In a widespread blackout that occurred in South Australia in late 2015, I noticed that a lot of people were simply not prepared for it. It just came from left field and left a lot of people feeling helpless, paralyzed, and in the dark. And this was a power outage that affected almost all of the state for 2 whole hours. Imagine if this lasted for a few days. No doubt the inadequately prepared would have feelings of hopelessness and desperation.
I know firsthand that people were actually rushing to the late-night service stations to buy candles and lighters so that they could see in the dark. Some described it as “surreal” and “apocalyptical”. As an emergency preparedness expert, I like to analyze past events and see what people could have done better in those situations. In that process, I learn a lot by observing and noting things down mentally.
Our biggest problem in today’s modern world is a total dependency on modern technology. Whilst technology is great, certainly makes life a lot easier and improves living conditions, it’s totally useless in times of crisis when the power or even the grid goes down. A lot of things we do in a day rely on electricity and that is instantly gratified to us by simply flipping a switch on the wall. Being without power is like a debilitating disease, to say the least.
How To Survive A Power Outage In The Winter?
The first thing you need to do is stay warm. A power outage in the winter can be deadly if you’re not prepared for it. Make sure you have plenty of warm clothing, blankets, and a heat source. If you have a fireplace, make sure you have enough wood to last a few days. You should also have some non-perishable food items on hand as well as a way to cook food if necessary.
How To Survive A Power Outage In The Summer?
The biggest concern in a summer power outage is staying cool. Make sure you have plenty of cool clothing and stay hydrated. You should also have some non-perishable food items on hand and a way to cook food if necessary. If you have access to water, you can also try to take cold showers or bathe in cool water during the day to stay comfortable.
How To Survive A Prolonged Power Outage?
In the event of a prolonged power outage, you will need to have an extended plan in place. This may include evacuating your home and staying with family or friends until power is restored. You should also have an emergency preparedness kit on hand that includes items like flashlights, food, water, medical supplies, etc. If possible, try to have a backup source of power, such as a generator, in case it takes days or even weeks for the grid to be restored. Overall, the key is to stay calm and remain prepared during an extended power outage.
If you’re looking to prepare for an emergency power outage, there are several steps you can take to ensure your safety and comfort during these situations. Some of the most important things to do include staying warm in the winter, staying cool in the summer, and having a plan for a prolonged power outage. Additionally, you should make sure to have an emergency preparedness kit on hand that includes items like flashlights, food, water, medical supplies, etc.
Some Things To Keep In Mind
- Power outages occur when we least expect them.
- It’s wise to have an emergency supply of batteries, torches, candles, lighters, glow sticks and battery-powered lanterns for these types of occurrences. Also, have a couple of alternative ways to heat and cook food (e.g. propane camp stove or outdoor rocket stove).
- Have some alternate, non-Internet reliant activities to do. People these days are literally glued to screens such as iPhones, iPads, and computers. Books, pencils/paper, puzzles, games, and good old-fashioned storytelling are the way to go.
- Food inside your fridge and freezer will spoil so keep Eskies filled with ice on hand to remove the cold stuff such as dairy products, meat, and anything else that requires refrigeration or freezing.
- A UPS device can save your computers and electric devices from damage caused by current surges.
- If the outage occurs during the daytime then take advantage of natural light and open those curtains. After dark use torches, candles, and battery-powered lanterns.
- In a blackout, you may not be able to check your online bank account balance or pay bills so that is why keeping an emergency supply of cash on hand is so important. In a worst-case scenario, there will be no access to online bank accounts, credit cards, or savings accounts. So ideally your best plan of action here too is to be stocked up on emergency food, water, medications, and other necessities for everyday living.
- Many people these days connect with friends and family via social media and email but of course, if the Internet is down and you do not have Wi-fi access then that is simply not going to work. So you should have an alternative way of keeping in touch. Our ancestors wrote letters and visited each other in person.
- Security is an important consideration when the lights are out as that is when thieves and looters take advantage. Secure all doors, windows, cars, and outbuildings on your property. Scan the yard every now and then with a high-powered searchlight or torch.
- Have emergency communications and an “information extraction” plan. If something more serious like a disaster or act of terrorism caused the blackout then you will want to communicate with loved ones who may not be at home as well as get as much information as possible about what is going on. As the internet may not be accessible you should look to alternative means of communication such as UHF CB radio, HAM radio, emergency services scanner, and hand-cranked emergency AM/FM radio.
But what if the lights don’t come back on? Like in a major emergency or apocalyptical scenario?
In order to be prepared for such a long term scenario you should consider the following:
- A good generator to power essential appliances such as your fridge and freezer. You’ll also need a good supply of fuel to keep the generator going.
- Solar chargers such as the Power Monkey Extreme are great for keeping smaller devices powered.
- Have alternative ways to cook and heat food. Rocket stoves and hobo stoves are an option.
- Washing will have to be done by hand if the water supply is cut off as well as the power.
If you’re unprepared for an emergency power outage, it’s important to start planning now so that you’re not caught off guard. Make sure you have a plan in place for how you will stay warm or cool, how you will cook food, and how you will stay hydrated. You should also have some non-perishable food items on hand so that you’re not left hungry. By being prepared, you can survive an emergency power outage and stay safe.
Reading about power outages in other areas, the long lines at the ATMs and fuel stations, and empty supermarket shelves should be enough to get you motivated to be prepared for this common emergency.
I know I am well prepared for blackouts. How about you? Are you empowered to face a short or long-term power outage or will you be left in the dark feeling powerless (pun totally intended)?