If you don’t live in an area where you regularly experience power outages or bad weather, you might not think that a power outage kit or having a plan is important. But over the last few years, the weather in almost all areas has become more unpredictable.
Areas that didn’t use to experience flooding or heat waves are seeing these things occur more regularly.
So no matter where you live, it is prudent to make sure that you have a couple of things ready.
How long is the average power outage?
Most often, a power outage will last up to a few minutes, but there are many occasions where they will be around the 6-hour mark. If you live in an area that has an older power infrastructure, that time frame is likely to be significantly higher.
In the case of a blackout or a system failure, they are likely to last up to a few days.
When they are caused by extreme weather like freezing temperatures, flooding, or fires, these are more unpredictable, and often the extreme weather will cause uncertainty, and repairs may be needed.
What is the most common cause of a power outage?
We tend to associate power outages with thunderstorms and other extreme weather events – and that is pretty spot on. Most power outages are caused by severe weather conditions.
However, birds and other pests have been known to cause havoc with the system, too, by nesting or chewing through cables.
Transformers, cables, and connectors, while highly tested and regularly maintained, can also be one of the causes of power failures.
How can you prepare for a power outage?
For many people, a few minutes of power outages means a few minutes of boredom, but for others, a power outage can be the difference between life and death. Many people who experience power outages are also attached to life-supporting machinery. And, even if you’re not having a plan and a power outage kit can be incredibly useful.
Build a power outage emergency kit
The last few years have shown that when big events are going to hit, people often panic buy – meaning you can’t get what you need when you need it. So, instead of waiting to hear a weather warning or being caught off guard by a power outage – get what you need in advance.
Trying to function in the dark isn’t something many people can do well, so make sure that you have plenty of torches. Set a reminder in your calendar to check the batteries and make sure that you stick to them.
There are also soft beanie hats that have lights on them; these can be useful if there is a temperature drop.
Generally, buying bottles of water isn’t environmentally friendly, but having at least six big bottles of water somewhere easy to get to is important. It will keep you hydrated if anything has happened to your pipes or there are too many obstacles to get to any taps.
One of the best home backup power solutions is a generator. Having a generator and knowing how to work it are two different things, though. So, when you get yours, make sure that it is hooked up; you know how to make sure it is running – and always get regular inspections.
During severe weather, things can fall and cause injuries – both small and large. So, it is important to have a first aid kit to hand. Ensure that there are plenty of disinfectant wipes and bandages.
You might be surprised just how quickly a torch can burn through batteries when they are running for hours. Make sure that you tape some extra batteries onto the torch and check them regularly to make sure they have charged.
We are so reliant on technology to entertain us it won’t take long before people are bored and wish they had something to do. If the area is safe, and the only thing that is going on is a power outage, then board games and cards can help to pass the time.
It is a good idea to save battery on your tech items like laptops, tablets, and phones. Turn off Bluetooth and notifications, and if possible, use battery-saving mode. Turning the items on and off can cost more battery in the end, so try to manage the battery or use sleep mode.
There are times during a power outage when the safest option is to evacuate, and having an emergency evacuation kit ready and packed is going to make this much quicker.
The emergency kit will have some slightly different additions and will take a bit of preparation beforehand.
- Printed copies of emergency contacts, and the emergency plan
- Medical notes and emergency amounts of medicines
- Batteries and flashlights
- First aid bags
- Blankets and pillows
- Any supplies for babies or pets
- Copies of birth certificates, passports, bank records, or other
- Spare clothing and shoes
- Small tool kit
- Duct tape, markers, rope
- Hygiene items like toothbrushes, soap, toothpaste, shampoo bars
Where to go for shelter
When there are severe weather warnings, most often when it is safe to do so, there will be a place where people can go for refuge. These places of safety will often be used every time this type of thing happens, and they may take some time to get to and be very busy.
Power outages can vary from something minor to a serious emergency, and there is nothing more important than being prepared to keep yourself and your family safe. The easiest way to make sure that is possible is by having a plan and making sure that all of the items that you might need are easy to access and ready to be used.
Check all items regularly, and anything that gets used should be replenished asap.
A lot of the emergency gear you will pack in the grab-and-go kit will be similar to what you might take camping: 7 Important Pieces of Gear for Hikers and 4 Extras That Are Great to Have – SWAGGER Magazine.