How to stay comfortable in a power blackout

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all experienced the power going out at some time. In my neighborhood, the lights always go out for a few minutes when there is a storm.

Depending on where you live, brown-outs are common during the summertime, when the power grid becomes overwhelmed (with running AC units or other appliances) and a temporary loss of power occurs.  What I want to discuss is how to handle a blackout.  A blackout is a power outage for an extended period of time. These are usually caused by storms or other weather-related disasters.

Sometimes power outages are just a minor disruption, however, there may be other times when it could be out for an extended period of time. Knowing how to prepare and how you can stay comfortable in these situations can make the difference between a home crisis versus slight inconvenience.

“The more you know the less you need.”

This phrase rings true for most situations, including self-sufficiency and emergency preparedness.

The first way to prepare for an outage is to help prevent them. Look for hazards that could fall and damage the power lines on your property. Keeping trees pruned and in good health can not only save your home in a severe storm but also keep power in the neighborhood.

Have flashlights, extra batteries, candles and matches in a place where you can find them in the dark.

If you have a generator – and we strongly recommend getting one if that is possible for you – it will enable you to operate several electronic appliances and devices at a time during a blackout.

A battery-operated or hand-crank radio will also be very beneficial. It will alert you to the status of the crisis, locations to avoid, places where assistance is available, etc. You also want to keep your electronic devices fully charged. Those batteries will eventually wear down, of course, but your generator, power packs and solar panels can recharge them.

Finally, unplug sensitive electronic equipment after the power goes out. When it comes back on, power spikes could damage the delicate ones including TVs, computers and printers.

Also in advance of the next crisis, you want to make sure you always keep your gas tank as close to full as possible. And speaking of cars, learn how to open your garage door manually, including in the dark.

You should also have a nice wad of cash ready to grab. ATMs might not be functioning when the grid goes down, and electronic transactions could be limited.

A blackout is very likely to disrupt your local water treatment facility. Water coming out of our home faucets is already contaminated to one degree or another, but that type of scenario will make things even worse.

Two things.  One, you want to have as much clean drinking water stockpiled as possible. And two, you want to have a water purifier in your kitchen, and at least one portable water filter for each family member.

Of course, having a significant supply of survival food with a long shelf life is also crucial. A disaster that takes down the grid is certain to disrupt the food supply chain.

Before you dip into your survival food supplies, eat and drink what you can from your refrigerator and freezer. Those foods and beverages will start getting warm before too long.

If you can follow through on a majority of the suggestions above – in advance of a disaster – you and your family will not only be able to survive it. You’ll survive it in comfort.

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