Are You Prepared for a Power Outage? These 5 tips can help you during an emergency.
July 20, 2022
While you may enjoy warmer temperatures, summer weather also brings dangerous storms. Scientists at Colorado State University predict at least 19 named tropical storms and nine hurricanes this year, while AccuWeather is forecasting an above-average tornado season. These unpredictable events and regular summer thunderstorms can produce unexpected power outages.
You rely on the power grid for everything from working and household chores to entertainment, not to mention keeping your home comfortable and secure. An hour without power is inconvenient, but how about several hours, days, or weeks? According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, electricity customers have experienced over eight hours of electric power interruptions in recent years. Living without power for that long is challenging today and sometimes even dangerous.
How can you prepare for extended power outages?
Weather is unpredictable, as is the power grid's reliability when it is under strain. So how can you be ready? Here are some tips to help you feel more prepared.
1. Store extra flashlights and batteries
The first thing you want when the power goes out after dark is to shed a little light on the situation. Stock up on flashlights and batteries for your household, ensuring everyone knows where to find them. Consider getting headlamps so people can see and have free hands to make other arrangements during an outage. Light sticks and glow bracelets are a fun way to see better while calming the worries a storm can bring for young children. Wireless chargers for cell phones and other devices can also help keep you connected to your family, neighbors, and community.
2. Stay tuned to forecasts
The National Weather Service provides NOAA Weather Radio, a nationwide service giving listeners forecasts, watches, and warnings 24/7. You can access NOAA Weather online and through NOAA radio apps for your smartphone. A battery-operated radio will provide you with access, or you can get an NOAA Weather Radio specifically designed to stay tuned to important weather updates.
3. Stock water and non-perishable food
Water purification systems may not function if the power in your area is affected. When the power is out, and you don't have a home standby generator to power your stove, you won't be able to boil water to purify it. Because of this, it’s a good idea to store two weeks of clean, drinkable water in your home. FEMA recommends at least one gallon of water per person in your household.
Another hazard from power outages is food spoilage. According to the CDC, a full freezer keeps food safe for 48 hours (or 24 hours if half-full) if you don’t open the door. Your refrigerator will keep food safe for up to four hours without power if you keep the door closed.
To prepare for emergencies, make an emergency kit with enough bottled water, canned goods, dried meat and fruit, powdered milk, and any other shelf-stable foods for each family member to last at least a few days.
4. Discuss severe weather plans
Don’t wait until extreme weather threatens to tell kids what to expect during these unexpected and scary events. Discuss what to do if the power goes out and where flashlights and supplies are stored. Knowing that you’re stocked up on supplies and that you planned is reassuring to kids.
The best protection against power outages is a home standby generator. When the power goes out, day or night, a home generator takes over within seconds, keeping all your essential appliances, including your HVAC system, sump pump, refrigerator, and freezer, running — not to mention lights and conveniences that are helpful during a storm.
Home standby generators are permanently installed outside your home and connected to natural gas or liquid propane fuel source. They're designed to supply power for your entire home and have an automatic transfer switch so that power comes on without any necessary action.
Although the 2022 storm season is predicted to be above-normal for many weather events, you can protect yourself, your family, and your home with a proactive plan.
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