Power outages are never fun, but winter and storm power outages require their own kind of preparation. The first few weeks of winter have hit hard this year -- don’t let yourself be caught off guard! These basics will help keep you and your family safe and comfortable until power is restored.
It seems obvious, but make sure you have a stash of batteries in your home, and they are fully charged if you have the rechargeable variety. A battery gauge is a small but critical investment, so you can see the amount of power left in any size battery. Also, rechargeable batteries and a battery charger ensure that you can give new life to depleted batteries instead of disposing of them.
- Good Flashlights
A powerful flashlight is incredibly useful even when the power is working just fine, great for finding lost glasses in unexpected places and slippers that ended up under a piece of furniture. But when the power goes out, a good flashlight is necessary for the basics, such as cooking when it’s past dark. And when it gets dark at 4:30, that flashlight is going to become indispensable pretty quickly.
- Landline Phone
Even though a landline phone plugs in, it won’t stop working when the power goes out -- the handset of a cordless phone like the Panasonic KX-TGM420 can make and receive calls for hours on a single charge. This is a great reason to always have a landline option in addition to your cell phone, so you can stay in touch with friends and relatives when phone lines are down.
- Potable Water
Keep a stash of drinking water handy so you can make sure you and the family can stay hydrated during a few hours, or days of no power. Estimate about one gallon per person per day and multiply by the number of people in your family. A family of five could use as many as five gallons of water per day. And of course, filling the bathtub or sinks in advance of a storm is key for keeping non-drinking water handy.
- Easy-to-Prepare Food and Nonperishables
Stocking up on nonperishable food is key for a few days of power loss. Make sure you have a manual can opener and canned foods that have not expired! If you have a propane outdoor grill, make sure you have enough propane too. Even unlikely foods such as frozen croissants can toast up nicely on the grill. Bon appetit!
When power is down we don’t have access to our usual sources of information – our weather apps and social media. That’s when your battery powered AM/FM radio comes through for you in the clutch. Get reacquainted with local stations so when the lights go out you can tune in for critical updates. Who knows? Maybe you’ll find a new favorite radio station to keep you grooving until the lights come back on. Which leads us to…
Playing cards, board games, art supplies, books . . . it’s amazing what you can rediscover when technology is unavailable. No one wants to be forced to unplug, but if it happens -- and once you can ensure your basic safety needs are met -- it may actually be kind of nice to slow down. With the right planning, you can come away from the experience with happy memories.