How to Prepare for Blackouts

Have you thought about how you’ll be able to complete important tasks during power blackouts? You’ll need to eat, drink, stay warm, sleep and even entertain yourself. It’s easy to take these simple things for granted when you have electricity, but you need to be prepared to do them without power. Here’s how to prepare for blackouts:

Decide on Where to Meet

If everyone is at home during a blackout then you won’t need to worry about getting your family together in one location. However, if family members are scattered at different locations, you’ll need to agree ahead of time where to meet. Your home may be the ultimate destination, but you might need to meet somewhere else first before you travel there. Come up with a plan to meet in a safe location, such as a close friend’s house or your workplace. Then come up with plan B and plan C, in case it’s impossible to get to certain places during a blackout.

Plan Who to Call

You may not be able to make local calls during a blackout. Choose a relative or friend who lives out-of-state for everyone to call. This is a way for everyone to “check in” and notify each other of where they’re located, if they can’t get to the designated meeting place. You should ask your contact ahead of time if they would be willing to be a point of contact during emergencies. It’s important to choose someone who is reliable and easy to reach.

Store Wool Blankets

If your only heating source is an electrical heating system, you won’t be able to warm yourself if a blackout occurs during the winter. One way to guard against losing body heat is to store wool blankets, which retain more body heat than other blankets available. Cotton blankets don’t store heat well, and won’t dry in cold weather if they get wet. If you can’t afford to buy (or can’t find) a 100% wool blanket, at least buy a wool blend.

Get an AM/FM Receiver

You don’t want to miss any announcements and news about the blackouts. How will you know what’s going on if you can’t turn on the television or radio? You can get updates with a hand-cranked AM/FM receiver. You don’t need batteries or electricity to operate these. Just crank one up, and you’ll be able to hear weather reports and other communications about any blackouts.

Buy an Emergency Backup Generator

You won’t have to worry about blackouts as much if you have a generator. However, it may not be a viable (or legal) option for you if you live in an apartment or an urban area.

If you can use an emergency backup generator, it’s a good idea to buy one for blackouts. These require gas, diesel, propane or solar power to operate, and provide you with electricity when your power company can’t. You can buy a temporary, portable generator or get a licensed electrician to install a regular one directly into your home’s electrical system.

How you prepare for blackouts is dependent on your location and unique family circumstances. However, everyone can benefit and be better prepared by following the above steps.