This was written about 24 hours into a power outage that started a few weeks ago. It eventually came back on a few hours after writing this article.
As I sit hear listening to the local FM country music station, I am approaching 24 hours without power thanks to the derecho that blew through the Northeast. I started keeping a running list of lessons learned. Basically, if it was something I wished I had or something I was super glad I had already, I wrote it down. This has been a great training scenario. Though if the power company could go ahead and get me back up that would be greattttttt.
- Inventory ahead of time. I realized after the power went out that I did not have enough D batteries to power all lanterns AND have a backup set for each. I bought a few Streamlight Siege Lanterns a year or so ago and I absolutely love them!
- When the power went out, I assumed it would be short. At my previous residence, I was on the same grid as the local EMS and Fire Station, so we were always back up first. I did not pull the generator out until about 7 hours after we lost power. That is seven hours of lost time that could have been used charging items.
- Stock extra gas. I had some stocked, but I had been dragging my feet in getting all six of my 5 gallon cans filled. That is going to fixed real quick.
- Identify property issues before the storm. This includes tree limbs, earth gradients and drainage issues, etc. Walk your property during the storm to identify runoff issues, gutters that need to be address, and things like that.
- Have a list of local radio frequencies handy. Keep your radios charged.
- If you have a propane grill, make sure you stay stocked on propane fuel.
- In addition to #6, have another method of off grid cooking available.
- Keep your basic power outage supplies together and accessible so you are not scrambling into multiple tubs or rooms to gather stuff.
- Use UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) Surge Protectors on your Wifi and your computer. This way, if a power outage hits, you have time to turn your computer off properly while it runs on the surge protector’s battery. Additionally, by keeping the modem up, you will have internet.
- If the power outage continues, you can use frozen items to keep the fridge cool. Currently we are using a frozen turkey from our chest freezer as a cooling method.
- Don’t hesitate to get bags of ice from the local convenience store as well.
- If you have a generator, make sure you keep a handy list of all of your appliances and the necessary starting and running watts they need to run. This way you can easily tell what can run at the same time based on your generator wattage.
- Have necessary extension cords on hand (ideally 12 gauge or 10 gauge) in order to safely run those applicances off a generator.
- Have candles on hand. While having a bunch of LED lanterns are nice, sometimes the gentle light of a candle suffices. Plus, it looks cool.
- Get a kerosene heater and stock kerosene. While you are at it, might as well get a kerosene lantern as well. Duplicity!
- If you have the chance to get gas for cooking, do it! The previous location I lived in had gas, while this new place has it to the house but not hooked up yet. Thus, we cannot cook anything with our electric range. Hence why #6 and #7 are important. Additionally, in the winter, you could use the stove for warmth. I know several people who survived for weeks like this during Hurricane Sandy.
- Some night lights (small plug in hallway lights) have battery back-ups. This could be important – especially if you have kids.
- Battery back-up charger for your phone can help a lot.
- Be sure to evaluate your food once power is restored.
- Be Proactive, Not Reactive.
Hopefully you can use some or all of these suggestions to build your resiliency. With the potential of systems disruptions due to the target of power infrastructure by nation states, rioters/ANTIFA types, or simply Mother Nature on the rag, making sure you are resilient!