India’s widespread energy outages this week are a reminder of our dependence on electricity and the importance of being prepared for an energy outage in our area. Those of you who were here in the Southwestern Ohio Region in September of 2008 may remember the freak wind-storm that we endured courtesy of the remnants of Hurricane Ike. Many were subjected to the weird feeling of “camping” in their own home. Not so cozy nights, cooking on the portable grill on the back porch and eating every evening meal by candlelight were the new norm until the power came back on.
No matter what season it is or where you live, occasionally, you are likely to be affected by a power outage of some duration. Lately, the storms that have whipped through our area have left many without power for days. The fortunate have not been affected or have had their power return to normal within hours. Whether your power comes back on quickly or not, you can help avoid that feeling of dread that happens when you are confronted with a darkened and silenced home. Being prepared may help you weather the next energy outage.
If energy outages lasting more than a day happen frequently in your area, you may want to consider purchasing a portable generator. The savings in spoiled food alone, could help the generator pay for itself. If a power outage is only an occasional inconvenience, then the rest of this article will give you ideas of how be prepared when the next outage darkens your doorstep.
Food, Water and the Necessities of Life
First, and foremost, make sure you have fresh water available. To be prepared, plan to have one gallon of water per person, per day and have enough supply to last for a number of days. It is best to store the water in empty 2-liter pop containers. Milk cartons are more likely to split and crack making them not the best long-term vessel to safe guard your drinking supply.
You will also need a good supply of non-perishable food items. Pre-packaged, non-refrigerated items (whether made by you or store-bought) and canned goods should be the staples of your emergency pantry. In your preparations, remember the special needs your pets and young children. Store away diapers, wipes, formula, and their special food.
To make sure your food items don’t go to waste, implement a first-in, first out system. Make sure you have plenty of canned goods or prepared items on hand, but as you purchase or make them write the date on each item. As you use the items in the course of your daily living, make it a habit to replenish the item as it is used. This will keep you prepared should an emergency arise, but will eliminate the possibility of having to toss a bunch of expired food items.
Here is a handy check-list of other items that you should store in a waterproof emergency locker. Prepare as if you won’t have water or power for two weeks.
- Medicine Cabinet
First Aid Kit (either pre-packaged or put together on your own)
Band Aids and pads
Bug Bite Cream
- Survival items
Flashlight(s) or portable battery powered lanterns
Battery operated clock
Small portable grill with ample charcoal briquettes or propane
General use fire-extinguisher
Spray paint – you may need it to identify your house for emergency personnel or your insurance adjuster
- Clean-up Supplies
Should the event that causes the power outage be of such a magnitude that there is damage to your home and surroundings, you will find these items most helpful.
Hammer, screw drivers, wrenches and a saw.
Nails and screws
Heavy-duty trash bags (both for cleaning up debris as well as protecting your belongings from water damage from rain or rising waters, as the case may be.)
Heavy-duty plastic drop cloth
Duct Tape (may become your new best buddy when in survival mode)
Dish soap, and surface cleaners of your choice.
Paper towels and dish cloths
- Entertainment Items
Those of us here at Barker, Beck, Collins and Kronauge Agency hope that the preparations you make today will ensure that you can weather whatever energy outage may come your way