Be Ready for Unexpected Power Outages
While there’s never a good time for a power outage, it’s more serious in the winter when you’re dependent on heat for your health and comfort. It’s fairly easy to manage a short outage with what’s on hand, but more thorough preparation will help you navigate through a more challenging period.
Prepare a Survival Kit
- Winter days are short, and you’ll need flashlights and extra batteries for all your family members.
- Each person should have a sleeping bag or comforter to help retain body heat and improve sleep.
- Keep at least three days of non-perishable food on hand that doesn’t require heating. A camping stove or outdoor grill will heat it, but charcoal grills, especially, should never be used indoors because they emit large amounts of carbon monoxide (CO). Investing in a solar oven will let you cook on a sunny day outdoors, even in the winter.
- Store enough water in sterile contains for your drinking and sanitation needs.
Prepare Your Home
- Locate the circuit breaker box for your home and identify which breaker controls your heating system. A power outage can damage it should the power surge as utility companies restore it. Label the breaker and those for the other major appliances.
- Close the window coverings unless sun is shining inside. Inefficient windows lose heat quickly.
- Let a faucet drip if temperatures fall below freezing to prevent frozen pipes.
- Choose a room where your family can gather to stay warmer.
- Test your smoke and CO detectors regularly. They’ll keep you safe if you use a fireplace or burn candles to stay warmer.
- Charge up a power bank for cell phone charging to use in an emergency.
- Learn to operate your garage door manually.
- Keep a full tank of gas in the family vehicle during the winter.
A power outage is more than an inconvenience in the winter and being prepared will help you through it.