Losing power for a few hours can seem catastrophic, but a power outage that lasts for days can be dangerous. Extreme temperatures can quickly become unbearable, the food in your refrigerator can spoil, you can lose reliability of medical devices, and you could potentially lose contact with family and organizations that can help. The reasons for power outages are numerous and most are unpredictable and unavoidable, but the power outage solutions listed below could save more than your life.
How comprehensive is your power outage plan? Look at the checklist below to evaluate your power outage preparedness.
How to Prepare for a Power Outage
Backup Power Options
1. Get Solar Panels with Battery Backup
You’ll never worry about being in the dark if you have a residential solar system that stores energy in a battery pack for power outage situations. The Tesla Powerwall and the LG Chem backup batteries can keep your lights on even when the sun doesn’t shine. If you’re in Utah, Go Solar Group is your go-to residential solar contractor.
2. Invest in a Goal Zero Portable Power Station
If you don’t have residential solar set up, Ground Zero products like the Yeti 1250 Solar Generator can serve as a battery pack for power outage scenarios. Just charge them up with your regular power source or sunlight and then connect your phone, refrigerator, TV or anything else you need to use. For people who depend on medical devices such as dialysis machines, backup generators are essential emergency supplies for power outage situations, and solar powered generators fortunately don’t come with the same health risks as gas alternatives.
Supplies and Safety
3. Light Up Without Candles
If you don’t have a backup generator, then you’ll have to put significantly more effort into preparing for power outage situations. When it comes to sources of light, flashlights and glow sticks are preferable to candles since the latter can pose a fire hazard. Placing glow-in-the-dark stickers on your flashlights makes them easier to find. Make sure to also keep a stash of batteries of different sizes on hand so that your flashlights outlast the power outage. If you choose to use glow sticks, store them in the freezer when not in use to extend their life up to five days.
Safety note: If you must use candles, put them in a large cooking pot. This will lower the risk of fire and provide greater illumination by reflecting light off of the sides of the cookware.
4. Stock Your Freezer With Bottled Water
Use free space in your freezer or a deep freezer to store bottled water. Clean cold water and ice can be a lifesaver if the waterlines become damaged or contaminated. During power outages and emergencies you can use ice to help relieve injuries, keep body temperatures down in the case of illness, and help food stay good longer.
5. Stockpile Non-Perishables
Even if you’re home has battery backup, you should always keep enough canned foods to feed your family for at least week (Don’t forget to buy a hand-powered can opener!). Additionally, remember the importance of clean water for consumption and cleaning wounds. Portable camping stoves can come in handy if your stove is electric, but never use a gas grill in an enclosed area. Additionally, you should keep extra necessary medications and other medical emergency supplies for a power outage that could aid injury and allow you remain home home for a few days.
Communication and Emergency Planning
6. Have a Radio
Radios can help you stay informed if your cable and internet go out. By storing a radio at home, you’ll be able to tune into local programs that will send information about relief areas and organizations to reach out to for help. As long as they are battery powered, they can usually pick up a signal and you can even purchase self-powered radios that run with the help of a manual crank so that you can use your stored power and batteries for other purposes.
7. Know Your City’s Power Outage Plan
Most cities have disaster plans that include information about preparing for power outage situations. Such plans, which are usually posted online, may include information about shelters and water distribution centers in case of an emergency. Of course, getting this information can be difficult if your power goes out, which is why you should have it printed out and stored somewhere safe. Every community has unique challenges, so be sure to check your local government’s website for more tips on how to prepare for a power outage where you live.