What to have when the power goes out.
Have you seen that scary movie with the blind dude that turns off the lights when he captures two teenage kids in his basement and says, "Now it’s time to see how I SEE!" As they fumble to escape from him? No?
Me neither. Like hard pass on that movie. But I saw that part in the trailer and I 100% cannot forget it. How terrifying would it be to have to scramble your way out of somewhere WHEN YOU CAN NOT see?
Oh wait, I just went through that. I mean, minus the scary dude in the basement stuff. (Hopefully). Anxiety really set in when I heard that dooming “doooooosh” sound (think, powering down a small spacecraft) that hits the same time as the blackness.
During this power outage, I couldn’t find the flashlights, like this went on for a full 10 minutes (I am a grown adult with children, thanks) 10 minutes!!! When I finally DID find a flashlight the batteries were out - (WHERE THE HECK ARE THE BATTERIES?). It was not pretty, and I was not calm - or prepared. It kinda felt like we were camping? Minus all fun, scenery, and (most importantly) s’mores.
Here are a few tips and tools to keep you calm and collected (like way calmer than those teenagers in that aforementioned horror film and eh hem, me and my last power outage experience) the next time an unexpected power outage hits.
How to prepare before a power outage hits.
Go to your power providers website and search for power outage alerts. Sign up for alerts and follow any other instructions they might have so you are notified immediately about any updates they have in regard to a power outage.
Sign up for local warnings, have a radio handy so you’re able to receive information from your local authorities - especially should your mobile phone or computer not be charged, and the internet goes down. Call your neighbor to see if this is a neighborhood blackout or it’s just you.
Make sure everyone in your household knows the protocols when a blackout hits ie: here is the box of flashlights, here is the emergency gas shut off valve, don’t open the fridge or freezer. Make sure your phones and computers are charged at all times. Make sure your car is full of gas in case you need to leave your home in an emergency.
How to survive during a power outage.
- Use flashlights and battery powered lanterns. If necessary, use a generator.
- Test carbon monoxide detectors right away to make sure they are functioning properly.
- Keep all refrigerator and freezer doors closed and have thermometers in each so you know if your fridge reaches unsafe conditions. (Food that reaches 40° F is deemed unsafe).
- Rely on your non-perishable food supply (so you can keep your fridge closed!)
- Disconnect your appliances, computers and phones - when the power comes back on it can create a “surge” that can cause damage.
- Keep one light on and plugged in so you know when your power is restored.
- Check on your neighbors. See how you can help each other and if any assistance is needed - this is especially important in extreme weather conditions.
Make sure you have a set of supplies available to you - and you know where they are in time of need: Flashlights, lanterns, batteries - blankets and non-perishable food (aka food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated or frozen) and water for extended blackouts.
Take inventory of all the electrical things in your home - this will help you think of battery powered items you need in case of emergency to function.
It’s nice to have a thermometer in your fridge to tell you how cold it is - if your fridge reaches above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, your food will spoil and be unsafe to eat. (Sorry, 😭).
Make sure you go over how long your medications can be kept at certain temperatures should your power outage last a long time. If your medications need to be temperature controlled, store them in a cooler with a thermometer to make sure they are in the desired temperature range.
When the power goes out and you need to restore your power generators are a great option. Gas leaks are common when there is a power outage so make sure you and your family are protected with functioning carbon monoxide detectors.
Ready to go bags.
If you need to evacuate your area during a power outage then you may just need a go bag. We've got several great options, check out three of our favorite below. Note that you still need to add personal items like medication, a change of clothes, a local map and documents.