How to Prepare for an Electrical Outage

It’s amazing how much we rely on electricity. Most people cannot fathom living in a home without electricity, but it happens more often than you think. Ice storms and other natural disasters can easily destroy power lines, leaving people without power for days or even weeks. Preparing for an emergency, such as losing power, is necessary. Use this quick guide to learn how you and your family can prepare for an electrical outage.

 How Long Do Electrical Outages Last?

While most power outages last for only a few hours, don’t assume that there will never be a long-term outage. Outages lasting several weeks are more common than you think. In some cases, the damage done by a storm can take weeks to properly repair. It can be overwhelming to think about the long-term effects of an outage like this, especially if it affects millions of people.

The best way to prepare is to build an emergency preparedness kit that suits you and your family’s needs. Here are a few things to consider including in your kit.

 

 Water

The general rule of thumb is that people need one gallon of water per person per day in a state of emergency. Remember, water isn’t just for you to drink. You will use your emergency water for cooking and hygiene. So, for a two-week emergency, your family may need over 100 gallons of water. If you lack storage space, invest in a method of purifying water, such as tablets, heaters, and filters.

Food

Food is also very critical if the power goes out for a long time, as stores may be closed and supplies scarce. Having non-perishable food items handy can be a big help, but you should keep some in your emergency preparedness kit as well. Items that don’t expire, such as granola bars, bouillon cubes, and canned vegetables, are a necessity. If you have advanced warning, stock up on items like cookies, crackers, and pasta as well. Make sure to also purchase a manual can opener!

When the power goes out, keep in mind that your refrigerator will not keep food safe more than a few hours. Use a food thermometer to ensure the food hasn’t reached unsafe levels before eating it. You may be able to keep some foods on ice for a few days as well.

Cooking Supplies

Make sure you have the tools needed to cook and prepare food in case of an emergency. Keep in mind that if your stovetop doesn’t work, you may be building a fire if you want a hot meal. Another option is to invest in a solar oven or small propane stove for your emergency kit. If you own a charcoal grill, you may want to consider adding extra fuel to your kit.

 Other items to include:

         Heat sources, such as blankets or sleeping bags

         A first aid kit

         Aspirin or other medicine

         Toilet paper

         Temporary toilet or portable toilet

         Baby wipes and hand sanitizer

         Disposable utensils

         Feminine hygiene products

         Diapers

         Paper towels

         Flashlights or solar-powered lanterns

         Batteries

 Many families build their preparedness kit over time. Wait for items to go on sale to stock up or start using coupons to save some extra money. This can be very helpful in case of a long-term power outage.