Homeowner's Academy

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Preparing for a Power Outage

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Feb 24, 2014

Feb-24-200x300Major storms, from ice and snow to wind and rain, can knock out your power. Power outages hit hundreds of thousands of homes each year; the storm at the beginning of February cutting off power to nearly 850,000 homes in Pennsylvania alone.

While winter storms aren’t expected to do the same to Florida, power outages occur when winds pick up from thunderstorms and hurricanes.  Since these outages are still commonplace in Florida, People’s Trust Insurance suggests you make a plan and gather supplies to keep your family safe in the event of a power outage.

We suggest you remember the three “S”s of surviving the power outage: Sustenance, Supplies and Sanitation.

Sustenance

You’ll want to stock the pantry with some non-perishable food at all time. It’s best to put a small amount aside in case of any emergency, from blackouts to hurricanes. Great foods include peanut butter, canned fruits, granola bars, apple sauce, tuna packs, water and juices. The goal is to have food nearby that doesn’t need to be refrigerated or cooked.

If you have pets, make sure you have extra food and water specifically for your pets. When planning your kit, make sure you have a few days’ worth of water for both you and your pets.

When the power goes out, locate your cache and store it in a central location. It’s best not to leave this outside because it may become hard to locate in the dark.

Supplies

Another great box to get together before a blackout is a set of supplies besides food. This should include battery-operated lights and flashlights. Fluorescent lanterns and a battery operated radio are also great items. Be sure to pack plenty of extra batteries. If it’s cold out, use your flashlights to locate and collect as many blankets as you can.

If you have a generator, use it and your fuel sparingly until you can catch a TV or radio broadcast that provides you with an estimate for your power returning. Never run a generator indoors.

Your supplies should also include things to do, such as books, cards and games for the kids. If you use an MP3 player or have one on your phone, a battery-powered dock will allow you to have music for hours. Turn off any extra features, such as Bluetooth connectivity, to help the battery on your phone last longer.

Sanitation

In case the power outage is long-lasting, you’ll want to keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. To prepare for an outage, you can use ice packs in your freezer to help it keep things colder for longer.  Once food in the freezer has reached 40 degrees for two hours it is not safe for you to eat.

If the blackout is lengthy, you’ll need a way to heat your water. You can use a solar powered oven if you have access to sunlight, while outdoor stoves and grills can provide you with another resource. Never use these indoors! Always take them outside to reduce the risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.

When you’re able to heat water, use it for washing yourself as well as your dishes and utensils.

Get prepared so you’ll be safe all year long.