Winter is right around the corner. Depending on where you live, this could mean extreme amounts of snow and/or ice; and with that comes power outages. While there is little you can do about a winter power outage once it has happened, you can take steps to prepare yourself.
Lots of Water
When you lose power for weeks at a time, water becomes a guarded resource as there is no way to use the toilet or bathe without some type of extra water supply. Preparing gallons or buckets of water is one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself. If you should lose power and you have not saved water, think of what available resources you may have. This may mean getting water from a local lake or pond (if it is not frozen over). As with any water source that has been sitting for a very long time, remember to boil the water prior to use.
A Cooking Source
It is important to have some way to cook food (and boil water); there are several available options. You may want to consider purchasing a gas stove and having it installed now. If you do not have a gas stove, consider using your grill. Though you may only think to use a grill in summer, it can really come in handy during a winter power outage – as long as it hasn’t been covered by several feet of ice! Keep in mind that an outside grill should only be used outside.
Although it is always best to have a source available to boil water, it is a good idea to stock up on some foods which require minimal to no cooking when you know that a big storm is about to hit. Some options include bread, peanut butter crackers and cups of soup which require only boiled water to heat. As always, canned foods make excellent choices to have handy.
A Source of Light
Light becomes crucial during a winter power outage, especially if your power should go out for weeks at a time. Given winter’s reduced daylight hours, having candles and flashlights on hand is important. Don’t forget to stock up on matches and new batteries.
Outside Sources of News
Keeping in touch with the real world can help bring you a sense of hope that things will improve. Having a portable radio will provide you with news in your area, weather predictions and information around when your power may return. A cell phone can also be used to call the electric company or local centers offering updates. Keep in mind, however, that a cell phone battery needs to be recharged, so consider having a charger that can be plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter.
A Source of Heat
Many people invest in wood stoves or gas heating so that they can have a source of heat available for use during an outage. This can be a great idea even if you do not use your heater at any other time of the year. Having blankets, sweatshirts and extra layers available is also very important. Remember to keep babies and young children bundled up well. If your child wants to go outside to play during a winter power outage, the best thing you can do is say no, as they may have a hard time getting warm again after experiencing such cold.
A winter power outage can be an inconvenience to many, especially if lengthy, so it is important to be prepared. Many families begin making preparations mid-fall, such as stocking up on flashlights and water, just in case there is an unexpected autumn snow or ice storm.
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