What to Do Before and During a Power Outage

Flashlight When the power goes out, it sends us a stark reality check that communicates just how severely we depend on it for everyday necessities. Without knowing how to handle the sudden loss of clean water, lighting, internet, and television - amongst other utilities - it can be quite devastating. To avoid a mini crisis or panic when a power outage strikes, follow these steps below.

Preparation Although the chance of power outages occurring may vary depending on where you live, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to prepare for them. To ready your home for a power outage, gather together food that your family can survive on for roughly one-to-three days (or more if it makes you comfortable). Gather non-perishable foods with long expiration dates, bottled water, batteries, flashlights, a radio, blankets, and anything else that will add to your health and comfort. Place these in a crate with a label entitled "power outage kit" so that it's easy to find and everything is stored in one place.

Boil Water When there’s an electrical outage, it adversely affects the cleanliness of home waters - so there’s a possibility that the running water will be contaminated. If your supply of bottled water and other packaged beverages runs out, boil your water as a preventive measure to eliminating harmful bacteria.

Proper Insulation In the event of a power outage during the winter, you will want to shut all doors and windows while also making sure to seal any open crevices; doing so will assist in conserving heat. Secondly, make sure to dress warm with as many layers as needed. To facilitate optimal insulation, make sure your current replacement windows are updated with features that cater to maximum home energy-efficiency such as low-e glass, a low U-factor, and double or triple glass panes.

Keep Food as Fresh as Possible A great deal of the food in our home refrigerators is perishable, meaning without proper storage temperature it will quickly become unsafe to eat. This goes for meats, yogurts, dairy products, condiments, and pretty much any good stored in the fridge or freezer. If a nearby neighbor or friend’s power is up and running, quickly transport your refrigerated foods to their fridge in order to keep the food properly stored. However, if this is not an option for you, eat this refrigerated food first (before it goes bad); be sure to conserve it as best you can while also remembering to open-and-shut the doors as quickly as possible to avoid the cold from escaping.

Regularly Check Power Status Every few hours or so, flip a light switch to check if the power is back on or not. This may sound like common sense, but it’s good to check so that you can get back to living with electricity as soon as possible.