Image by Brian Merrill from Pixabay

How to Prep for a Long Power Outage

California’s rolling blackouts are one thing, but for people who live in areas with severe weather, prolonged power outages are much more than a mild inconvenience. Spending multiple days without power will make you forget the novelty that comes along with getting the candles out and make you appreciate the convenience of modern infrastructure.

If you’re someone who lives in a susceptible area, or if you just want to be extra prepared, you’ll be happy to know that it’s possible to make enduring a long-term power outage much less difficult. You and your family will be safer and more comfortable if you follow these suggestions.

Gather Food and Water

Guidelines for food and water storage to avoid a bad situation during a long power outage are similar to any disaster prep. You should assume that each family member will need at least one gallon of water per day for consumption and more in addition to that for washing and supporting pets. If it sounds like a lot of water, that’s because it is. You’ll want to plan ahead an have a stash available, but you should also have some form of water purification like a gravity filter, water purification tablets or a way to boil water without electricity.

In addition to your water, you’ll need enough non-perishable food to get through the incident. When you’re creating a food store, make sure you observe a hard and fast rule not to take from it unless you’re in a disaster situation. Pack things like canned goods, peanut butter and crackers, oatmeal, dried fruit and broths.

If you’re one of the 8% of American households that can use wood for heat, make sure you’ve got a good source of dried wood for fuel and can use it to boil water and add some variety to your diet. If you don’t have a wood-burning appliance, we strongly recommend investing in a generator that can be placed outside your home and used to supply auxiliary power for your place.

Prepare Your Space

Image by Brian Merrill from Pixabay

Power outages expose some often-overlooked realities about the appliances we take for granted and the power systems in our homes. To be safe during an outage, you need to account for these items.

Make sure you keep your freezer and refrigerator doors closed to preserve any food you have in those spaces for as long as possible. Place thermometers in your fridge and other cold storage areas to get an idea of how rapidly food will perish. Food above 40 degrees will go bad quickly and should be disposed of.

When the power does come back on, it could cause a surge, so ensure that all of your electronics are unplugged or connected to surge protectors if they’re plugged in. If you or your family rely on any medical devices that need power to operate, you should have a battery alternative or backup plan that doesn’t require power. Have a set of reliable flashlights, the batteries they use in quantity and batteries for any other important devices, including a power reserve for your cell phone.

Stay Informed

Finally, you’ll want to have a means of reporting the outage and getting updates. In many places, your city government will offer a subscription-based disaster information service that will allow you to receive updates over the phone and possibly the radio. Have multiple methods of staying informed, and don’t forget to check on your neighbors who might not be as well prepared as you are.

Power outages can be a fun reminder of just how simple things used to be, but when they drag on, we realize how dependent we’ve become on our modern amenities. Taking the right precautions now will ensure that you’re well prepared when the lights do go out and can go on with your life until things are fixed.

Scott Huntington is a writer who lives in Vermont. Check out his blog Off The Grid or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington.

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