8 Ways Every Homeowner Should Prepare for a Power Outage

8 Ways Every Homeowner Should Prepare for a Power Outage
Image courtesy of: MF Tactical

Power outages can occur for numerous reasons, ranging from a fallen tree to a natural disaster or routine repair work. There are approximately 100,000 thunderstorms each year in the United States that can lead to a loss of electricity. If your power goes out, remember to check if it’s affecting the whole grid, and contact your electric company for more information. Regardless of why it goes out, it’s always best to have a plan in place.

Here are eight ways you can prepare for a power outage at your home.

1. Write Down Important Information

When you lose power, your internet goes out, and you may not have a signal to look up important numbers or addresses. Worse yet, your phone may die, and you wouldn’t have any of the details memorized. Writing down crucial information prepares you for unanticipated situations.

2. Fuel Up Your Car

You’ll need to use your car for transportation and charging small electronics. Remember to fuel up before any planned outage. Consider buying — and filling — several gas cans to store for backup. Always operate your car outside or open the garage door to reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning.

3. Buy a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless gas released from burning fuel sources in vehicles, stoves, grills, fireplaces and furnaces. When the power goes out, you rely on these products to cook your food, charge your electronics and provide a source of heat. Therefore, they may be producing a high concentration of CO without you knowing. By placing a carbon monoxide detector inside your home, you can protect against the deadly fumes.

4. Locate the Emergency Release Handle

With the electricity out, your automatic garage door feature will be useless. Locate the emergency release handle to switch the doors to manual mode. Remember to close the doors before pulling the handle. In manual mode, you’ll be able to open and close the doors at any time during the outage.

5. Conserve Batteries

You can use batteries to power flashlights and radios. Remove them from remotes and other devices that are not in use. Use LED flashlight bulbs that require less energy, so your batteries last longer.

Candles are another way to light your home without using batteries. However, you should exercise extreme caution when lighting candles, as they can be a fire hazard. Be aware of where you place these items, as pets and young children can easily knock them over.

6. Fill Your Tub With Water

Before the electricity goes out, fill buckets, jugs and your tub with water.  If your water comes from a well, then the loss of electricity will halt your ability to pull it into your pipes. You can use this water for drinking, brushing your teeth, flushing toilets or washing up. Even citywide systems use electricity to pump sewage, and your water heater can only hold so much at one time.

Plan as if the city water supply will go down with the electricity, so you are adequately prepared.

7. Figure Out a Food Plan

When the electricity goes out, you’ll have a limited time to use food from your fridge and freezer before it begins to spoil. To preserve the internal temperatures, keep the doors closed. An unopened refrigerator will keep food safely cold for four hours. Likewise, for approximately 48 hours, a full freezer will keep things frozen.

Try cooking perishable foods on a gas stove or grill and sharing them with the neighborhood. If you believe something has gone bad do not eat food as a test — err on the side of caution to avoid food poisoning. Stock up on non-perishable goods that you can consume during the power outage.

8. Unplug Your Electronics

Surges of power can harm your electronics. Unplug your television, computer and other appliances to keep them protected. This is especially crucial if a storm causes the outage, as lightning can strike power lines.

Preparation Is Key

Utilize these eight methods to prepare for a power outage. Keep cash on hand because some stores may be open even if card readers are down. Pass along these strategies to your neighbors, and remember to check on friends and family. When you take time to prepare, you’ll be ready for whatever power outages come your way.

If you found this post valuable, check out these:

How to Prepare Your Furnace for Winter

How to Choose the Best Generator for Your Needs

Practical Emergency Preparedness Tips for General Home Safety

2 Responses to “8 Ways Every Homeowner Should Prepare for a Power Outage”

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