You never know when a blackout may happen. You’re minding your own business, going about your day and then suddenly, you’re in the dark. Don’t panic: while a blackout may cause fear, there’s no need to be worried if you’re properly prepared. Take the time now to get your home ready for a blackout while there’s still light to see what you’re doing.
Prevention and Pruning
Blackouts can happen anytime, but they’re usually caused by weather-related issues. The best way to prepare for a blackout is to help prevent it in the first place. Take a look around your property for any hazards that could fall onto power lines and knock out the power for your entire neighbourhood. Make sure you keep the trees on your property well pruned, especially if they’re close to power lines. If your trees need some maintenance, you can find a tree specialist by clicking here.
Gather Your Supplies
When the power goes out, you won’t have time to wander around your house looking for useful items. Instead, have a box set aside that’s easily accessible with all the materials you might need. Items to include:
- Extra batteries for flashlight
- Battery powered phone charger
- Battery-operated radio
- First aid kit
If you live in a place that may experience blackouts that last for several days, it’s a good idea to include these items as well:
- Canned food
- Bottled water
- Extra gas for your car
- Analog alarm clock
If you have young children, prepare a bag with their supplies as well. This could include things like diapers, formula and other baby items.
Once you have all of your supplies gathered, put them into a box or container and place it in an easily accessible part of your home. Under the kitchen sink or in a linen closet are good spots. Do not put your blackout supplies somewhere like the attic or garage, as these areas of your home may be difficult to access with no power.
Safety Tips During a Blackout
There’s a couple of things to determine when a blackout happens. First you need to find out the source — is it inside or outside of your home? Check your fuse box to see if it’s just your home being affected. You can also check with your neighbours by asking them or looking outside to see if their power is out as well. Listen to the radio for updates on cause and duration of the blackout.
Remember to not leave lit candles unattended. Many people prefer to use other sources of light because of the potential fire hazard.
Make a list of emergency contact numbers. This list should include numbers for things like the police, your local fire station, and ambulances. You should also add phone numbers of close family members who you may need to get in contact with. Do not rely on your smartphone’s list of contacts as your phone battery may be dead. Remember that you should not call 9-1-1 unless it’s a true emergency.
Obviously you won’t be able to use your computer or t.v. until the power comes back on. If your electronics are not currently plugged into surge protectors, go around your home and unplug your electronics. Doing this will help prevent a surge and will also help to reduce the demand when the power comes back on. If your home does not have surge protectors, be sure to pick some up or order them online.
Freezer and Fridge
It’s important to keep your fridge and freezer closed as much as possible during a blackout. This will ensure the cold air stays inside and keeps your food cool for longer. The more ice you have in your freezer the better, as this will help keep things cool. If you have the space for it, consider keeping a cooler on hand for items that must remain cold.
The amount of time your fridge and freezer will stay cool depends on a couple of factors. The fuller the unit, the longer it will be able to keep things cold. Of course the condition and age of your units will affect how long things will last. Generally, a full freezer should last up to 48 hours and a half full unit will stay cool for around 24. Fridges cannot last as long and will be warm in about 5 hours.
If your blackout happens during the winter, you can store your items either directly in the snow, or fill your cooler with snow. Whichever method you use, be sure to check your food with a food thermometer before cooking. If your food has been in a fridge for days with no power, it’s better to be safe and toss your perishable food items.
Once the power is back on, wait a little bit before you start plugging in all your electronics and turning on every light in your home. The electrical demand will be high and waiting a bit before you start using your electricity will help ensure there are no surges on the system. This waiting period also allows you to figure out if the power is here to stay or still having issues.
Once you’ve been given the okay to turn things back on, go around your home and plug in your electronics. Start with the bigger and more important items first like your fridge and freezer.
If you find any of your electronics have been hit by the power surge, or if the electricity in your home isn’t quite right, you can always reach out to an electrician for help. Quickly and easily find a top-rated electrician in your area by clicking here.
Now that you’re fully prepared for a blackout, let’s hope you won’t have to use these tips any time soon. Do you have any other blackout tips to share? Write a comment below and share it with the entire HomeStars community.
Cover image courtesy of Pixabay.