Be Prepared for Power Failures
They happen throughout the year. Power surges, lighting strikes, auto collisions, overheating, and heavy snow or ice can lead to downed power lines or blown transformers, leaving your home or neighborhood without power for hours or (in the worst case) days. While an outage during the summer or the fall can be annoying, winter outages can be disastrous if not prepared for in advance. While it’s still warm outside, it’s best if you take the time to prepare your home and family in the event of a power loss.
First, what’s most important in the middle of an outage? You need to know how long power will be out (if at all possible), what conditions are like outside and on the road, and whether or not you have enough supplies to last until power and transport are restored.
- If you have a cell phone with a data plan, make sure you have charged backup batteries
- Keep a fully-stocked medical kit on hand
- Canned food and clean water are essential in an emergency
- Stay warm using a fireplace or warm blankets
- A battery-powered radio is perfect for weather updates
Generators and Fuel
There is another alternative to staying warm and powered during an outage. Electrical generators and gas furnaces are both effective during a power outage. It’s important to remember that for either system you need to keep an eye on fuel levels. Emergency generators and gas-fueled furnaces and water heaters are only effective when they’re properly fueled and can function in the event of an emergency.
When it comes to having a generator installed, it’s important to keep in mind:
Standard electrical generators operate on a manual switch. They are there when you need them but are only activated by your command. If the power goes out, you’ll need to start up a manual generator before power can be restored. If you’re not worried about losing power for a short time or the power being out if you aren’t home, then a standard generator is fine.
Automatic standby generators are designed to begin operating as soon as grid power is lost. While all generators have to be specially integrated into the existing power grid, automatic generators monitor the grid and activate as soon as power is lost. If your home has special equipment that shouldn’t be without power, whether that’s simply home heating to keep your pets warm or more complicated machines such as medical equipment then an automatic generator is necessary for immediate power in the event of an emergency.
When it comes to an outage, it’s important to remember those who may not be prepared for it. Check in with relatives or neighbors who are elderly and don’t forget that not all pets are capable of handling extreme cold or heat. If the roads are safe for travel, it may be best to ride out the outage with friends or family. Having a place to stay where it’s warm or protected against flooding is essential in an emergency.
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