stream, lake, or river and run it through a water purification system. You can find some excellent water purification kits here.
- Cooking is necessary
Heating up your canned food is essential. Hot meals can help raise spirits during a blackout. Eco stoves and solar ovens are a great investment. Great for you and great for the environment.
You can check out my article on solar cookers here.
Having a backup generator ensures you will have a heating system that works during a blackout. Power outage during winter can be a terrible experience. While wood stoves, a fireplace, and a portable kerosene heater are cheaper options, they are less eco-friendly options.
Sleeping bags, space blankets, hand and feet warmers can help trap body heat. You buy these things at a bargain during warmer months.
- Get together and stay together
Get everyone to stay together in one room and have fun activities to pass the time—from board games to books and magazines.
- Invest in a backup power source
One of the smartest ways of staying prepared during a blackout is by having an emergency backup power. And solar energy is one of the most sustainable, environmentally friendly, and cost-effective options out there. During a power outage (whether manmade or through natural disasters), you will generate your own power as long as the sun continues to shine.
With backup electricity, you can preserve your food and medication in the refrigerator while keeping your home warm or cool and illuminated. You can power your phones and gadgets to stay connected. Purify your water. And more importantly, keep critical medical devices running.
Another great fact about solar energy is that you can store it for later use. A battery can let you store up energy in the daytime and discharge it when the sun goes down. This way, you are getting a steady supply of power every hour of the day.