Preparation = Convenience, Comfort and Safety
With now being the middle of hurricane season and the doorstep to winter storm season, you should be ready in case of extended power outages.
“With just a little preparation, you can stay a lot more comfortable during a long outage,” says Greg Brooks, Walton EMC’s community and public relations director. “It can also help keep life more normal and may even save you money.”
Focus on these areas when preparing for extended power outages:
Have a first aid kit and adequate supply of prescription medicine. If you use a fireplace, space heater or generator, have a carbon monoxide detector and fire extinguisher nearby. Do not run generators near or in dwellings. “Don’t use charcoal grills inside,” reminds Brooks.
MEDICALLY FRAGILE PATIENTS
You must have a contingency plan in place – get a free plan template here. Determine an alternate location for housing the patient during the outage and have extra medical supplies on hand. Consider a stand-by generator to run medical equipment.
Have a supply of non-perishable foods. If you want hot food, go outdoors to heat food on a grill or camp stove. Don’t forget a manual can opener. Prior to the storm, freeze gallon containers of water to aid in keeping the freezer and refrigerator cold.
Good storm foods:
- Peanut butter
- Canned fruits, vegetables, soups, chicken, tuna
- Nuts and trail mixes
- Granola and power bars Dried fruits
- Apples, oranges
- Sports drinks
- Bottled water
- Avoid junk foods; they’re loaded with salt and hasten dehydration
Get a power pack for charging your cell phone. You can also charge your phone and laptop in a car. “Charging a laptop in the car requires a power inverter,” says Brooks. “These devices can also run other small electronics and appliances.”
Stock extra batteries. Investigate investing in a properly installed generator.
Have light sources that don’t require flames, like battery-powered lanterns and flashlights. Choose LEDs rather than traditional bulbs for much longer battery life.
Use the Walton EMC app or go to waltonemc.com for outage information. “Using our website or app is the most efficient way to report your outage,” says Brooks. “You don’t gain any advantage by reporting your outage over the phone.”
WARMTH (for winter storms)
Keep outside door openings to a minimum. Stay in one room and cover windows and doors with blankets. Wear extra clothing and make use of blankets and sleeping bags.
If your well is out due to a power outage, you can still operate toilets by manually filing the tank with water. Fill to the line indicated on the inside of the tank and flush as normal.
WATER (for those on a well)
Before the storm, fill bathtubs for household use. “You can still operate flush toilets by filling the tank manually,” says Brooks. Fill jugs, pitchers or water coolers for drinking or buy bottled water.
Have some extra cash on hand in case ATMs aren’t working.