What should you do in case of a power outage? Here’s some advice on preparing for and enduring any emergency outage.
The best way to get through a power outage is to avoid it altogether. Investing in a home generator can save you a lot of time and stress during emergency outages, as it can keep your heat and light running when you really need it.
If you can’t get a generator, here are some more power outage survival tips:
How to Have Light in a Power Outage
- Attach a strip of glow-in-the-dark tape to your flashlights to make them easy to find.
- When a flashlight is not in use, store the batteries in it upside down to conserve their power.
- Invest in headlamps for each family member. These enable you to have both hands free to do tasks, and family members can be more independent. You can even read a book in bed while wearing one.
- Stock up on kerosene lamps (visit secondhand stores and flea markets), lamp oil, and wicks before the next storm. Practice lighting them in advance of a power outage.
- Buy packs of candles when they are on sale (after-Christmas sales are great). It doesn’t matter if they are all red!
- Buy a few secure candle holders, too. Empty food cans half-filled with sand work great.
- Be sure to also have a supply of lighters or matches to light your candles with!
How To Stay Warm in a Power Outage
- As soon as the power goes out, drape all windows with blankets, comforters, or quilts. Uncover south-facing windows during the day to let in the Sun’s warmth.
- Select one room in which people—and pets—can spend most of their time together. Close off (cover) the doorway and try to let the collective body heat accumulate in that room.
- Make a list (in advance) of shelters and hotels that allow pets, in case you need to evacuate with yours.
Cooking and Eating Without Power
- If you have one, cook on your woodstove. Heat canned soup and boil water for tea and instant coffee.
- Have potluck dinners with your neighbors and take turns hosting. You’ll be eating better and getting to know your neighbors at the same time.
- Cook on your outdoor grill—but only outdoors. Due to the possibility of fumes and fire, never use an outdoor grill indoors. Here are a few great recipes and tips for the grill.
- Open your refrigerator or freezer door only when absolutely necessary. Plan ahead to minimize the time the door is open.
- If the weather is cold enough, fill clean plastic milk jugs with water and put them outside to freeze solid. Put these jugs into coolers, which can serve as temporary refrigerators for food supplies.
How To Avoid Outage and Storm Damage
- Protect water pipes from freezing by wrapping them with layers of newspapers and then plastic wrap. See more tips for preventing frozen pipes.
- To avoid damage from falling branches, plan ahead and don’t park your cars under trees. If possible, remove any potentially hazardous or weak-looking branches well ahead of storms.
- Take your houseplants to your workplace or a friend’s house, if possible.
What to Do if You Lose Your Water
- When a storm threatens, fill up your bathtub with water (for washing and flushing). Note: If you expect temperatures to drop below freezing in your house, avoid filling up the tub, as you could end up with a frozen (and cracked) bathtub.
- In cold climates, pack fresh snow in buckets and bring indoors to melt.
What to Do After a Power Outage
- Make sure you’ve put out any candles and kerosene lamps you used during the outage. These can be a fire hazard when left unattended.
- Throw out any perishable foods that have been exposed to temperatures above 40°F for more than two hours. If you’re unsure whether something is still good, it’s better to just throw the item out and not risk becoming ill.
Learn more about surviving blizzards and power outages. Plus, check out what you should keep in your emergency survival kit for home and for your car. And be sure to learn how to prepare yourself for health emergencies and make a first aid kit.
Do you have any helpful power outage tips? Please share them in the comments below!