Sunday, September 27, 2015

Preparedness Month: Outages

This week's focus in Preparation month is power outages, which I've pointed out before in this blog is a common disaster and potentially deadly. It is likely to become more common, so we all need to prepare for it.

From the US government's preparathon website, here are some tips:
  • Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer if there's room. Leave about an inch of space inside each one, because water expands as it freezes. These blocks of cold will help keep food cold longer during a temporary power outage.
  • Most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem.
  • Because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps, keep your car tank at least half full at all times. (This is a good emergency preparation practice for all emergencies.)
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
I'm sure you already know not to open the refrigerator or freezer doors unnecessarily during a power outage. Make a plan of what you'll need from the fridge, keep a list, and only open it two or three times a day, keeping the door half-open, for as briefly as possible. A two person food brigade can help the unloading go more quickly and get that door shut again.

Have plenty of canned food on hand, as a matter of course. If you don't have room in your kitchen, a box of canned food can be tucked into the back of closet or kept in a garage. Every year or two, rotate those cans into your pantry or donate them to a food drive, and re-fill the emergency supply with new cans.

Somewhere in your emergency supplies, you should have a hundred dollars in cash tucked away. When the electricity goes down, grocery stores may stay open, but they won't be accepting checks or credit cards. ATMs won't be working, either. So you'll need cash.

Stay safe. Stay prepared.

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