What to Do During a Power Outage
We all know the feeling of being at home when the power goes out. It’s as if the whole world stops as everything goes silent. You begin to wonder if it is just your home or your entire neighborhood as you rush to check your breaker. How long will it be out? Why did it go out in the first place? Of course this happens while watching your favorite show or while you’re relaxing in a warm bubble bath!
With Australia on fire, Puerto Rico on shaky ground, and the Philippines under ash, it really is important to be prepared for anything. Your phone's battery only lasts for so long and definitely doesn’t provide enough power to keep your fridge running. So how can you be better prepared for the inevitable? Follow these steps and please keep all BBQ grills outside!
#1 - Report it
Don’t fall prey to the Bystander Effect, and assume someone else has or will report it. Notify your utility company immediately so they can know the extent of the power outage. Some utility companies have alternative ways to report an outage, like from a mobile app or text and can even provide estimates for when the power will be back on. Normally, it’ll just be a few hours and you can enjoy the peace and simplicity of living like it’s 1820.
#2 - Fetch the Disaster Kit
If the situation is bleak and it seems like the power may be out for days, it’s important to be ready with disaster supplies. According to the Department of Homeland Security, that includes having at least one gallon of water per person per day, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food, and things like manual can openers, flashlights and extra batteries.
Always listen to authorities and evacuate when they say so. Don’t be that person that decides to stick it out during a natural disaster or other potential life altering event. Have a confirmed place of respite, whether it’s with a friend or family member in another city or perhaps you can finally take that trip you’ve been planning.
#3 - What about the food?!
So you’ve decided to stay or it’s not looking like an extended power outage. Take a look at the time!
The USDA says food in a fridge will stay safely cold for four hours if the door isn't opened and a full freezer will maintain temperature for about 48 hours (if it's half full, that's 24 hours) as long as you keep the door closed. Keep an appliance thermometer in the fridge and freezer. You’re looking for 40 F or below in the fridge and 0°F or lower in the freezer. When in doubt, take individual foods' temperature with a food thermometer. Remember don't open the fridge unless it's absolutely necessary, and when you do, take out as much as you can use that day.
#4 - Let there be light
You’ll definitely want to have a source of light when the power is out. It’s good to have plenty of cheap or fancy pomegranate and pear scented candles on hand. An LED flashlight is also highly recommended. There are plenty of other low battery consuming lights out there so know your options. Remember there’s nothing wrong with having a variety of light sources. Just know where your batteries are!
#5 - Keep it fun!
As much fun as it can be sitting in a dark room, alone, with only your thoughts and crippling anxiety, there’s no need to bring in the worry caused by something you said to someone 10 years ago! Be sure to have cards, board games, books, workout equipment, or any other source of entertainment available. Have what makes you happy around and you’ll survive the power outage with your sanity intact.
There are plenty of non-electric battery chargers out there so find one that fits your style so you can keep your phone charged and ready to go.
Being in the dark doesn’t have to be a drag. If you report the outage to your utility company and have a basic disaster kit available, you’ll be able to soon see the light at the end of the tunnel.