The world as we know it now and the lifestyles that we live all revolve around electricity. We have become so used to just flicking a switch to run all of our electronics, that we freak out when that stops. In most cases, power outages are short term but following a major crisis, it could be for the long term. This guide will cover some basic steps that you can take to better prepare yourself for loss of electricity.
Fill the Bathtub
When the grid goes down it is a real possibility that your water supply may soon follow. You should start by filling pots, pans, bottles, and even your bathtub with water. The water from the tub should be used only for sanitation purposes and never for drinking. Drink only from the clean containers that you have filled.
Use Your Car as a Generator
Not everybody can afford to own a generator but you can use your vehicle to run your electronics. I will say now though, that this is only a good idea when the engine is running. If it is not, power is drawn from the battery leading to it running down real fast. All you need is a car power inverter that will convert DC current from your car into AC current for electric gadgets.
Light and Batteries
If you know that there is a possibility of a power outage, stock up on any batteries that you need. LED flashlights and lanterns have a huge advantage over incandescent models: They allow batteries to last much longer (typically about six to 10 times as long).
Don’t Spoil the Food
A couple of days without power can cost you a lot of money as food spoils in fridges and freezers. Fill locking freezer bags with water and keep them in the freezer. During a blackout, they’ll help the freezer stay cold longer. Or you can transfer them to the fridge or a cooler. When they thaw, you’ve got drinking water.
Any time the power goes down and comes back to life, power surges can be created which can wreck your electronics. Make sure that you unplug all electronics from the wall sockets but leave one light switched on so that you know when the power is restored.
Fill Your Car with Fuel
During a power outage, you won’t be able to go fill your tank at the fuel station as the machines there rely on electricity to power them. If you are given advance warning of the outage, be sure to go and fill your fuel tank. If you have any gas cans in the garage, be sure to fill them to in case the outage lasts longer than expected.
If the power outage has also led to the main water supply being cut off you can still use your toilet without a problem. Fill a bucket from the bathtub water and dump it into the toilet or fill the tank behind. This won’t refill the bowl but will work great when needed.
Keep Fridges and Freezers Closed
The more that you open the doors of your fridge and freezer, the more warm air that you are allowing in and cold air out. Keep the doors closed to keep the food colder for longer and only open when you are sure of what you want.
A battery powered radio may be your only means of keeping up to date with what is going on once the grid goes down. If possible go for a hand crank radio so that you won’t even need to worry about batteries.
ATM’s won’t be working and stores won’t be able to process card payments but you don’t need electricity to accept cash. Some stores may be open for essentials so always keep some cash to the side for emergencies. Check out our post “Starting an Emergency Fund” for more information.
Read our next post on how to stay cool during a blackout.