One of the big problems in this day and age during a natural disaster is prolonged power outages. No matter where you live, or what kinds of emergencies you should expect to deal with, it’s a good idea to think about and plan for long periods of times when you have to function without power.
Alternative Sources of Power
If you can prepare for the power outage, start by making sure your phone and all mobile devices, are fully charged. Now is also a good time to stock up on batteries, invest in a small battery operated power bank, and consider buying a generator.
Candles and wood burning stoves or fireplaces are another great alternative power source that will provide light, warmth, and in the case of a fireplace or stove a way to warm up and even cook food.
Having several flashlights and spare batteries is always a good idea. You should also keep a small, battery powered radio on hand to keep up with news and weather forecasts throughout the power outage.
If you have a generator make sure you know how to use, have plenty of fuel for the generator and always–Always–run it outside.
Keeping and Preparing Food without Electricity
If you are dealing with a power outage of only a few hours, simply keep your fridge closed and you should be fine. If it lasts longer than that, start eating perishable foods in the fridge first. Cook what you can on a grill or camping stove and toss the rest.
Keep your freezer completely closed and (if possible?) insulate it further by throwing large blankets or comforters over the freezer. Start thawing, cooking, and consuming food from the freezer once you’re running out of fresh food options. Open the freezer as little as possible to keep cold air trapped inside and the food fresh for longer.
You can cook and grill outside with your charcoal or gas grill. If you have camping gear, get out the propane stove, and cook on it. If neither one of those are an option, cooking over a small fire is always an option. Do all of your cooking outside to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning or causing an indoor fire.
Staying Warm or Cool without Power
Keeping warm or cool without power can be a major concern in long power outages. Insulating your home ahead of time can make a big difference. Close shutters and curtains to trap in heat or cool air for as long as possible. Take advantage of sunshine and outside temperatures during the day or night to regulate the temperature inside. Dress appropriately by either snuggling up under several warm layers and a big blanket, or wearing as little as possible. Keeping a breeze going can help during hot weather. In either case make sure you get plenty of fluids (either warm or as cool as you can get it), and aim for plenty of calories in your food if you’re in the cold.