How To Prepare For A Potential Power Outage

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Power outages can occur due to natural disasters, fallen trees, high demand, and many more reasons out of your control. A long-term power outage affects your food, water, lighting, heating, cooling, communication, and essential medical equipment. As the government works to restore the grid, your preparedness will keep you and your family safe.

Power Outage

Adequate power outage preparation looks different for every household, as every home has varying needs and cities have unique ordinances to follow. There are several ways to stay safe and informed during a power outage, from running a generator and investing in a quality flashlight to stockpiling food and water.

Invest In A Generator And Set It Up

When the power goes out, a generator uses fuel like natural gas, diesel, or a multi-fuel mix to generate power for your home. Generators come in two general categories: built-in and portable.

A built-in generator is more expensive than a portable alternative but once installed; it starts powering your home the second a power outage occurs. Built-in generators require yearly maintenance by a professional, and it is a good idea to have them looked at after every heavy use. They also need to be located outside or have ventilation ducts to ensure harmful exhaust does not build up in your home. A built-in generator is an excellent option if you have home appliances that require constant power, like medical devices, or do not mind spending extra to ensure your entire home has power.

Portable generators supply anywhere from 2,000W to nearly 7,500W to run several home appliances. They are an affordable alternative to built-in generators, and their lightweight design makes them easy to move from your garage or basement to any outdoor space.

Portable Generators

Portable Generator Setups

There are two main ways to power your home’s essential appliances with a portable generator. You can connect each appliance individually with extension cords or power a circuit panel using a transfer switch. The individual cords are appropriate when you only have a couple of appliances to keep running, like the refrigerator, air conditioner, or a medical device. To use a portable generator with extension cords and generator cords, follow the generator pre-start checklist provided by the manufacturer. This may include steps like ensuring that all fluids are full and that there are no leaks in the fuel lines.

Then, move the generator outside, at least 20 feet away from your home. Generator fumes have a high carbon monoxide content, killing in minutes. Carbon monoxide is invisible, and you cannot smell it, so if you feel dizzy or sick around a generator, get fresh air immediately. Keeping the generator 20 feet away from your home ensures the gas fumes do not pool under house overhangs or go into open windows or doors. Portable generators are typically heavy, ranging from 100 lbs. to 400 lbs. Consider outfitting your generator with a generator wheel kit for easy maneuverability so anyone in your family can complete a generator start-up.

The generator mustn’t get wet, and you should not interact with it if your hands are wet. You may need to build a generator platform and cover if you expect inclement weather to cause a power outage. Once the generator is in place, plug in all the appliances and start the generator. For the transfer switch setup, you need to get a professional installation. A transfer switch is installed into your breaker box, and it allows you to switch the source of your power from the utility line to your generator. When the power goes out, you just plug in the generator cord to the transfer switch, start the generator, flip your power source to the generator, and turn on any appliances you want to be powered.

Keep A Stock Of Food And Water

Whether or not you have a generator, you should always have three days of food and water ready for your household. If a generator does not work or you do not have one, you should start by eating the perishables in your refrigerator.

The Center for Disease Control says that food in a refrigerator is at a safe temperature for four hours after the power goes out, as long as the door stays closed. The freezer keeps food frozen for 24 hours if it is half full and 48 hours if it is full. After that time, it is best to throw the food away. Eating spoiled food can cause nausea, diarrhea, fever, and dehydration. In some cases, food poisoning can be life-threatening. In addition to three days of water, it is good to have a water purification system that includes water filters and iodine pills to kill microorganisms. If you run out of water, you can create more drinkable water.

If you decide to evacuate, your purification system is a crucial component of a bug-out bag. A bug-out bag is a backpack or duffle bag containing all the essentials you need to survive for up to three days if you need to leave your home during a disaster. Other bug-out bag essentials include reflective blankets, a first aid kit, non-perishable nutrient-dense foods, and a change of clothes.

Portable Lights

Stockpile Batteries And Portable Lights

When the power goes out, and the sun goes down, it is important to have light sources. Light improves morale and makes it safe to move around the house and go outside. Without a generator, you need to have flashlights and lanterns with their own power sources to maneuver inside and outside your home safely. Small LED battery-powered lamps are great for inside the house, and powerful flashlights are essential for going out while it’s dark. Keep a stockpile of batteries that can power your devices for up to three days. Do not rely on rechargeable batteries, as they lose charge over time.

Keep Communication Flowing

When the power goes out, one of the hardest mental challenges is living without information on the cause of the outage, when it is expected to be fixed, and government recommendations about evacuations. It is vital to ensure you can still receive and send communications with the outside world when the power goes out. Keep a couple of portable phone chargers charged and ready to use. Combined with minimal phone use, you can keep your phone charged for receiving government update texts or information from friends and family. You can also opt for hand-cranked or solar-powered radios with government emergency update stations.

The Kaito KA500 is a 5-way emergency AM/FM/SW NOAA weather alert radio. It comes with multiple power options, including a hand crank, AA batteries, and solar cells. It features a cellphone charging port and can transform into a powerful LED flashlight. The radio provides access to seven preprogrammed NOAA channels so you always know the latest weather updates, including when the power will come back on. You can also rely on your car radio. Try to always have your car’s gas tank half full or more because gas stations rely on electricity to pump gas. Also, if you want to charge your phone in your car or listen to the radio, only turn on your vehicle in a well-ventilated area.

Improve Your Home’s Insulation

Insulation keeps your home at safe temperatures for longer. In cold weather, it keeps warm air inside. In hot weather, it keeps cool air in. About 90% of homes in the U.S. are under-insulated. A power outage could result in dangerously cold or hot temperatures inside your home. You can fill your attic with insulation and install double pane windows to improve your home’s insulation rating without fully remodeling it. With the right quality tools and expertise, your home will be power outage ready.

Prepare Now, Be Safe Later

Early preparation is crucial to ensure your safety during a power outage. Staying aware of the weather conditions and tracking the status of the energy grid can help you predict how long the power outage will last. By purchasing a few simple items, like a generator and a radio, you can keep your appliances running and ensure that all members of your household are warm, fed, and safe until the power returns.

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Himanshu Shah is the chief marketing officer at MyDecorative.Com, and he is also a young enthusiastic writer who is gumptious and talented. He has sound analytical and technical skills. He is a blogger, Digital Marketing Expert who likes to write on home decor.

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