Preparation is key for power outages

By Daniel Morgan, Editor

The Ohio Valley just received its first big dose of winter weather to start out the season. Along with snow, sleet, and wind often comes power outages, and it is important to stay prepared.

When power outages occur, the very first concern, especially for those with wells and various water pumps, is running water. Make sure that all running water is shut off and that water pumps are switched off to prevent an electrical surge when the power turns back on.

Also, be sure to have containers of water on hand in order to flush toilets. Preventing damage and maintaining safety with water and electricity is the top priority.

reserved-waterThen, it’s time to gather the basics for a power outage: flashlights, candles, batteries, and in the winter, blankets. It’s also important to make sure smoke detectors are intact and working; candles are a good light source, but leaving them unattended can be dangerous.

In some cases, power outages pair with bad road conditions. Make sure that you have enough food and water in the house to last you at least one or two days, depending on the severity of the storm.

During short, hours-long periods of no electricity, refrain from opening the refrigerator or freezer. However, if the power is expected to stay off for several days, put perishable items like milk, lunch meat, and cheese in a cooler and set it outside in the cold weather. You’d be surprised how much you can fit as well as how much money you can save by preventing waste.

board-gamesOnce you handle the necessities, it’s time to figure out just what you’re going to do until the lights come back on.

First, if you know the weather is getting bad, charge your cell phones, laptops, tablets, and any other devices beforehand. Keep those charged so that you can receive weather updates and keep yourself semi-entertained until the lights come back on.

If you have enough flashlights and candles, and if you have enough people at home, break out some board games or a deck of cards. Even if you’re alone, solitaire can keep you busy for a while, as can reading one of the books that you bought but still haven’tĀ opened.

Working on jigsaw puzzles, playing charades, and even just having conversations without technology and cell phones getting in the way are all good ways to pass the time. And if all else fails, take a nice, long nap.

Whether or not the power actually goes out this winter, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

Photos provided by: Daniel Morgan