December 3, 2013
Whether it’s a mild winter storm to a full blown doozy of an ice crusher, your family should be prepared for all types of weather, storms and blackouts. Blackouts can happen during normal circumstances when electricity companies become overrun, equipment fails or stresses on the network cause supply to short.
These issues cause the power grid to become strained, at which point blackouts will increase. Winter storm blackouts can become dangerous when temperatures dip and necessities like heat, water, clothing and food are harder to procure at the last minute. Be prepared with our basic tips and the blackout won’t black out your holiday spirit.
For blackouts where evacuation is not necessary, make a checklist for the family to complete as a team (sealing windows and doors, selecting a warm room and the best place to sleep together to conserve heat) for when the blackout hits. Compile some fun activities and games for weathering the storm and the blackout together.
Make sure your load out bag is packed and ready to go at a moment’s notice. It’s comforting to have your survival gear at your fingertips during a flood, fire or storm. Select a preordained storage spot for your blackout survival bag so that you know where it is in any circumstance.
Stock emergency kits with sustenance and first aid. Water and water storage is a critical component to your supply arsenal during any natural disaster or when you are not able to access commodities due to rough weather. Stock water in safe water containers and purchase water purification packets for when your fresh supply runs out.
Pack blankets and adequate clothing, like layers, in your blackout kit to keep you warm during long winter power outages. Flannel sheets will keep you toasty when the central heating system is out. You can also try wool blankets and socks, thermal underwear and quick-dry synthetic sleeping bags for extra warmth on a cold night. If you are located in a cold climate, add hats, warm boots and gloves to your insulated clothing checklist.
Stay warm with pre-electric, alternative forms of heating fuel like dry, fire-burning wood or purchase blackout commodities like a generator, wood stove, thermal mass rocket heaters or candle powered air heater. Keep your home well ventilated if you use a wood stove.
On the cheap, a Crisco 45 day emergency candle is thrifty and will burn for hours. Be fire-wise: Crisco candles are highly flammable and require supervision when lit but certainly do the trick. You can also use a candle and flowerpot to make a pretty good radiant heater.
For food cooking, you can have a winter storm BBQ with your gas powered grill. During the winter months, you can move your BBQ into a sheltered or covered area. Stock up on extra propane tanks for your cooker and store these in a safe place, then fire up the barbeque when the blackout strikes.
Storm-ready your vehicle by making sure all systems are up to date and ready to go. Include winter necessities like extra antifreeze, snow tires and chains, emergency packs and food. Have a safe destination predetermined if you are leaving your home.
Blackout-proof your home by preventing your water pipes from freezing, fixing heat escape points like seals and cracks and maintaining locks and windows to safety requirements. Use a battery powered carbon monoxide reader for when electric power points fail. Safety is easy when you prepare in advance.
Trim tree branches or dead trees that can be aggravated during storm season and cause damage to your property or even to persons. Landscaping is easier done in advance of colder months when snow can make branches heavy or extra rain can weaken branches. Check out these winter tree trimming tips.
The bottom line is, winter storms and blackouts do not have to be a huge hassle as long as you are prepared and have been maintaining your emergency kit. No excuses: get prepared now for winter storm season and impending blackouts and rest assured!