Wise Tips For
Prepping For Power Outages
In light of the disaster which unfolded in Texas this February, with power outages lasting days during sub-freezing temperatures, snow, and ice, we wanted to give some Wise Tips for preparing for wide scale, long term power outages. You can do a lot of things in advance to help your out during a major event like this. We also have tips to help make the days more bearable while waiting for power to return. With extreme weather conditions appearing more frequently worldwide it’s good to have things in place now to keep your peace of mind.
Prepare Now, Before An Event
You don’t want to be caught unprepared in a life threatening situation like power outages with no heat source during a deadly winter storm. Doing these few critical things can help save you thousands of dollars, your cherished valuables, and your life.
- Find Your Main Water Shut Off. This is a good thing to know even in the best of times. Draw a simple diagram or map to the main water valve so anyone can find their way in the dark. When the power goes out, and night settles in, make sure you turn off the water to your house and open the spigots to drain the water that does remain in the pipes. This will help prevent your pipes from freezing without increasing your water bill!
- Buy A Camping Grill/Stove & Gas. Think about how you’re going to prepare the food you have. If you have a gas range you may still be able to cook, but some newer models don’t operate without power. And if yours happens to be electric then you’re out of luck during an outage. Having a method to cook, like a camping stove, a gas grill, or a solar oven can help you stay happily satiated. Just be safe, and ensure you follow all safety measures when cooking!
- Stock Up. Make sure you have enough bottled water, canned or dried food, and disposable flatware. Don’t forget to stock up on those items that make life more comfortable in the cold: hand and feet warmers, gloves, beanies/hats, blankets, and warm socks! Don’t forget candles: multi-wick candles and tealights – tons of tea lights (we explain below). You’ll be very grateful for the forethought – food, water, and warmth!
- Pick Out Entertainment. You may be aware, but you’ll still be surprised at how wrapped up in the electronic world we are. Without electricity, there will be limited cell service, no wifi, no television, video games, and limited battery life on our phones. Heck, even most of our apps rely on internet connectivity to run! So find those old gameboys, the board games, decks of cards, dice, or whatever else you have stored away in storage. Make sure they’re easily accessible, and then you’ll have them for the next time friends and family come over for a visit!
- Stock Up On Energy! Stock up on the batteries you use most often. Buy battery banks, external batteries, battery chargers, or power cells and keep them fully charged so you can recharge your cell-phones, laptops, and whatever else you can. Adding this can keep the luxuries in your life readily available, even in the darkest of moments.
- Insulate Your Pipes. It may be something minor, and unnecessary, but insulating your pipes wherever you can may prevent that one place from bursting when temperatures drop well below freezing. Do your pipes run along an exterior wall, or in the crawl space? It may be best to take this one simple step to help save you thousands of dollars.
During A Long-Term Outage
If the power goes out, and you still have access to cell service, check in with your energy provider and local news outlets to see what’s going on. If it looks like the power is going to be out for a while and the temperatures are dropping well below freezing it’s time to take these next steps to keep your home and yourselves safe
- Turn Off The Water To Your House. This is the best way to prevent damage to your plumbing, walls, foundation, and valuables. If it doesn’t look like the power will be off too long then you can do the drip method, leaving one or two faucets dripping through the night.
- Set Up One Room To Sleep In. That’s right – conserve what heat you will create from your bodies, breathing, candles, etc. in one room. If you have doors to close around one opportune living space then choose that one. If not, drape blankets, tarps, or sheets in walkways around one living space to keep the warmth in there. Cover windows with a layer of plastic, blankets, or sheets as well to prevent drafts from stealing your heat. Create as many “bubbles” of air as you can, with the center most “bubble” the one the family resides during the outage.
- Eat Food In Order Of Going Bad. Start with your left-overs and perishables. Move the items in your freezer to the fridge to keep your refrigerator cold. Use things as they thaw so they don’t go bad. If you have a healthy stock in your fridge, this should help your food last three or four days in your refrigerator. Then you can move onto dried and canned foods.
- Generate Heat! Light candles safely. Single wick candles won’t generate that much heat, so stick with multi-wick candles. Place them in safe and secure locations to avoid causing house fires! One way to really optimize on a candle’s flame uses tea-light candles and a small terracotta pot. Light three or four tea-light candles. Turn the small terracotta pot upside down and place over the tea-lights. You’ll want the pot to be lifted slightly to allow airflow to reach the candles. This can be done by resting the pot on small plates, bricks, or some flame-proof items around the house. Over time the terracotta will heat up and radiate heat enough to warm up a small space – hopefully the one you’re sleeping in!
- Get To Know Your Neighbors. During a crisis it’s important for communities to come together. Maybe you can help someone out, or they may be able to help you. Amazing things can happen when we communities work together.
- Stay Active. Stay Calm. Stay Together. Grab those games you set aside just for this moment. If you have enough power for a bluetooth speaker play some music from your phone. Read a book. Bundle up and go for a walk. Whatever you do, don’t sit in your house fretfully thinking about every passing moment in the cold.
As the infamous British adage states: Keep Calm & Carry On! Even in the most dire of situations, keep your head straight, your body warm, belly full, and property protected. With these helpful tips you may just come out of a crisis with some fun stories, rather than tragic memories
Stay Safe. Be Prepared. Wishing you all the best!
The Wise Team