Crafting a disaster plan is a good idea no matter where you live. A power outage is one of the most common disasters that can occur in your apartment. Like any other unforeseen occurrence, the severity of a power outage is determined by the length of time it lasts and how prepared you are in the first place. There are some simple steps you can take to make the duration a little more comfortable and less costly overall.
Have Supplies On Hand
You should always be prepared for an unexpected disaster. This doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune on all kinds of battery operated appliances and non-perishable foods. Instead, it means you need to think ahead to what tools and items will be useful and make sure you have them on hand.
Make sure to have the following:
- Flashlights and batteries are two of the most important items. While you can use candles for light, flashlights are a safer alternative.
- Having a battery-powered portable heater or a battery-powered fan will make the temperature situation more comfortable.
- A first aid kit is something you should always have on hand, power outage or not.
In today’s world of smart phones and portable laptop computers, staying up to date on the situation is easier than ever. However, it’s still a good idea to have a battery-operated radio just in case the wireless network is down.
Have Adequate Food and Water Ready
Have a couple day’s worth of non-perishable food and water stored somewhere in your apartment. Purchase a couple cases of bottled water and save it. Remember, until you receive confirmation from local authorities that the drinking water is safe (a city’s purifying system can be affected when the power goes out), don’t drink or use water from the faucet.
In terms of food, try to find foods that can be consumed straight from a box or can, with little or no preparation.
Be Mindful of Your Heat Source
Charcoal grills, kerosene heaters and other types of outdoor heaters should not be used to provide heat indoors. They could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have a regular wood stove or fireplace, use it to heat your apartment instead. If the power outage is only set to last a few hours, layering your clothing and bundling up under blankets is your safest bet.
Leave the Refrigerator Alone
Food lasts up to two hours at room temperature before beginning to spoil. You can leave food in the fridge for up to four hours during a power outage if you don’t open the door. Food in the freezer can last up to 48 hours if the freezer is full and remains unopened. Have a food thermometer on hand. If the temperature of the food in your fridge surpasses 40 degrees (like dairy and meat products), toss it. Having a bag of ice and a cooler on hand is good for power outages. You can make your food stay fresher longer.
These are just some general tips for a power outage. For specific instructions related to cold weather or hot weather power outages, visit websites like the American Red Cross for more detailed instructions.