7 Things You Would Need If Your Home Lost Power Right Now
For most of us, power outages are a bothersome short lived event. But what happens when we experience outages that last several days or a week? Statistically speaking, there is more need to be prepared for power outages now than in years past. According to recent articles published in climatecentral.org and energyblogs.com, power outages have doubled (on average) every five years. It’s no surprise that 80 percent of all outages are caused by weather events such as storms, ice, hurricanes and tornadoes. With power outages on the rise, it’s time to talk about being prepared for those times when the power goes out. Before we continue through this article, I want you to do something that will help your perspective. Get a flashlight, pen and paper. Place the pen and paper on your dining room table along with your fully charged laptop or smart phone that you are reading this article on. Go shut off the main power breaker to your home. If you don’t know how to examine and identify breakers on your electrical box, you have one action item for your list already. With your home mostly dark and silent, let’s talk about 7 things you would want to have if your home lost power right now.
- You will need to have flashlights available at the very least. If you have small children, you already know that they are fascinated by flashlights but haven’t quite grasped the concept of batteries not lasting forever. Keep a few emergency flashlights around that will not fall victim to a curious toddler. One flashlight per adult family member is a good idea. Most department and hardware stores will carry a large enough selection of flashlights to make your head spin. Get extra batteries while you are at it. An LED lantern is a nice addition to your kit. Candles and lanterns work as well. Be sure to consider key safety issues when using open flames for light, heat or cooking.
- For humans, several days without water creates a big problem. Consider keeping one gallon of water per person per day stashed for drinking and cooking. If you have three people living in your household and would like to be prepared for a five day power outage, you will need 15 gallons of water. Clean water in sealed containers can be purchased at your local department store. Larger containers for preserving water can be purchased online at preparedness outlets.
Warm blankets and clothes
- Depending on the climate you live in, heat for your home may be a convenience or a critical necessity. If you have a fireplace, be sure you know how to safely use it if your electric heat becomes unavailable. Outdoor and camping stores carry various propane heaters. Be sure to get familiar with how to safely use your chosen heater in the event of a power interruption. Some heaters are not designed to be used in a confined area. Failure to observe basic safety guidelines (usually listed in the documentation that came with the heater) can result in personal injury or death due to fire or CO2 emissions. Aside from producing more heat, having extra blankets and warm clothing for such emergencies will go a long way. Additional blankets and heat retaining clothes can be purchased at a department store. If one member of the family enjoys making custom clothing or blankets tailored to your needs, materials can be purchased at a store like Joann’s Fabrics. They can also can be ordered online at supply sites like www.yourfleece.com. This provides you with the flexibility to make items that suit your specific needs perfectly. Each family member should have an extra blanket in addition to normal bedding. A warm sweater, hat and socks will make life in a colder home much more bearable. Adjust these suggestions to your climate.
Emergency food and cooking equipment
- Obtain a small camping stove and an ample food supply that will store well. Canned or dried foods work exceptionally well during power outages. Simply multiply how many meals you will need for your household each day times the number of days you would like to be prepared for. You may be surprised to find that many grocery stores are now carrying food that is specially packaged with long term storage and simple preparation in mind. A visit to your nearest army surplus store will undoubtedly turn up emergency food rations that can be purchased ready to store in the pantry. Online emergency food suppliers such as www.foodstorage.com offer the widest range of choices.
- This is a key item that will change drastically from household to household. Consult your doctor for emergency supplies of medications such as insulin or other must have prescriptions that you can not live without. A little planning in this area will prevent personal medication needs from becoming a life threatening emergency. Over the counter medications and emergency supplies such as ibuprofen, aspirin and anti-diarrhea medication can keep small issues from becoming a major inconvenience.
Prepare your freezer.
- Your freezer may already be a great preparedness asset with just a few inexpensive additions. Besides the food that is already stored in your freezer, place water bottles in every unused space so that they will freeze and provide your goods with cold ice for days after a power outage. Besides helping the food in your freezer to keep longer, you are storing that much more clean water. In the event of a power outage, drape a spare sleeping bag over the freezer. The added insulation will keep food longer so long as family members avoid getting the sleeping bag caught in the door when closing the freezer.
Hand crank weather radio
- Will you survive without a radio during a power outage? Of course you will. But these radios with a hand crank to charge them can really be a sanity saver. Weather reports and local news may keep you informed as to when the power may come back on. You may be surprised at how kids who once shunned such archaic forms of entertainment may suddenly grow to treasure the voices that come out of that little magical box. Hand crank radios do not require batteries. While these radios used to be a novelty item, they can now be obtained at most department stores as well as preparedness sites online.
After considering the basic items that you will need in the event of a power outage, your note pad should have some action items listed that need your attention. Before you get up and turn the main breaker back on to your house, list any other items that you feel are needed in the event of an extended power interruption. Don’t forget to add a few items that are purely for the morale of your family. A deck of playing cards, coffee grinds, wet wipes and munchies are not essential for survival but do contribute to your family being safe and sane when the power does come back on.