One of the most common occurrences during an emergency situation is the loss of electrical power. Electricity is something we are accustomed to using every day, and it is easy to forget just how much we rely on it in our day-to-day routine. Depending on the severity of the event that caused the loss of power, you could be without electricity for just a few hours or for weeks. That is why it is important to be prepared to adapt to a situation when electricity is no longer available. Planning ahead can help you and your family cope better with such a situation.
One of the first things to take into account after a power outage is food consumption. You shouldn’t immediately dive into your emergency food storage in this situation. You should first eat the perishable food items in your refrigerator and then move on to the foods in your freezer. Try to minimize the amount of times you will open the refrigerator or freezer door in order to keep more cool air inside. Foods kept inside a well-insulated freezer should generally be safe to eat for up to three days after electricity is lost. However, if your food begins to appear questionable in its quality, it is better to just play it safe and throw it out rather than risk food poisoning or disease. Wait to start using non-perishable food items (such as emergency food storage or canned foods that don’t need refrigeration) until after you finish off the perishable foods from your refrigerator and freezer.
A lack of electricity can affect other aspects of your life and daily routine as well. For example, if you have an electric stove, cooking could become problematic. Purchasing a small gas-powered stove or grill can provide an alternative cooking solution during a power outage. Learning how to safely build and maintain a fire can also prove useful for a variety of purposes, including staying warm, purifying water, and cooking.
Be sure to have a portable battery-powered radio so you can remain informed about changing circumstances. Keeping informed during any type of emergency is absolutely crucial.
Depending on the time of year that the power outage occurs, another important issue to consider is the need to either stay cool or warm. If you lose power during the hot summer months, it is important to stay cool. Stay in more shaded areas of the house, such as a basement, and avoid overexertion in order to prevent heat exhaustion and other heat-related problems. Drink lots of fluids. Shutting your blinds during the day and then opening the windows at night can also help keep your home cooler.
During the winter, your needs after a power loss are the opposite. If you live in a particularly cold area, staying warm after a power outage can prove to be a difficult but extremely important challenge. Be sure to wear multiple layers of clothing, and drink warm liquids to heat your body. Periodically move around to keep your blood flowing. During extended power outages, you can focus on making one or two rooms of the house the “warm rooms” where you and other family members can stay warm together. Close the doors to the other parts of the house and bring the most important items to the “warm rooms” so you don’t have to leave. When sleeping, use multiple layers of sleeping bags, heavy blankets, etc.
Keeping these simple things in mind can help you and your family be better prepared to deal with power outages. Make sure your family knows what they need to do in order to be fully prepared.