Preparing for an Electrical Outage

| September 12, 2017

Electricity is an essential part of our lives today. So much so, that when we are left without it we can have a very hard time getting by. And yet electricity shortages happen all the time.

Electrical Outage Prep

During extreme weather events power lines can be affected, or areas will shut off electricity to try and keep everyone safe. Sometimes our energy provider will shut off our electricity due to changing wires, unpaid bills, or even a simple mix-up. From time to time we may actively go somewhere without electricity, such as going camping. Sometimes we will get fair warning that our electricity is going to be shut off, but most of the time? Most of the time there is no warning at all. So what can we do to make sure we are ready for an electricity shortage, no matter what the reason? Here are a few essential measures we can take to prepare for a shortage.

Have Alternative Light Sources Ready

The very first thing we will notice during an electricity shortage is that the lights don’t work. This might be at home, at work, or it could possibly be anywhere. It is hard to understand how much we rely on electrical lighting until it’s gone. So make sure to be prepared.

Candles are a good conventional source of light, but wear down quickly and carry the risk of fire. Make sure you have some, just in case, but prioritize some high quality, battery-powered LED flashlights. LED flashlights will last a very long time, just don’t store them with the batteries still inside them. Keep your batteries in their original packaging, in a Tupperware box, to avoid discharge and any damage from dampness.

LED Flashlight

Keep Tech Items Charged

Make sure your tech devices stay charged, especially your phones, as they can be a life saver, as long as the cell phone towers and internet access are still going strong. Invest in a good power bank to keep your phone charged in case of an emergency. Keep your power bank topped up by charging it every three months or so. You may also wish to consider getting a spare, low-energy phone, like a non-smartphone, or a very low end smartphone, and keeping it on a low-cost PAYG (pay as you go) plan. Be sure to have all important numbers saved on it.

Keeping Food from Spoiling

During a brief electrical shortage, it may be that you will recover power in time to save your food. But if you want to maximize your chances, make sure to keep things as cold as possible in your fridge and freezer. Make sure your freezer is mostly full, and if it isn’t full enough, add two liter bottles, half full of water, to bulk it out. The more compressed your freezer is, the less heat leaves it. And during an electrical outage, you can put fridge items in a cooler bag with 1-4 of these two liter bottles, to keep them cool and fresh.

Keep Your Gas Tank Full

During an electrical shortage, two things happen which will affect your ability to fuel your car. Firstly, most gas pumps are electric, so you won’t be able to get gas from them. And secondly, even at older pumps that may still be active, there will be high demand from people seeking fuel to get them to see loved ones, to power generators, etc. So, hedge your bets and keep your car fully fueled, and maybe even keep a spare tank of fuel available.

Gas Pumps

Get a Generator

Speaking of generators, they are an amazing thing to have in the case of  a power outage. If you have a machine which is keeping you or a loved one alive, then you absolutely need a generator. However, in less extreme situations, a generator can keep your food from going bad, provide light and power to charge your cell phone, and keep the fish tank’s filter running. During a local power outage, a generator will definitely come in handy.

Finding a source

When we’re looking at a large-scale shortage, such as during a natural disaster, there will often be a supply of electricity provided by the government. Find out where your electric hotspots are and keep a record of them. When in doubt, use your charged PAYG phone to call emergency services and ask for advice.

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Category: Disaster Preparedness

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