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In a not-so-distant future, American homeowners may not have to worry about blackouts any longer. Tesla’s giant battery recently powered up Australia’s grid after a power outage in just milliseconds. And, with new, green technologies, constantly being pursued, it could be within reach to say goodbye to blackouts once and for all.
However, we’re not quite there yet. And, if you live in the colder areas of the country, you’re also at the beginning of the worst season for snow and ice that can wreak havoc on power lines.
So, to help get you prepared, I’ve written this list of things you can do to start preparing yourself, your family, and your home for your next power outage.
Read on for the list.
1. Emergency supplies list
It’s vital to have the supplies on hand before a power outage hits so that you don’t have to be wandering around your home in the dark fishing for things you might not even have.
To avoid this, it’s a good idea to keep a supplies bag packed and tucked away somewhere safe. It’s also important that your family knows where this bag is located in case you’re away when the power goes out.
Now, let’s make your list:
Flashlights and batteries - Two quality flashlights with batteries should be on everyone’s emergency list. Make sure your batteries were recently bought and that they are of high quality that won’t run out of juice in just a few minutes. Also, consider including a wind-up flashlight that doesn’t require batteries for use in case you forget to replace your old batteries.
Radio - Most of us keep our cell phones charged up, but we’ve all been guilty of letting them get too low on charge. In these situations, it’s good to have a battery-powered radio to listen to the news.
Power bank - Speaking of cell phones and their poor battery life, consider buying a power bank and keeping an extra charging cord in your bag. Make a note to charge up your power bank every few weeks to ensure it will be charged when you need it most.
Cash - If the blackout effects more than just your neighborhood, many stores’ ATM and credit card machines may be down. It’s a good idea to have a stash of cash for emergencies.
Optional: generator - while you don’t need to buy a generator for your average power outage, it can help if you live in an area that experiences them frequently.
2. Familiarize yourself with your home
Find out where the shutoff valves for water are, learn the layout of your circuit breaker, and learn how to use the manual release on your garage door.
If you have an electric stove, consider purchasing and learning how to use a small propane grill for emergencies.
3. Best practices during a blackout
If you have children, make sure they know what to do if the power goes out when you’re not home. Especially during the winter months, it gets dark out early enough that many parents haven’t even arrived home from work yet. So, be sure your kids know not to start lighting candles in dangerous places and keeping the refrigerator open for extended periods.
Finally, it’s a good idea to turn off power strips and unplug appliances that were turned on when the power went out. This can stop surges from damaging your appliances and save you money.