After being snowed in for the past couple of days, the news is now warning of lots more snow, ice, and winds up to 90 miles per hour. I'm guessing we are going to have a power outage within the next few days. Although we are well prepared for a short or long term outage, I'm guessing that many in our area won't be. As a quick refresher, here's how to prep for a power outage:
The Basics (inexpensive preps): Get a large plastic tub and fill it with flashlights for each family member, extra batteries, a phone with a jack plug-in only if you have house phone service, a car charger for your cell phone, a battery operated/crank radio, a manual can opener, a large tarp, and 100' of paracord (never know when a tree will fall into the house; a tarp is a quick stop-gap measure until the damage can be taken care of). Make sure to store water if you have a well with an electric pump. For warmth you can use the blankets on your bed. For food you can eat what food you have in the house (just make sure you have an assortment of canned and pre-prepared foods on hand). If you have a fireplace or wood stove, have enough wood on hand to keep your home warm for a period of time.
Intermediate preps (if you have a bit more money): Have sleeping bags for each family member, a camp stove and extra fuel, and a kerosene/multi-fuel heater with extra fuel.
Advanced preps (if you have lots more money): Get a generator and have plenty of fuel on hand for it. Even better--live off the grid with solar, wind, or water power (however this entails a complete change of lifestyle).
Some things to consider:
- Candles can be dangerous. We have some candles stocked but use them sparingly and carefully.
- If possible, bug out to a local hotel or friend's house if the power outage will be more than a day or two long.
- Always vent any combustible equipment (generator, camp stove, BBQ grill, etc) outside and away from your house.
- Like in the olden days, sleep when it gets dark and open up all of the curtains to let as much light as possible in during the day.
- If the weather is excessively hot or excessively cold and you aren't adequately prepared and don't have a place to stay such as a hotel or friend's house, consider going to a community shelter.
- Up your security awareness. While most neighborhoods will pull together and with everyone's power out, people will be busy taking care of themselves, there is still a criminal element that may strike when it looks like the pickin's are easy. Don't make it easy--either keep adequate fire power on hand or band together with neighbors to take turns walking through the neighborhood in groups as a crime deterrent.
- Be prepared to keep the family entertained. Some years back when the power was out for a few days, the family spent the first day in a techno-stupor...no computer, no cable, no video games. It took a while for everyone to remember that in "the olden days" people played card games and board games and read books to pass the time.