Our reliance on electricity is such that we take it for granted, and almost every aspect of our lives is impacted by power in one way or another. From our cellphones and laptops to hot water, stoves and entertainment systems, our daily lives come to a screeching halt once the power goes out. Most power outages are few and far between, and they generally last for less than a few minutes. However, with increased demand on our electrical grid as well as larger, stronger and more frequent storms, it is becoming more and more common for people to go days without electricity.
Power outages can become dangerous and even life-threatening after a prolonged period of time, especially in areas with extreme weather. Hot as well as cold weather can be deadly for those who do not have adequate climate control, and this is the first and most important thing to think about when the lights go off. Many communities have cooling and warming centers that are open to the public during excessive heat or cold emergencies, but they can become inaccessible if severe weather is the cause of the power outage. Damage from storms and large amounts of accumulated snow and ice can make leaving home or the office nearly impossible.
Dealing with freezing temperatures while stuck inside a home, office or other building is easy- just have warm clothes and access to lots of blankets. However, dealing with the heat is a bigger concern. It is important to have as much ventilation and hydration as possible. Opening windows and doors, staying away from upstairs rooms where heat accumulates and keeping well hydrated will help. Wearing as little clothing as possible and taking cold showers, soaking wet towels on the body and self-fanning can keep the body cool.
Food, water and security are paramount concerns, especially if power outages last more than a few hours. It is important to have a supply of fresh water and non-perishable food that will last for more than three days for all occupants. It is also essential to have a battery powered or hand-crank powered radio in order to have access to important information and news bulletins.
Some occupants can benefit from the use of a generator, and there are hand powered as well as fuel-powered ones available. However, this is not always practical, and it is important to have a well-stocked supply of batteries as well as making sure that portable electronic devices have a full charge at all times. Using them sparingly will help to ensure that communication will be possible when necessary.
Safety is also a huge concern. Securing premises and keeping a vigilant watch for intruders in the dark of night is of paramount importance. Having self-defense items available, being trained to use them and maintaining vigil is essential.
Prolonged power outages can be life and death situations, and preparing for them is the best way to ensure your safety and well-being. Give serious thought to what you will need to stay safe, fed, hydrated and comfortable until service is restored or you are able to relocate.
1) Assemble a survival kit
In the event the power goes out a survival kit will supply you with food, water, and supplies that are all conveniently packaged in one place. Have you ever tried to find a flashlight in the dark? And forget about trying to find working batteries. Don’t leave it up to chance. This Ultimate Kit has everything you’ll need for 72 Hours.
2) Don’t open the fridge
Know what’s in your fridge and conserve the energy. Opening the fridge more than a few times will let the cold air out and spoil your food. The contents should last around 6 hours, and a few days for your frozen goods. Not sure if the food is still good? The general rule is, when in doubt throw it out.
3) Don’t electrocute yourself (well, duh)
Avoid shock and electrocution by staying dry when operating any kind of generator. Operating with wet hands or in the rain could lead to a trip to the hospital. Never touch or use appliances that have been exposed to water; get near sagging power lines or handle live cables and electrical wires.
4) Stay Warm (in the cold)
Hypothermia can set in when your temperature drops below 95 degrees. Symptoms include uncontrolled shivering, slow or unclear speech, extreme tiredness, difficulty walking, confusion, semi-consciousness or unconsciousness. To stay safe, wear layers of warm clothing and warm coverings for your head, hands and feet; change into a new set of dry clothes if your clothing gets wet; and find or build some form of shelter to stay as warm as possible. Your survival kit will also include a thermal blanket for times of extreme temperatures.