As climate change increases both the frequency and severity of weather across the world, it is important to be prepared for the consequences. One of these consequences is loss of electricity, which can impact everything from communication to food supply. Luckily, there are many things you can do long in advance to ensure that you are prepared:
- Pre-pack an emergency bag: If you have any extra duffel bags or backpacks around your house, take the chance early to pack it with flashlights, batteries of different varieties, radios, non-perishable snacks, and more. This is something you can have ready for weeks, and even months, in advance;
- Store extra water: If the electricity is out, there might be a chance that access to water is also limited. Put some gallon jugs next to your emergency bag for extra precaution;
- Invest in a generator: If you have medications or other necessary items that need to be refrigerated, don’t wait until the last moment to make a plan. Make a note of any other information that is pertinent to keeping your food or medication viable;
- Have extra candles on hand: This may seem unnecessary in advance, but illuminating a dark space in a crisis can be both extremely practical as well as calming.
In the moment, there are also many things to keep in mind as you navigate being without power:
- Don’t open the refrigerator: Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed! Keep as much food fresh as you can. If the power goes out in the summer months, you can wrap blankets or other insulators around these appliances;
- If you choose to use a generator, make sure to only use it outdoors or by windows;
- Unplug appliances and electronics: This will protect them from any surges that may occur when the electricity comes back;
- Check in with neighbors: Confirm whether this outage is within your home alone, or if a car accident or other weather event is the cause. This may help you get a better idea of how long the power will be out.
After the power returns, there are several more actions you can take:
- Throw away food that has perished: The general rule of thumb is to discard any food that was exposed to 40 degree (Farenheit) or warmer temperatures for two hours or longer. Dispose of any food that has any unusual color or odor;
- Wait several minutes to plug in your appliances and air conditioning: This will protect you from possible surges;
- Reset any clocks or timers that may have been affected.