by Lee Flynn
The grid disruption database from Inside Energy compiled their data and found an average of 200 reported grid outages per year from 2010 to 2013. This numbers continues to increase. There is not always an impending storm or a sudden natural disaster to warn that a power outage may be in the future. Therefore, it is essential that everyone be, at least minimally, prepared for the loss of power before it happens, understanding that it could last for an extended period of time. The following items are crucial in the event of a long-term power outage.
Alternate Power Sources
Option #1 – Of course, the first thought for this is a generator. There are many types and sizes of generators available today. Finding one that suits an individual’s or a family’s need is not difficult. However, they can be costly depending on the type, size, brand and model.
Option #2 – Other options are wind, water or solar power sources. Many options exist in these areas for homes in order to help supplement the expense of energy to the home. These can not only be used during the power outage but, with the right set up, they can be used to until it’s needed for an outage as well.
Alternate Light Sources
Option #1 – Candles are great because it is really only necessary to light one and, as long as it stays lit, use it to light others. However, in damper conditions it may be difficult to keep the flame going or to relight a candle that goes out.
Option #2 – Electrically powered lights, such as lanterns and flashlights are also a good option. It is recommended to have lithium batteries on hand as they last longer than the standard type.
Option #3 – Crank or shake powered flashlights are effective and do not need batteries. The drawback is that these can wear out after some use, especially the less expensive, lower quality brands.
Option #4 – Solar powered light sources are great for at night because they can typically, weather permitting, charge all day and last for several hours.
Food and Alternate Food Storage
Option #1 – While the currently preferred option is to connect the refrigerator and freezer in the home to a generator, it is not likely to be a viable option once the power goes out. Instead use a cooler full of ice and ice packs (or frozen bottles of water). This can keep food well enough to sustain a family for several days.
Option #2 – In the event of a major disaster, when power and cooling apparatuses are not available, be prepared with dry that is well-sealed and stored in cans, jars, or other food storage containers.
Option #1 – It is critical to have clean drinking water, such as a stock of bottled water, on hand.
Option #2 – It will also be important to have a way of gathering, sterilizing and storing water.
Option #1 – Warm clothing and blankets are important to have handy, especially in colder climates.
Option #2 – Having a place, and the means, to build a fire in the home is a plus.
Option #3 – Having gas or oil powered space heaters during a power outage can be beneficial but also risky.
Means of Communication
Option #1 – For one way communication in, a hand-crank or solar powered radio is recommended.
Option #2 – For two-way communication, consider investing in a CB or short-wave radio. Many truckers and law enforcement, as well as some hobbyists monitor these airwaves.
Means of Sanity
Option #1 – Security! It does no good to prepare for survival if there is no way of being safe and secure.
Option #2 – Entertainment! We live in a world that is a constant barrage of information and entertainment. Have books, games and playing cards on hand to stave off the boredom.
Being prepared ahead of time will save a lot of stress and grief and struggle when a power outage happens. Always be sure to plan ahead and have the necessary supplies easily accessible in case of an emergency.