Don’t Be Left in the Dark: Create an Emergency Winter Power Outage Kit
It's time to get ready for cold weather situations as summer gives way to fall in the calendar. Depending on the geography, winter storms can happen anywhere from early October to late spring. Power outages are frequent during weather conditions that include snow, rain, and severe winds.
When the weather outside is frightful, it's important to be prepared for the worst. A power outage can leave you in the dark during the coldest months of the year, so it's essential to have a plan in place.
In this blog post, we will discuss what you need to put in your emergency winter power outage kit. By following our tips, you can rest assured that you will be able to ride out even the worst storm!
Here are the supplies you'll need to put together your emergency winter power outage survival pack and some tips on how to get ready for bad weather.
EMERGENCY WINTER POWER OUTAGE KIT
Solar, car, or hand-crank cell phone charger
Flashlights with new batteries
Carbon monoxide detector(s)
Prescription and OTC meds
Games and books
Reminder #1: KNOW YOUR HOME
Know your home inside and out before anything else. With immediate action, many home crises can be resolved.
Learn how to close gas and water valves to avoid frozen pipes exploding. Learn which circuit breakers are appropriate for certain rooms and appliances. To ensure that everyone is on the same page, write down this information and distribute it to family members.
Reminder #2: CREATE A PLAN FOR FAMILY COMMUNICATION
When the lights go out, your family might not be together, so it's crucial to know how to get in touch with one another, how you'll reunite, and what you'll do in an emergency. Planning effectively will be made easier if you discuss several situations before you are under the pressure of an actual emergency.
Reminder #3: PLEASE REPORT ANY SPECIALIZED MEDICAL EQUIPMENT
If you utilize specialized medical equipment that requires energy, let your power company know (e.g. an oxygen generator or dialysis machine). Most electricity companies will prioritize responding to your home after noting this in their records. In case there is a prolonged power outage, you should also set up backup plans for emergency medical treatment.
In case you can't leave the house, keep three days' worth of common over-the-counter and prescription medications on hand.
Reminder #4: MAKE SURE YOUR CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR IS IN GOOD WORKING ORDER.
Ensure that every sleeping area is close to a functioning carbon monoxide detector; if you have bedrooms on different stories, you'll need one for each floor.
When there is a power outage, carbon monoxide poisoning risk rises. According to a study done at the Hartford Hospital, the first day after a blizzard and the second and third days after a power outage are when most carbon monoxide exposures happen.
Many people rely on generators, charcoal grills, and camping stoves as backup power sources in case the electricity goes out, but these devices can also build up this odorless gas.
Reminder #5: STAY HYDRATED
Don't wait until the day of the storm to do your grocery shopping. Stock up on a sufficient amount of nonperishable meals and snacks, as well as one gallon of water per person each day that you anticipate being at home without electricity. Three to five days is a good range to plan for in the majority of places.
It's important to have some non-perishable food items on hand. Canned goods are a great option for an emergency power outage kit because they can be eaten without needing to prepare or cook them. Be sure to stock up on snacks like nuts, dried fruit, and jerky as well.
During the power outage, just occasionally access your freezer or refrigerator. Food can stay cold in an unopened refrigerator for four hours and frozen in an unopened freezer for up to twenty-four hours. To help keep your food cold, you can provide extra insulation by placing frozen water bottles throughout your refrigerator and freezer. Be sure to discard any food that warms up to more than 41°F (you can check this with a standard food thermometer).
Reminder #6: STAY CONNECTED
Ensure that every member of your family always has a fully charged cell phone. To save battery, turn off your phone when not in use and refrain from using it for enjoyment (gaming, Facebook browsing, etc.). Purchase a hand crank, solar, or automobile charger as a backup emergency charging alternative.
Have at least one corded phone available if you utilize a landline. Many cordless phones ultimately run out of battery and won't function during a power outage.
To keep up with weather news, it's also a good idea to have a battery-powered, solar-powered, or hand-crank radio. At the very least once a year, test your radio, and when a storm is approaching, make sure it's in good working order.
Keep your car's gas tank at least halfway full, and be familiar with how to use your electric garage door opener's manual release lever in case you need to make a rapid getaway.
Reminder #7: STAY LIT
Place flashlights throughout the house in convenient, multiple locations, and always have extra batteries on hand. As a substitute for electricity, stay away from using candles because they pose a fire risk.
Reminder #8: KEEP WARM
Excellent alternatives to traditional heat sources include fireplaces, kerosene space heaters, and wood-burning stoves. Ensure that whatever you utilize is functional and clean. Before a storm, test your kerosene heater, and have your chimney cleaned and inspected annually. During the winter, keep dry wood if you intend to use a fireplace or wood-burning stove. All heat sources should be kept at least three feet away from curtains and furnishings.
Make sure everyone in the house is familiar with how to use the fire extinguisher and keep one on hand.
-Purchase a portable generator if your budget permits.
-Learn how to operate the generator safely, and do regular checks. A week's worth of fuel should be kept in reserve for the generator.
-Installing storm windows or lining single-pane windows from the inside with plastic will insulate your house. Your doors and window sills may benefit from weather stripping to help keep warm air inside.
-Be prepared to bundle up if necessary by keeping additional blankets, sleeping bags, and sweaters close by.
You should make sure you have plenty of blankets, hats, gloves, and other winter clothing items in your kit. If the temperature inside your house drops significantly during a power outage, having extra layers can help keep everyone warm until the heat is restored. It's also wise to keep a few extra sets of clothes in your emergency kit, just in case.
Reminder #9: KEEP YOURSELF ENTERTAINED.
To keep yourself occupied during the power outage, gather a supply of books, periodicals, games, and playing cards. The battery life of a cell phone will quickly be depleted if you rely on it for amusement. Having alternatives available will assist reduce tension and sooth boredom.
Reminder #10: STAY INSIDE
Stay indoors during the storm and bring your pets with you. As soon as the power goes out, unplug all delicate electronic equipment, including laptops and printers. There can be power spikes when the power is turned back on that could harm your electronics.
Be a good neighbor and remember to check on your family, friends, and neighbors, particularly if they are elderly, disabled, or live alone.
By following these tips, you can be sure to stay safe and comfortable even during a winter storm. Create an emergency winter power outage kit today so that you are prepared for whatever Mother Nature brings your way!
JACOBS & CO. REAL ESTATE, LLC.
12923 Fitzwater Dr. Nokesville, VA 20155
(703) 594-3800 | jacobsandco.com