The winter season is an amazing sign that holidays are coming and the new year is just a few months away. The cold weather even encourages people to do things a bit slower and take time to feel the magic in the air. But despite the snow looking stunning, winter can also bring headaches and inconvenience for many individuals. It can bring different health problems such as common cold, sore throat, asthma attacks, dry skin, and seasonal depression.
Apart from health issues, the snowy season can also cause power outages. Winter storms, in particular, can cause power poles to get knocked down because of falling trees and ice. The strong wind and heavy snow can make the electricity go out without warning. This is why you and your family must prepare for a power outage during the winter. Here are a few tips that you can follow.
1. Stock up on Water and Food
Drinkable water and food are the first two things you should have on ready in case of a winter blackout. It's best to start stocking up as soon as the winter season starts. Don't wait for the winter storms to come when it's harder to go outside and most grocery stores are closed. Ideally, you should have at least three days of extra water and food supplies enough for everyone in the family. Still, consider the average number of days the power is usually restored in your area. Bottled water and shelf-stable food items are still better options. If you encounter problems with your electric water pump or tap water, buy sufficient bottled water for everyone. As for the food, you'd also want to consider the type of cooking equipment on hand. Or, you can just stick to instant coffee, canned goods, and dried fruits.
2. Get a Good Generator and HVACSystem
Most families do not purchase a generator until they've experienced power outages several times. If you don't find it reasonable to buy a huge or standard size generator, opt for a portable type even during weather emergencies. But since sales of portable generators spike during such times, expect that price to be higher than usual. If you're lucky to find an available portable generator, always read the manufacturer's instructions first to run it safely. In order for the generator to power your entire home circuit, install an interlock device or a transfer switch. Call on an experienced local electrician to ensure safe installation. Investing in a good generator allows you to power essential appliances like an emergency HVAC system, which you can also rent in case you have no stable heating equipment in your home. Choose an HVAC system that suits your home's size and other requirements.
3. Avoid Carbon Monoxide Hazards
During a winter power outage, you need to watch out for carbon monoxide dangers. In most instances, electric shock and fire are highly likely to happen during an outage. To prevent such hazards, keep your generator properly operated and ventilated. Avoid placing it near the vents, windows, or doors that can invite carbon monoxide into your home. Check the manufacturer's instructions before actually using the generator. To be safer, it's best to install carbon monoxide alarms in your home, especially if your location is prone to blizzards. Other culprits of carbon monoxide poisoning are charcoal grills and fuel-burning space heaters.
4. Prepare an Emergency Kit
Lastly, don't forget to create an emergency kit for the entire family. Having one can save you from the stress and wasted time on finding supplies you need during a winter power outage. You can use a storage container or a backpack to store your emergency supplies. Ideally, the supplies should be for at least 72 hours without gas or electricity. The basic items you need in your emergency kit are extra batteries, flashlights, medical supplies, radio, blankets, clean water, and non-perishable food. Other things you can add to your kit are firestarters, protective masks, amultitool, local maps, cash, and a fire extinguisher. You might need specific items if you have an elderly, a young child, and a pet in your house.
Frigid winter months are not only annoying but can also cause danger to you and your family. A power outage can last from hours to several days, so don't be too relaxed when taking precautions. Keep your family safe and healthy even during an extended power outage. Having no plan of action for days without electricity can put your family at risk so start preparing as early as possible.