Disasters happen and we can’t always predict them. Storms can blow up over the course of a month or slam a city with little to no warning. Downed power lines, falling trees, earthquakes, and even municipal infrastructure maintenance can all cause power to be cut off from your home. If you’re more inclined to wait it out than pack up and flee to a powered location, it’s important to be prepared. For many people, they don’t realize just how much the modern power infrastructure supports them until it’s gone. Whether your next power outage lasts a few hours or a few weeks, you’ll want to have at least a few things figured out ahead of time.
1) How to Manually Open the Garage
Whether you’re doing the rounds to make sure neighbors are okay or have finally decided to get the family out of town, your car is completely useless if you don’t know how to manually open your garage. Punching the garage door opener button simply isn’t going to fly when the power’s gone. In most situations, manual control of the garage can be gained by turning off or unplugging the power connection and turning a safety switch or latch. This latch will disconnect the garage door from automatic control so that you can push and pull it open or closed at will. You may need help opening it, as garage doors are fairly heavy even on suspension wires.
2) How to Keep Your Fridge Cold
When the power goes out, you don’t have to immediately eat or toss everything in the fridge. If you keep the refrigerator and freezer closed most of the time, they will keep things inside cold for at least a day or two while defrosting slowly starts to occur. The best way to increase the cooling and preserving power of your appliance is to pack the freezer with frozen goods and ice and the fill fridge with large jugs of water which will act like cold batteries, storing up cold and then retaining it over time. When the fridge water is room-temperature, your fridge is officially warm.
On a side note, don’t forget to pull all the condiments, fruits, and vegetables out early so you can eat them or leave them on the counter which should be safe for at least a day or two.
3) Location of the Nearest Police Station or Hospital
Let’s say the power goes out, your car won’t start, and something bad happens in the home. Whether a looter tries to break in or your child gets terribly sick, you’re going to want a way to reach out to the authorities. In most cases of a wide-spread and long-lasting power outage, the police and hospitals are still doing their best to help locals in need. Know where the nearest police station, hospital, firehouse, or another 24/7 public venue so you can walk to help in an emergency.
4) Where the Candles and Matches Are
The very first thing you will need after the power goes out is lights. While a more sophisticated or long-term solution is ideal, every home should have at least a few emergency candles and matches. If your home doesn’t have any, get a few long-lasting candles that are safe to carry around and several packs of matches. Stow at least one candle and pack of matches in almost every room in the house and make sure the whole family knows where to look in case they’re home alone or helping out during the next outage.
5) How to Cook Over an Open Fire
The last thing you want to be prepared for is long-term living without power. While you may be happy with cold leftover sandwiches the first few days, eventually you and the family will want something hot and the best way to do this is with a grill or fire pit. Make sure you have some fire-friendly pots and pans and start practicing with weekend barbecues so you can get good at outdoor fire cooking. Just in case.
Whether you’re preparing for a big storm or your town is simply notorious for regular blackouts, your ability to weather a power outage depends a lot on the kind of planning you do ahead of time. All you need is a reasonable number of supplies, a few emergency backup plans, and some helpful survival skills.