How to Prepare for a Power Outage in Your HomeJanuary 25, 2016
Power outages can happen in any neighborhood at any time, regardless of what time of year it is. Severe weather patterns, accidents or even breakdowns in the power grid as a result of aging equipment can leave areas without any form of power for anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks at a time. Here are a few practical tips to help ensure that you and your family are prepared in the event of a power outage occurring.
Keep Fresh Water on Hand
Many people forget that when power outages last for more than a day, it can affect water supplies as well, because these systems rely on electricity to operate. It is recommended that enough water be kept on hand to last each family member (pets included) a minimum of 3-4 days that can be used for drinking, brushing teeth and other personal hygiene requirements. Associations such as the Red Cross and FEMA normally recommend storing enough water so that there is approximately 5 gallons for each person to use per day. This water should be kept in a cool dark place to prevent it from going moldy, and it should also be rotated regularly.
Stock Your Pantry
During power outages, most stores will close in order to prevent possible looting. If the outage has happened as a result of bad weather, you and your family could be stuck at home for days or even a week or two with no way of getting out to go grocery shopping. Keeping a range of non-perishable foods on hand will help ensure that no one goes hungry. However, when buying these foods, ensure that you only purchase those that your family eats – there’s no point in stocking up on items that no one likes. It is also a good idea to have a manual can opener on hand, as your wall mounted electric model will be useless until your power comes back on.
Have Flashlights and Basic Tools on Hand
Keeping flashlights at strategic points around the house such as in the kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedrooms and in the garage will ensure that no one is left in the dark when the power goes out. Using solar powered lights will be helpful, as these do not require replacement batteries. However, if you are using battery powered alternatives, ensure that they are tested regularly. Having an adjustable wrench, a few basic screwdrivers and spanners on hand will enable you to shut off gas or water supplies if advised to do so by your municipality.
One of the best ways to find out what will be useful to you and your family during a power outage is to turn your home’s power off for a few hours. It will soon become evident what is required, and once you have determined what is needed, obtain any other item you deem to be necessary and add them to your emergency kit. Being prepared will allow your family to experience the outage with as little inconvenience and safety risks as possible.