Most power outages are over in a few hours, but sometimes they last much longer – for days or even weeks. Prolonged power outages occur when high winds, storms, and freezing rains damage power lines and equipment. Heatwaves and cold snaps can also overload the electric grid system. During a power outage, you might be left without air conditioning/heating, hot water, and lighting. Since that can be a significant challenge, you are responsible for protecting your family and home. Here’s what you can do to prepare for a blackout.
1. Assemble an Emergency Kit
No one will enjoy running around a dark house looking for essentials during a blackout. It can be dangerous for you to reach into drawers and scuffle through wardrobes when you can hardly see. Therefore, while you still have power, put together everything you might use in one container. You can use a duffel bag, a storage box, or a plastic container to keep the supplies.
Here’s a typical checklist:
- Flashlights (one per head)
- Hand sanitizer, dry shampoo, and baby wipes
- A battery-operated radio
- A car charger
- Extra battery sets for the flashlights
- A whistle
- A basic tool kit
- Garbage bags for sanitation
Place the kit in an open place so that you don’t have to struggle when locating it. Consider having it on the most used floor of your home to avoid using the stairs in the dark. Every household member should know where you place it for easy retrieval.
2. Write Important Information on Paper
During a power interruption, your cell phone is your lifeline, so you will want to keep it charged in case of an emergency. Since you can’t rely on your phone indefinitely, write down the phone numbers and addresses you might require, like a nearby hospital or any storm shelter in the area.
Conserve your phone’s battery life by setting it to power-saving mode. If you decide to go to a local shelter, remember to carry a power strip. That way, you can charge several devices at once when you find power.
3. Buy an Emergency Weather Radio
Most emergency weather radios operate on solar power or a hand crank. They don’t use electricity to run and won’t drain your batteries. The radios are portable, so you can carry them whenever you like. Invest in such a device and keep it in your emergency box.
4. Stock Up on Water
It would help if you had at least a gallon of water daily to survive. Therefore, you can calculate the amount you require for the entire household. Remember to factor in extra water for pets, hygiene, and cooking. If you are gearing up for a two-week emergency, you may have to stock up over 100 gallons for an average-sized family.
Even if the power outage is predicted to last a few days, consider stocking up a week’s supply because it might extend. If your local water supply relies on electricity, you may have to stock up more. Look for additional ways to get water during an emergency like local streams and lakes.
You also need to find water purification methods. Buy water purification bleach and tablets. You can also invest in some water filters.
5. Cook Food That Might Spoil
If your power has been disconnected but suffered minimal damages, you can use your gas stove for cooking. You probably have to light the burner using a lighter or a match because the electric ignition won’t function. You can also use your gas grill safely as long as you store it in a dry place before the storm.
The food in your refrigerator can maintain a safe temperature of below 40 F for about four hours. Cook any perishables like soft cheese and meat before they spoil. The other food items can survive for 12 hours above 400 F before they are unsafe to consume. A full freezer should maintain its temperature for about 48 hours after the blackout. It would help if you ate everything you cook within two hours, otherwise throw it away.
6. Amass Non-Perishable Food
The moment you hear the announcement of a big storm, you should head out and buy a stock of non-perishable foodstuffs. If you don’t shop early, you might be caught up in crowded stores with empty shelves. If you have kids, buy their favorite snacks. Consider having a small stash of their preferred cereals, dried fruits, and other treats.
Set aside a small area in your room where you will keep the emergency food supplies. You can start with buying the foods you enjoy and replenishing them as required. Planning for food storage survival is essential. If the storm is not as bad as expected, you can return the unopened items to the store or donate them to your neighbors.
7. Prepare for Cold Temperatures
Blankets are a must-have when gearing up for a blackout for all Phoenix residents. If your area experiences severe winter temperatures, you should include enough sleeping bags for every family member. They are suitable for trapping body heat to keep you warm during freezing temperatures.
You may also need thermal blankets made using aluminized polyester film. Also known as space blankets, thermal covers are practical and perfect for limited space. They are water-proof and windproof and reflect heat to the body. Keep a few of these warmers in the car and among your emergency supplies.
8. Buy A Portable Generator
Having a backup power source is a smart investment, especially if you live in a hurricane-prone region. Buying a portable generator will ensure that electronics continue running even after losing your primary power sources. You can pick the best model depending on your budget and functionality preferences.
Portable generators are light and relatively quiet. So, you can use them on your next camping trip once the power is back. In case the blackout is prolonged, a portable generator becomes your most valuable possession.
9. Charge and Fuel Up in Advance
Most gas stations use electricity to pump fuel, which is why you should fill your cars’ gas tanks before the power outage. You may also want to get gas for your backup generator. Charge your electronic devices and plug in your hybrid vehicles to maximize the time you can use them.
Suppose you plan to cook using your gas stove or charcoal grill, stock up on propane containers and a bag of charcoal. If you have a fireplace or a furnace that runs on wood, consider buying a woodpile to use when the temperatures drop.
10. Gather and Stay Together
You can’t tell the exact moment when the power will go out and when it will be back. Therefore, gather in one room and bring your pets too. It will be easier to share supplies like flashlights and water. Staying closer during winter also helps to share body heat and keep everyone warm. Determine the safest room in your house and stay there. Devise an evacuation plan if the situation worsens.
The biggest concern during a blackout is safety. At Christian Brothers Air Conditioning, Plumbing & Electrical, we are committed to offering our customers the best services. We offer licensed air conditioning repair & replacement to all Phoenix residents. You can also hire us for plumbing and electrical repairs. If you anticipate a power outage, contact us today, and we will take you through the preparation process.