One of the most frustrating occurrences is a power outage. Whether it’s a rolling blackout or due to a natural disaster, they’re a huge pain. As any old saying goes, preparation is key. That’s why we put together the best power outage survival guide for your household to follow. Don’t delay, grab your notebook and write down these key tips and tricks to make sure your household is prepared.
How to Prepare For a Power Outage
The one thing about power outages is that generally you don’t know when it’s going to happen to you. There are areas in the United States that can expect rolling blackouts to help pressure on the grid (ahem, Texas and California), but for the most part power outages aren’t expected. So before the next big storm or summer power surge, take down these quick ways you can prepare for it as part of your power outage survival guide plan.
Put Together a Power Outage Kit
Having a kit already put together puts you ahead of the game if the power is shut off. The last thing you’ll want to do when the lights are out is to try and scramble through your household to find different supplies to help you out. Instead, go ahead and create a power outage kit and put it in a place that’s easily accessible. This could be a hall closet or in the master bedroom. Ideally, you want this on your main level so you’re not having to climb or descend stairs in the dark. Wherever you put it, remember where it is and make sure that everyone in your family also knows where the kit is.
So, what should you put in your kit? Here are some top items that should be included in your power outage survival kit.
- Flashlights. It’s also a great plan to throw in some extra batteries in there, as well. It’s best to have one flashlight per person. That way, everyone has their own source of light if they need it.
- Blankets. These can be thermal blankets or regular, whatever you think fits your needs best.
- An emergency weather radio. This is great in the event that your power outage is due to natural disasters, such as a tornado or hurricane. That way, you still have access to what’s happening since your television won’t turn on. Generally you can find both solar power or hand crank radios. That way, you don’t need extra batteries or require a generator.
- Activities and games. If you have kids, think about buying them something different to throw in their bag so they have something to be excited about and distract them. Think coloring or activity books and lots of crayons.
Have a Backup Water Supply
A general rule of thumb is to have one gallon of water per person per day. If you’re preparing for a huge storm, look to stock up on bottled water to last you a few days. These are the first items grabbed off shelves, so think about storing extra cases in your household just in case.
Stock Your Pantry with Non-Perishable Items
Grab stashes of cereals, dried fruit, canned vegetables, and more. If you have kids, take them to the store with you and have them pick out their own non-perishables. That way, they know what they have and you’re sure that they’ll eat it.
Have a Food Thermometer
When the power comes back on, you’ll want to take the internal temperature of perishable items in your refrigerator. This way you can avoid getting food poisoning or throwing away food that you thought was bad, but was actually okay.
Look Towards Owning a Backup Power Generator
While this is more expensive than buying a few cans of canned carrots, a backup power generator is also the best option to have in your home if you’re experiencing a blackout. If you live in an area that frequents blackouts, look towards this investment. There are plenty of options on the market for you to choose from depending on your budget. These generators run on fuel and can power your home for as long as the tank is filled.
Install an Ultraviolet Water Purifier
A common occurrence with power outages is having to also boil your water after the lights come back on. Instead of boiling gallons of water, look towards having a UV Water purifier in your household. This form of water filtration is designed to remove 99.9% of water borne bacteria and viruses. This way, you’re able to purify your water in a quick, safe, and efficient method.
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During the Outage
When your power is out, you may feel a little helpless. However, there are different ways you can make the experience easier when your power comes back on.
Keep Your Food Safe
To do this, you’re going to follow a few different steps.
First, keep the doors to the refrigerator and the freezer closed as much as you possibly can. We know, we know. Standing aimlessly in front of the fridge to look for food is a common pastime. However, you’re going to want to keep those items cold, so the more times you’re opening and closing it, the more you’re affecting the temperature inside. A refrigerator can keep food cold for four hours if it isn’t opened. Meanwhile, a full freezer will maintain temperature for 48 hours. A half full freezer can keep items cold for 24 hours as long as the doors stay closed.
If you need to open the door to the fridge or freezer, go for the perishable food first. This includes meat and dairy products. If your outage persists over a day, look to put together a cooler full of ice and move perishable food from your freezer to the cooler.
Take Care of Your Electronics
If possible, you’ll need to unplug, disconnect, or turn off any appliances that you were using when the power was on. Turn on at least one light so you know when your power has flipped back on. Make sure to unplug the unnecessary and sensitive electronics.
Avoid Unnecessary Travel
If the power outage is affecting the city, chances are the traffic lights will be off. This leads to congested traffic and burning fuel. If power outages are extended, cities can run through their supply of gasoline.
Power Outage Survival Guide: After the Outage
The last bit of our power outage survival guide is what to do after the outage. So the lights came back on and everyone was cheering- great! But what now?
Check Your Food and Medication
Remember that Food Thermometer? Yeah, go ahead and grab that. You’re going to want to throw away any food that was exposed to temperatures 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for two or more hours. Additionally, toss any food that has an unusual smell, color, or texture. Trust us, food poisoning is not worth trying to salvage the $15 you spent on raw chicken. Toss it and buy new. When it comes to sorting through your food, live by the phrase “when in doubt, throw it out.”
If your power is out for over 24 hours, discard medication that requires refrigeration unless the label says otherwise. It’s a good idea to check in with your doctor or pharmacist to double-check and see if you can get a new supply asap.
Check Your Breakers and Fuses
To do this, locate your electric panel which is ordinarily housed in a closet, garage, basement, or your attic. If your panel has breakers, look to see if any are positioned in the “off” location and switch them back to “on.” If the breakers automatically flip back to the off position, call a professional electrician.
If your home runs on fuses, rather than breakers, check to make sure that they are not melted or discolored. In the event that fuses or breakers are discolored or melted, replace them as soon as possible.
Check For Downed Wires
If the power outage was caused by a natural disaster or a downed power line, you’ll need to check around your perimeter for safety purposes. Survey your property for any broken or sparking wires. No matter what, do not touch these wires. Steer clear of any objects touching them as well, such as a tree branch. A typical rule is to stay at least 10 feet from downed lines or any other electrical conductor. If you have animals, keep them away from the outdoors until you’re sure that it’s safe for them to run around.
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Nobody likes going through a power outage. However, having a plan as to what to do before, during, and after can help alleviate some of the stress that accompanies it. When it comes to preparation, ONIT Home has you covered with UV light water purifiers and home generators. To find out more, visit us online or give us a call today at 1-833-433-0331.
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