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8 Tips To Prepare Your Home For a Blackout

Kimberly Hutchings
/
June 14, 2023

This summer is predicted to be a hot one, and energy regulators are warning that extreme heat coupled with increased demand may be the perfect storm to leave our nation's power grid precariously primed for outages.

While some may be brief, other outages could last much longer, and ensuring your home is prepared is essential. Here are eight considerations to keep you safe and comfortable during a summer blackout.

Stock up on non-perishable foods in your pantry.

Non-perishable food staples are a crucial part of blackout preparedness — and making sure your pantry is readily stocked is a simple way to avoid joining others in the panicked supermarket rush. 

When considering what items to buy, focus on foods that don't require cooking before consumption so that they're easy to eat when your electric appliances are out of commission.

Here are a few essentials to make sure you have on hand:

  • Nut butter (like peanut butter or almond butter) 
  • Canned meats (like corned beef or tuna)
  • Granola bars and other breakfast cereals
  • Canned or dried fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Cookies, crackers and other pantry comfort foods
Tips for preparing for a potential blackout.

Make sure you know who to call in the event of an emergency.

Document important emergency contacts, like the one for your electrical provider, in case you need to call them. Store these contact details where everyone inside the home can easily find them! 

Put together an emergency first-aid and supply kit to keep on hand. 

An emergency first-aid and supply kit is an essential tool for any home (power outage or not), but it's especially important in the event of a blackout. You'll want to make sure it's stored in a central place, accessible to everyone, and every six months, check its contents for anything that may be missing or expired.

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a Basic Disaster Supply Kit should include the following:

  • Water (one gallon per person)
  • Food (this is where your non-perishable pantry staples come in!)
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First-aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to signal for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape (if you need to shelter in place)
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal sanitation)
  • Wrench or pliers
  • Manual can opener
  • Local maps
  • Cell phones with chargers and backup batteries (more on that further down!)

Keep flashlights, candles and lanterns ready for the evening hours.

One of the ways we use electricity most in our day-to-day lives? To light our homes! Which means when an outage occurs, we need to be prepared with backup light sources to help us navigate the evening hours.

A good rule of thumb is to have one flashlight for every individual in your home and plenty of spare batteries stored in your emergency supply kit. You may also want to consider additional alternatives, like candles, battery-powered lanterns, glow sticks or outdoor solar lights that can be recharged outside during the day.

Safety measures to take during a blackout.

Make a list of meals that don't require electricity to prepare.

In addition to your non-perishable pantry items, it's a good idea to think about meals you can make without relying on electric cooking appliances. For instance, outdoor cookware, like propane BBQs or charcoal grills, are great for preparing food during summertime outages.

If you don't have a BBQ or space for outdoor cooking, though, don't worry. There are *tons* of zero-energy recipes out there that you can prepare indoors too!

Here are a few to save in your power outage recipe book:

Steps to recover after a blackout.

Ensure you have an alternative charging method for your cell phone.

During a power outage, your cell phone is an invaluable resource, keeping you connected to friends, neighbors and loved ones and ensuring you have a line of communication to reach emergency services should you need them. 

Make sure you have backup charging methods available to keep you connected for the length of your blackout. Portable charging packs, like the Anker 737 Power Bank, are a great option, providing enough power to charge smartphones multiple times.

Alternatively, solar charging options can be great too, like the LICORNE Solar Charger Power Bank, as you can charge it back up in the sunlight during the day.

Of course, if you want to power multiple devices, you may need to look for something that will give you a bit more bang for your buck — and for that, we recommend the Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station. A portable, solar-powered generator that can power 90% of home appliances, it's ideal for families (or households of multiple people). 

Make a plan for any medications or required medical equipment.

You'll also want to make arrangements for any medications or medical equipment you or your family may require.

Keep a cooler on hand and ice packs in your freezer so that you can keep refrigerated medications cold in the event of a multi-day power outage, and ensure you have a plan in place to power any essential medical equipment.

Find alternative ways to keep cool without air-conditioning.

And finally, we couldn't finish these tips without addressing one of the biggest downsides to a summer blackout — no more air-conditioning! Luckily, there are a few ways you can beat the heat, (no A/C/ required)! 

Create a cross-breeze by opening windows on each side of your home and close your curtains to block heat from the sun. Nearly 76% of sunlight is turned to heat as it passes through your windows, so you'd be surprised at the difference this can make!

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