Sometimes a power outage occurs when you least expect it. Like on a perfectly sunny day or a calm evening. Often these types of blackouts are caused by an automobile accident, an animal or an equipment failure.
Other times an outage is no surprise at all. Such as when your area is experiencing severe thunderstorms or excessive heat. Or something even worse happens. Like a tornado or hurricane. Our aging infrastructure is no match for these types of weather events.
There are even times when you’re absolutely certain a blackout will occur. Including when local officials have announced a planned outage to try to keep the electric grid from failing.
Regardless of which scenario leads to the next time your neighborhood goes dark and your food starts spoiling, there’s one common denominator. And that’s your need to prepare.
9 things to do
There are a number of things you can – and should – do to be as ready as possible for the next power outage. I’m going to give you 9 of them today. Plus a 23-item checklist and 4 additional tips and tricks.
And then I’ll let you in on a brand-new offer that might blow your mind but won’t blow your fuses.
The better prepared you are for a blackout, the greater the odds you’ll be able to handle it. Here’s what you can do prior to a blackout.
- Put together a supply of emergency food and water for your family. Start with 72 hours’ worth, then build it up.
- Build an emergency kit or bug-out bag. Store your kit in an easily accessible place. Consider having an additional emergency kit at your place of business in case a blackout occurs while you’re at work.
- Make a family communications plan and discuss it with family members. Conduct a dry run every few months to make sure everyone is ready to carry out the plan.
- Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer. Leave an inch of space inside each one, as water expands as it freezes. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold during a temporary outage.
- Be aware that most medication requiring refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.
- Keep your car tank as full as possible. Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. In addition to being your emergency transportation, your car could also be your charging system and the only air conditioning or heating you’ll have.
- Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
- Keep all your electronic devices fully charged. You may soon be counting on their batteries.
- Get a good supply of cash. Some stores may not be able to process credit card and debit card purchases. Cash machines may not work.
Your blackout checklist
Here’s a list of items you should stockpile to be ready for a power outage. Hopefully you can ride out this crisis at home. But be prepared to bug out if necessary.
- Back-up power. A portable, solar-powered generator will help you keep some lights on and power some appliances. Power banks are perfect for smaller electronic devices.
- Nutritious non-perishable food with a long shelf life. Make sure to include plenty of variety, which is especially important in a longer blackout.
- At least 1½ gallons of water per person per day. And a water purification system.
- A hand-crank emergency weather radio
- Flashlights kept in various places in your home and extra batteries
- First-aid kit and instructions
- Personal hygiene items
- Special needs items for children, seniors and those with disabilities
- Pet supplies, including food, litter, etc.
- Manual can opener and cooking supplies, plus disposable utensils and dinnerware
- Warm clothes and rain gear for each family member. Blankets, pillows and sleeping bags.
- Heavy work gloves and boots
- Plastic sheeting, duct tape and a utility knife
- Tools, including a crowbar
- Heavy-duty plastic bags and a plastic bucket for waste and sanitation
- Dust masks
- Cash in small denominations. Banks could be closed and ATMs might not be working in a blackout.
- Photos of family members and pets for re-identification
- Contact lists with phone numbers
- Topographic maps of the area
- Books, games, playing cards and other items to keep you entertained during a blackout
- Surge protectors for when the power suddenly comes back on
Tips and tricks for handling an outage
In addition to stockpiling the above items, here are a few tips for dealing with a blackout.
Using flashlights rather than candles will help reduce the risk of fire.
Unplug sensitive electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, stereos and printers. When the power comes back on, power spikes could damage delicate electronics.
Only open your refrigerator and freezer doors when necessary. Food will stay good for several hours after a blackout. But not if you keep letting warm air in. Keep a food thermometer handy.
Fill up your bathtub with water immediately after a blackout. Fill pitchers as well and place them in the refrigerator and freezer.
Backup power and emergency food
As promised, I’d like to tell you about a new offer. If you don’t own a Patriot Power Generator 1800, you know you need one. But if you’ve been putting off that purchase for one reason or another, I think I can convince you to delay no longer.
Because for a very limited time – or until supplies run out, whichever comes first – 4Patriots is offering free gifts worth more than $1,000 with your generator purchase.
And those free gifts include a 3-Month Survival Food Kit. Have we lost our minds? Maybe, but we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure smart and proud Americans such as you have the peace of mind that comes from being prepared for the next inevitable blackout.
Our solar-powered Patriot Power Generator 1800 and 3-Month Survival Food Kit are two of the most popular items we sell. Toss in a convenient payment plan and a money-back guarantee and this becomes a no-brainer.