You see them on the news all too often – hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, hail, ice, lighting earthquakes and fires. Severe weather and emergency situations can happen at any time, but fall is especially high for storm systems and fire hazards. If you checked out our September blog posts for National Emergency Preparedness Month, you’re already ahead of the game when it comes to putting together your home emergency kit so you’re ready for whatever Mother Nature throws your way. (Catch up on those here if you haven’t already.) But aside from the supplies you’ll want to have on hand, you’ll need to be mentally prepared as well.
We’ve become so accustomed to having power that you barely even realize it’s there – until it isn’t! Ever tried to sit in a dark room with nothing but your thoughts for extended periods of time? We don’t recommend it. Here are some tips to keep you sane.
Immediately After Losing Power…
First things first – when you’re suddenly left in the dark, check your circuit breaker and surroundings to see if the outage has affected other homes around you (although your first instinct is likely to check your phone battery). Although it’s easy to assume one of your neighbors is or has already done this, take it upon yourself to report the outage to your electrical company. They might have more information for you, but it will definitely help them in identifying the problem (thus, restoring your power quicker).
Gather Your Gear
Hopefully you’ve already built your home emergency kit, but if you haven’t yet, start with gathering your light sources. We recommend lanterns, headlamps and flashlights over candles to reduce risk of fire. You should also have some extra batteries on hand to fit your light sources (who knows how long this outage could last). We also encourage you to have some portable chargers at the ready, or even better – one that is solar powered (like this), so your devices can stay charged. The Radiant 314 Lantern from Nite Ize actually doubles as a power bank if you need to charge your devices without losing light.
Assess Your Food Situation
Note the time of the outage right when it happens because your refrigerator is now a ticking time bomb of food freshness. The USDA says food will stay cold for only four hours following loss of power, but remember to NOT open the doors until needed – this will only speed the warming process. A full freezer should stay cold for 48 hours (24 hours if it is half-full). It’s good practice to keep thermometers in the fridge and freezer to make sure the temperature is right for keeping your food safe.
It might be a good opportunity to have a backyard barbecue if you don’t get power back before your time window is up. Better drink those brews while they’re still cold too. Light ‘em up with a SlapLit Drink Wrap and call it a party!
Have Some Fun!
Power outages might not be “fun” per se, but they’re a great time for a good old-fashioned family game night. Break out the board games, set up your lanterns and transport yourself back to a time before smart phones, tablets and video game consoles. It’s worth having some non-electronic entertainment at home for situations like these. If you’re by yourself, fear not! We’re willing to bet you have some books (the ones with paper pages) lying around that you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t gotten around to yet. For a small, cute little reading light, the BugLit works great!
Keeping your head up, mind occupied and remaining calm during a power outage is important for your safety and mental wellness. Hopefully you won’t be left in the dark for too long!