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Do 1 Thing: Power

Categories: Do 1 Thing, General, Preparedness

power lines downBy Cate Shockey

This blog is part of a series, covering a preparedness topic each month from the Do 1 Thing Program. Join us this month to discuss power.

Do you know what to do if the power goes out?  A power outage often follows another emergency – like a hurricane, tornado, or winter storm – but it can also be the result of downed trees, heat waves, and blackouts.  Because you never know when the power can go out, it is important to be prepared to able to meet your basic needs without electricity.

For me, this month my one thing was finally getting around to replacing my temperamental flashlight with something more reliable.  I bought two flashlights and put them in easily accessible places – the bathroom and under the kitchen sink.  After dealing with a 3 day power outage a few years ago, I realized the flashlights were a lifeline, but having extra batteries on hand was just as critical.  I’m now stocked up and ready, just in case.

It is imperative to make sure you stay connected to information from local authorities and to check in with family members.  Without electricity, it can be difficult to get important information if you are not prepared for it any outage when it happens.  There are a few back-up plans you can have in place if you lose power.  My coworker, Alanna, purchased a car charger for her cell phone, allowing her to recharge her phone and stay informed.  Your car battery will last much longer than your cell phone battery.

Another option to stay informed is to get a battery-operated or hand-crank radio.   A NOAA weather radio will give you weather warnings around the clock.  Turn to a local station on your battery-operated radio. If the power outage is extensive or there are rotating outages, there will be announcements on local stations.

Here are a few things you can do this month to be ready for a power outage:

  • Learn how to safely use a portable generator.  Always run generators outside, and never in a house, basement, or garage. 
  • Know what food is safe after a power outage.  The last thing you need after a disaster is food poisoning. 
  • Send text messages (under 140 characters) instead of making phone calls to save your battery.  Make sure everyone in your family knows how to use text messaging.
  • Put together an emergency kit with enough food and water to last from 3 days to 2 weeks.  In a major disaster, it may be a while before your power is restored.  Make sure you have enough food on hand to feed your family.  You’ll need easy-to-prepare, nonperishable items that do not require electricity.
  • Keep your car’s gas tank full.  After Hurricane Sandy, many gas stations were closed due to a power outage, damage to the pumps, and overloaded because of the gas shortage.  Fill up your tank before a storm.
  • When power goes out, water purification systems may not be functioning fully. Learn more about water safety in a power outage.

Check out Do 1 Thing for more tips and information, and start putting your plans in place for unexpected events. Are YOU ready?

How are you ready for a power outage? Leave a comment and let us know!

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