Blackouts are a very common occurrence that range from small shortages during a thunderstorm, to longer lasting grid issues. Having a simple plan laid out for these circumstances is quick and easy to achieve. The results will come in handy and the best part is no one needs to be "Survivor Man" to get through it. A quick search online will turn out dozens of survival guides and blackout kits, some with over 30 kit items! This tends to complicate the process and take emphasis away from what is really important.
The truth is that every household (and family) is different. There are many "X" factors that can require extra items to be added to a kit. Start preparing by first taking a quick look around your house and seeing what issues may arise if the power goes out. Keep an open mind and ask yourself lots of questions. For example, will I need a wrench or tools to turn off major appliances? Do I have pets and what are their needs? If you feel strongly about including items that are not listed in this guide, please by all means explore those options as well.
Stick to the essentials
1) Multiple light sources
It is a good idea to have many different ways of creating light. Any combination of two of more light sources will ensure that in any circumstance light can be provided. Battery operated flashlights and lanterns are the go-to light source for blackouts. Gas or oil lamps can act as an alternative as long as proper fire safety measures are in place. Finally, chemically generated light can be stored in the form ofglow sticks. Make sure tohave light sources that are easy to access on each floor.
You can never have too much juice. Batteries have a shelf life of upwards of 10 years and are inexpensive to buy in bulk. They will always be used around the house in non-blackout situations; just make sure to re-stock them every few months!
3) A battery powered radio
Even in 2013, a good ol' fashioned radio is still the best way (and sometimes the only way) to stay connected to the outside world during a blackout. Depending on the length of the blackout (and the rationing of batteries), radios should only be used to listen for updates and reports. If you are planning with a neighbor for emergency scenarios, split on the cost of a set of walkie-talkies and agree on a channel so you can communicate.
Rural areas and extreme weather conditions
In the winter, make sure to have warm clothing and blankets on hand. Stay bundled during all activities and do not open any windows and doors. In the summertime make sure to drink lots of water and keep the drapes closed so the sun does not heat the house.
In rural areas where power may not come back on in a timely fashion - the following items are optional and can be assessed on a case by case basis.
- Large storage container for water
- Plastic bags, toilet paper, and wet naps for personal sanitation
- Photocopies of important medical information
- Small bills and spare cash
Don't forget the fun
Make the most of a blackout! Remember that in most cases, blackouts are not emergency scenarios and power is restored in a timely fashion. Have a deck of cards, some board games, and simple arts and crafts close by. Camp out in the living room and turn a blackout into a fun family activity.
At CAPREITwe do our best to ensure the comfort of our tenants and clients.H
opefully this guide has taken some of the fuss out of blackout-planning. Thanks for reading and stay safe!