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The lights flicker and then suddenly darkness takes hold. This sounds like the beginning of a horror movie, yet this is often the reality that many individuals deal with during winter storms and other natural disasters. Losing power is a bigger problem than not being able to turn on the lights. Losing power also means that many families lose their primary heating source, which can prove to be very dangerous, especially in sub-zero temperatures. To make sure that you don’t fall into a pinch during a power outage here are some tips and essentials to have at the ready:

What should I do first during a power outage?

When your lights snap off unexpectedly it’s time to spring to action. Now it’s time to bring out your emergency kit that you have prepped. First, find a light source and make sure everyone is gathered into one room. If some of your family members are not home, use your cellphone to contact them and make sure they are safe. It’s best to conserve as much energy as you can so only use your cellphones to assess the severity of the situation by calling your power company, keeping up-to-date on news and for emergency purposes.

This is also an ideal time to turn off non-essential appliances and electronics. Once the power is restored, this will prevent the circuits from overloading and electrical surges harming your appliances.

What should be in your emergency kit?

When it comes to assembling an emergency kit it’s important to remember the essentials: light, heat, a way to communicate and food. Easy light sources are flashlights and candles. Remember to have matches and batteries ready as well.

Also, be proactive and think ahead for your heat source. Depending on the weather outside, you might be stuck inside your powerless home for an unforeseeable amount of time. During these dire circumstances, you’ll wish you had thought ahead and invested in a back-up generator. Other heat sources that work are fireplaces and space heaters. Make sure to never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home or use any other heat source that could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

A communication source is also ideal during a power outage. Today, cellphones are a reliable option as long as the power outage is not widespread and has affected cellphone towers. It would be beneficial to have a power bank or portable charger to charge your electronic devices. A more traditional and old-school method is having an emergency weather radio. There are numerous models that are battery operated or even crank operated. 

Finally, have a stock of non-perishable food and water available. During long power outages, it’s important to keep you and your family nourished until power is restored. It might also be beneficial to have a water purifier in your emergency kit.

Power outages are never ideal, but you can successfully cope if you plan ahead. There are numerous resources that can help you prepare for power outages, including your trusted local electrician. With our help, you can make sure your home is well-prepared for severe winter storms as well as safe.