Preparing for a Power Outage

51. winter-storm-warning

When you’re gearing up for a winter blizzard or dangerous weather, the last thing you want is for your power to go out. If this does happen, however, you don’t want to be caught unprepared when the temperatures are below freezing outside.

Preparing for a Power Outage

In the event that you don’t have an alternate heating source that is not connected to the power, the next best option is to make your home as airtight as possible. This may include adding new caulk or weatherstripping around the windows and doors, covering all of your windows with plastic and insulating your pipes to prevent damage from freezing water.

If heavy snow is coming your way and you may not be home, let your faucets drip to prevent freezing. Additionally, make sure to set your freezer and your refrigerator at the coldest settings so you don’t lose any food should your power cut off. This will give you about 24 hours to work with before your food begins to turn. If you have medication that must be refrigerated, contact your pharmacist for instructions.

If you have kids and pets, it may be ideal to have a safe spot where you can go in the event of a power outage. Family and friends may be able to shelter you for a short period of time if a hotel or other shelter is not an option. Keep a day bag with a change of clothes, water and any other items you may need packed and ready to go. It is also not a bad idea to have some hand and foot warmers around in case of an emergency.

What to do During a Prolonged Outage

Most power outages only last a few hours. However, there have been times in the past when power outages can last days. When it is the dead of winter, it can be very difficult to keep your family and your pets warm. The best way to be prepared is to be prepared for the worst.

When the power first goes out, you want to wear multiple layers of lightweight, warm clothing. Your outermost clothing items should be water repellent. You always want to make sure that you have a hat to prevent heat loss and socks to keep your feet warm.

The longer the power outages last, the more at risk you and your family are for hypothermia and frostbite.

The symptoms of hypothermia can include:
• Exhaustion
• Drowsiness
• Slurred speech
• Memory loss
• Disorientation and incoherence
The symptoms of frostbite can include:
• Loss of feeling in the extremities
• Paleness in the earlobes, tip of the nose, fingers and toes
If you or any of your family members begin to show these symptoms, you need to get medical attention immediately. Warm drinks can help keep the person conscious until medical help arrives. However, if your home gets to be this cold, it’s time to leave and find temporary shelter elsewhere until the power comes back.

Pet Safety

During short power outages, dogs and cats do not need any extra attention with the exception of having food and water available. If the power outage lasts longer than a few hours, however, having some thick, warm blankets for them to curl up on or under can help keep them warm. If at all possible, caged pets and birds should be moved to a warm location.

Power Outages Happen

When you lose power, the important thing is for you to keep calm and collected. Even though these events can be extremely stressful, always remember that your power will eventually return and you’ll be able to return to your normal winter routine shortly.


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