Winter brings reduced temperatures that make magical snowscapes possible. However, the same conditions that create beautiful snowfalls can also lead to power outages when storms affect the roads and electric grid.
Although power outages in the summer can be a nuisance, loss of electricity in the winter can be dangerous and even life-threatening. Check out these four tips to ensure you’re prepared for a potential blackout this winter.
In some cases, losing power could directly affect your access to food and water. For instance, you may not be able to reach nearby stores if the weather is severe enough to cause a power outage. Even if you manage to traverse icy roads, other shoppers may have cleaned out the shelves.
To prepare for potential winter storms, you should stock enough nonperishable food to feed each person in your household for two weeks minimum. Canned goods and freeze-dried foods are good options, as they last a long time and don’t require refrigeration.
Your water supply will probably also be affected by a power outage. Most city water is distributed with electric pumps, and many home well systems also operate off electricity. To ensure you have potable water until power is restored, stock 1 gallon of drinking water per day for each person.
Staying warm is even more important than having access to food and water. Hypothermia can take hold quickly if your body temperature drops below 95 F. Thankfully, there are several concrete steps you can take to ensure your family remains cozy and safe during a power outage.
It’s a good idea to invest in a backup generator or portable heater that can act as a second line of defense in case you lose electricity. Powerful ones can supply electricity to your whole house. A more budget-friendly route is to wear layers of clothing and camp out in the warmest room in your home until the power comes back on.
You’ll also miss light if you lose electricity. The sun often goes down early in the day during the winter, so solar devices may not be as effective as usual. Storing flashlights, batteries, candles and lighters will ensure you have instant access to light around the clock.
A blackout quickly shows you the difference between what you thought you needed and which items are true necessities. In addition to food and shelter, some individuals must prepare for other personal needs that could make life challenging or dangerous until the power comes back on.
For example, some individuals rely on medical devices powered by electricity. Without a backup generator or another way to charge these devices, they could be in serious trouble in just 24 hours without electricity.
If you rely on medication or wear contacts, you should also consider creating a backup plan in case you can’t access these supporting devices as quickly as usual. Stocking essential medicine, getting a backup generator and purchasing glasses are good places to start.
Most people today communicate over battery-powered devices such as cellphones and computers. While your phone will still work after a power outage, it’s only a matter of time before the charge runs down and you can’t communicate with family, friends and local authorities.
Ensure you can communicate during a longer blackout by storing extra battery packs for your phone, computer and other important devices. Always take the time to recharge them before putting them away.
You should also invest in an emergency radio with extra batteries. This is a reliable way to connect to the outside world and keep you informed about what’s happening.
Winter power outages are common in areas with high snowfall and icy roads. Thankfully, these blackouts are easy to anticipate and can even make for a fun family camping event with the right preparation.
Provide for your basic needs and protect yourself from the dangers of winter power outages. The next time it snows, you won’t have to worry about how a loss of electricity could affect your life.