Power outages are a periodic problem that we all need to deal with. Being prepared when it happens is the best way to make it easier to get through until the power comes back on. This is a guide about preparing for a power outage.
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These tips are in addition to the American Red Cross tips for dealing with storms and power outages.
By BMCCUE from Litchfield, NH
Everyone's electricity goes out now and then. Trying to maneuver through the house with a flashlight in one hand or with a candle can be tricky and/or dangerous. To keep safe and easily light my way, I keep one of those inexpensive hard hat lights near my bed. It's adjusted to fit my head (not a hard hat) and I can just slip it on and keep both hands free. No matter where I look or go, my pathway is well lit.
Hint: It's also great to use as a book light!
By luv from NJ
If we are having threats of power loss, I place bottles of water in my freezer. I use 2 liter soda bottles, laundry detergent bottles, or any bottle that has a tight sealing cap. This keeps the items frozen for quite some time. My local weather is calling for 50-60 mph winds this week and power loss has occurred since last weekend. I have a well, so that means I don't have water during a power loss either.
I fill up anything I can find with water to use for drinking, teeth brushing, flushing the toilet, water for my dogs, cooking, or any need for water. Fill your bath tub up with water. You can use this water for watering plants and flushing the toilet. You never know when the power may go out so I like to be ready in any way possible.
By triciaminter from Ridgeway, VA
Our family recently survived a lengthy power outage after a major ice storm. We really did not find it that difficult to do, in part because we were prepared ahead of time. However, some of our neighbors who were not prepared ended up staying at a hotel for several nights, at the tune of $65 per night.
I am passing on some of the ways that we stayed warm for our week without power. The most important factor is that we prepared. For 3 days, the weather forecast warned us of a major ice storm heading our way. We decided then to prepare for the worse case, and it paid off.
Then we sat down to wait. The ice started falling around 10 in the morning. It was rather pretty as it coated the trees and fences. By evening, it was very slick to walk on. We still had power when we went to bed at 11 p.m. We did not turn down the thermostat before bed as normal. My rather wise husband said, we needed to keep as much heat in the house as possible, so instead we turned it up. At 3 a.m. I woke up to a chilling house. The inside temp was 65. It had been 70 when we went to bed. My nightlight was not on. The power was off. I woke up my husband and he immediately got a fire going in the fireplace.
We kept the fire going, and managed to keep the house at a steady temperature of 65 to 67 degrees. It is much easier to maintain the temperature than it is to warm up the house had we not gotten up to light the fire.
We let light in through the south windows, and blocked off the north ones with curtains, as their was a strong wind coming from the north.
For entertainment, we played games and read. I had my children take a warm bath each day, as we still had hot water as we have a gas hot water heater. This helped keep them warm and they thought it fun to have a bubble bath by candle light. Our children slept in their sleeping bags in the living room by the fireplace. My husband and I stayed in our room, which is just off the living room as we could still get some heat from the fire. In addition, we have a heated water bed, and by keeping the bed made, and sleeping on top of an extra comforter, it held its heat and kept us warm.
Since we still had hot water at this point, we had lots of hot tea and hot cocoa to drink and help keep us warm. I did the dishes by hand after every meal with warm water to help keep me warm in the kitchen. I did it in dishpans, and saved the water. It went into containers in the garage and one of the bathrooms. We kept the water at a very slight trickle to help prevent the pipes from freezing.
We dressed in layers. Sweat pants are much warmer than jeans. We wore 2 pairs of socks and our long johns.
After our water went out, we used the saved soapy dishwater to flush the toilets with as needed. The saved rinse water became water for our rabbits, dog and chickens to drink.
We did not open the freezers or refrigerators except to remove and replace food. By day 3, our refrigerators were no longer at a safe temperature, so we removed food and placed it outside on the back porch, and some in the garage. Our freezers stayed below freezing, as they have more insulation. If need be, my husband would have gone to town to buy a couple blocks of dry ice for the freezers. However, he didn't need to this outage.
As I said earlier, our biggest factor in being able to ride out the power outage was preparation. Had we waited to gather our supplies after the power had gone out, we would have been doing a lot of fumbling around in the dark basement, and opening and closing the doors to the outside a lot. We would have been having to drive on dangerous roads to town for supplies and risking having an accident.
By April from NW Missouri
We just had an hour long power outage (unexpected as it is 9 pm on a cold winter night). I learned three things tonight that I want to share (common sense but we all know that is not the way it works, LOL)
Have a good night.
If I see a big storm coming in the spring or summer, when power is most likely to go out, I do these things.
- Fill 5 gallon bucket with water, leave in tub. Also fill tub full of water. Both are used to flush toilet.
- Fill 4-5 pitchers with water. Leave on kitchen counter.
- Get out candles and matches and flashlights. Some of my flashlights turn on when the power goes out.
During winter, much heat is lost through the head and feet. Therefore if you are cold, wear socks and a hat, even to bed. A thick knit hat is uncomfortable to sleep on so I found a cheap, thin knit hat.
Using a tent in the middle of the living room keeps the warmth from your bodies close by. Pitch a tent in a large room and have everyone sleep in it to conserve heat. Use a tent that can be set up without hammering stakes in the ground. Most dome tents can do this.
If you have a gas fireplace, you can turn it on to keep the pipes from freezing. Fan won't work in a power outage though.
I also have a solar charged, battery powered flashlight, and one where you charge the battery by pumping it. One uses a regular light bulb, one uses an LED. LEDs use much less battery power.
I also bought a water filter from a camping store since I used to live in the country with a well. The well won't pump if there is no power and I wanted to be ready to get drinking water from a stream. Get a gravity powered filter so you can fill it up at night and have a pot full of water in the morning.
For cooking I found a German army alcohol stove with stove, alcohol bottle, pot and stand, all for about $6 (shipping extra). It boils a pot full of water in 10 minutes! You cannot use rubbing alcohol because that is 30% water. Try to get methanol in the paint section of your hardware store. It is used to clean up and thin paints.
Chuck R. from Grand Rapids, MI
Power Outage Tip: Keep at least one battery operated clock in running condition. That way you'll still be on time for work and appointments if the power goes out.
By Marie from West Dundee, IL
During the winter months, storms can bring power outages, especially in the northern part of the US. Think about what you would need if the power went out for more than an hour or two. This not only can help you feel more comfortable but can save you money by keeping you out of the stores when people are panic buying their supplies.
Have some candles and/or oil lamps handy so you can light each room. Candles in glass containers are safest with little ones around. Make sure if you have oil lamps that you have a bottle or two of lamp oil with your supplies. Flashlights and camping lanterns are also great. Make sure you have extra batteries.
Your refrigerator will not work. Try not to open it to keep the food cool. Put two soda bottles filled with water or refreezable ice packs in the freezer space. You can then redistribute them, one for the freezer space, one for the refrigerator. It will help keep the food cool for longer. If you have a large freezer, keep extra soda bottles filled with water in it. When the power goes off it will keep frozen for longer.
If you have an electric stove or microwave, they will not work. Gas stoves may continue to work but you may have to light them by hand. Have matches ready and procedures for lighting your stove. Also have food available that you don't need to cook.
Many furnaces whether gas, oil, or electric have an electric starter and electric fan that blows the heat. None of these work in a power outage. Extra blankets are helpful. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, make sure you have a supply of wood or fire logs to last a few days.
Think ahead. Each household has different challenges when the power goes off. It is always good to have backup systems available. Try to plan for it so if it happens you will be ready.
By Susan Sanders-Kinzel
Instead of trying to look in all areas for your emergency candles during a power failure, have a few stored in a bag with a lighter and flashlight. Hang your bag in the utility room or other out of the way spot. Then no more hunting, just retrieve your emergency bag and have light.
Candle holders in a emergency are hard to find. Save a few baby formula cans, cut a hole in the lid and push the candle through. All the hot wax is inside the can.
Source: This is my own idea after having to search a few drawers with a baby in tow during a black out.
By Randa from San Marcos, TX
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