We’ve all heard about power outages around the country due to snow and ice storms. Sometimes people have been without electricity for just a day or two, for others it has stretched on for weeks. Have you given much thought to what you would have to do without in your home if you lost power? Now is the time to come up with a back-up plan; if you wait until there’s no electricity, it’s too late.
Here are some of the household items that would be useless during an outage, plus some suggestions for possible alternatives (obviously a generator with fuel would be a great solution for many of these things as well). Can you come up with anything else?
• flashlights, headlamps, extra batteries, light sticks, lanterns with fuel, candles, matches & lighters
• extra blankets, warm clothing, fireplace or wood burning stove, kindling & firewood, kerosene heater (properly operated and maintained) with fuel
Stove, Oven & Microwave
• no-cook & easy to prepare foods plus a manual can opener, dutch oven, charcoal, grill, extra propane, campstove with fuel, campfire supplies, fireplace, sun oven, appropriate cookware & tools for each of these cooking methods
Washing Machine & Clothes Dryer
• laundry detergent (preferably liquid), stored water, tub or large sink, washboard, clothesline & clothes pins
Refrigerator & Freezer
• in cold weather, food could be stored outside in coolers or snow banks; plan to use items in refrigerator first, then freezer items, then non-perishables
TV, Stereo, Computer, Cell Phone, Cordless Phone, & Radio (for Info & Entertainment)
• battery powered, hand crank or solar radios, extra batteries, car charger for cell phone, home phone with a cord, games to play, puzzles to do, books to read
• water stored in containers, siphons or hand pumps & hoses for retrieving water in cisterns or large water barrels; for those with public water, keep some water trickling to prevent pipes from freezing and if the water is contaminated in your area, shut off the water source to your house so that you can use the water from your toilets/water heater safely
Unplug your electrical items while the power is out. For one, there could be surges in power as it comes back on (not just initially, but for the next while as more and more areas are coming back up), and secondly you don’t want to overload the system as it comes back on; this could cause the power to go out again. Turning off circuit breakers and turning them on slowly over the next few days is also recommended.
If you’d like to go a step further in preparing your family for a power loss, stop using electricity for a day. Make it an adventure, be creative, and see how prepared you really are.