Power outages can happen in any season and at any time. Whether from an ice storm, windy weather, a downed power line, or a blown-out transformer, a power outage can last from a few hours to a few weeks. Plan ahead using these tips to prepare for a power outage.
Prepare for a Power Outage With an Emergency Heat Source
If you have a fireplace, make sure you have a plentiful wood supply all winter. Other non-electric heat sources include kerosene heaters and portable propane units. Be careful using these types of heaters; they produce carbon monoxide and should only be operated in a well-vented area. Confirm that your heating device is meant to be used indoors. Make sure you have a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector and backup batteries in your smoke detectors. Have extra blankets ready so the family can stay warm at night.
Plan for Food and Water
Keep a stash of non-perishable food on hand, especially in winter when there’s a chance you’ll be snowed in. Good items to stock are peanut butter, energy bars, canned meats, and crackers. Plan for a gallon of water a day per family member. If you have leftovers in the fridge, heat them over cans of Sterno. Keep the fridge closed as much as possible. If the power comes back on soon enough, you may be able to save your perishable foods. After four hours, you should throw food in the fridge out. Food stored in an unopened freezer should be okay for about 24 hours.
Protect Your Electronics
Prepare for a power outage by having battery backups and surge protectors to protect electronics from voltage fluctuations. They’ll keep your devices running until you can shut them down safely. Did you know that spikes and surges also travel over data lines? Protect your online work by connecting Ethernet, cable, and phone lines to data line protection devices.
Have Batteries, Flashlights, and a Radio on Hand
It’s a great idea to have flashlights and extra batteries on hand at all times, especially for a power outage. Be cautious if you must use candles for light because they’re a fire hazard. Be prepared with a battery-operated radio to keep track of weather warnings and public information.
Install Solar-Powered Outdoor Lighting to Prepare for a Power Outage
Make your home safer by installing solar-powered motion-sensor lights around the house. Use lighting to illuminate the driveway, walkway, and garage. Motion-sensor lights protect you from stumbling around in the dark when you’re outside. Solar-powered floodlights charge in the sun and will activate when motion is detected.
Be Well-Prepared With a Home Generator
You can avoid the inconvenience of no electricity and prepare for a power outage with a generator for your home. However, they can be expensive. Portable generators run between $400 and $2,000. Standby generators are even more costly. It will power on within seconds of an outage. If anyone in your household depends on electricity to operate a medical device, you’ll want to invest in some type of home generator.