(Modern Survival.org) – Prolonged power outages are a more common threat than many people realize. Recently, hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans learned this difficult truth in the aftermath of an ice storm. When the lights go out, you can’t be sure when they will come back on. It could be hours, or it could be days.
According to ready.gov, power outages can disrupt communication, shut down stores, cause water contamination, spoil food, and even cause medical devices to stop working. If you’re reliant on any of these basic needs, going without electricity could quickly become a serious issue.
The First Steps to Take When the Power Goes Out
When facing a power outage, there are a few things to do immediately. These steps will improve your chances of survival if the power is out for an extended period of time.
- Gather water. Since power outages can cause water contamination, the first thing to do is to make sure you have enough of it to last for a while. The fastest way to gather water is to fill up your bathtubs and sinks.
- Ensure freezers and refrigerators are closed. This will trap the cold and preserve your food for longer periods of time. If you have to open the freezer or refrigerator during the power outage, make your selections quickly and close the door as fast as you can. A full freezer will keep food cold for roughly two days, but the refrigerator will only stay cool for a few hours.
- Disconnect electronic devices. Electrical surges can occur when the utility company is trying to get power up and running again. Voltage can exceed the typical 120v range, which can damage electronics that are still plugged in.
If stores are still open, the beginning of a power outage is a good time to stock up on essential supplies. Food, water, batteries, ice, coolers and even gasoline for your vehicle should be on the top of the shopping list if you don’t have adequate stockpiles already.
Unless the stores you intend to visit have power, shopping during an outage will require cash. Credit card machines require electricity to operate.
Observe Generator Safety
A power generator can be an excellent tool to get you through a prolonged power outage. But, safety first. If you chose to use a generator during the blackout period, keep it outside. The same rule goes for camp stoves and charcoal grills. Using these tools inside your home could result in carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be deadly. Likewise, do not attempt to heat the house with a gas stove.
Treat the blackout as a true emergency. Organize your survival gear and brace for the worst. If the power stays off for multiple days, or doesn’t come back on at all, it’s best to be prepared.
For further information on how to handle a power outage in the midst of a blizzard, check out our article here.
~Here’s to Your Survival!
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