We have all been through the ordeal of the recent ice storm even if we didn’t lose our electrical power. Those of us who did go without heat, light, the world wide web and cable TV should take stock of how we actually did cope with the hurdles placed before us when our utilities are suddenly ripped from us with no timeline as to when or if it will be restored. Just how prepared were you?
While out and about after the power outage I overheard a lot of people talking about how they survived without power. Some actually did have a portable generator to at least keep some necessary things running like heat and the refrigerator full of food. I have a suggestion. We should all make three lists. The first one should contain the things that went well with your preparation, survival, etc. The second list consists of what didn’t go well or what you were not prepared for. The last list is the most important one. This list should contain the things that should be done differently or that were not done that should be done the next time.
During and after the ice storm all of the local media outlets were giving out the important information that everyone needed. The problem with that is so many of the people who needed the information were without power and pretty much cut off from the outside world. We all should have a battery powered radio for just such an emergency.
Here is a list of things you should do at home to prepare for outages as documented by EWEB on their website. 1) Keep EWEB’s 24-hour, toll-free outage reporting phone number in a handy spot: 1-844-484-2300 2) Learn about EWEB’s new program to report an outage using text messaging 3) Create and maintain an emergency kit 4) If you get water from a well, make sure you store enough water to flush toilets. 5) If you have an electric garage door opener, note where the manual override is located. 6) Protect sensitive equipment. The range of items with sensitive electronics may surprise you. Learn what electronics to protect and how 7) In the event of a planned outage, turn off and unplug all unprotected electronic equipment.
Some tidbits to help you cope with power outages include having an old analog telephone with the cord to connect it to one of your household outlets, if you still have hard-wired landline phone service. Why is that a good idea? Simple, digital phone systems need electricity to function while land-line phones get their power from the phone line. It’s possible the phone line still has power even if your household electricity is out. You should always keep your cell phones fully charged. If you have to rely on them as your sole connection to the outside world you’ll need for them to last as long as possible. Have extra flashlights scattered around the house and have extra batteries so you’ll have a way to get around in a very dark house without bumping into walls and tripping over furniture.
Let’s say you don’t have an emergency kit. Do you know what items should be in the kit? How about where to keep the kit for easy access? Those questions and many more can be answered by two organizations. The American Red Cross has emergency kits that are already prepared ad loaded with items vital to your survival during just about any kind of emergency or disaster. The Red Cross has an online store where you can order the kits and other first-aid kits, etc. The store can be found at: redcrossstore.com.
FEMA also has a website and they have information regarding what you need to make an emergency kit of your own and many other helpful tips. Check them out at: fema.gov.
As I mentioned earlier, some people have purchased portable generators to use when the power goes out. If you are thinking of getting a generator there are some things you need to know. They need to be maintained and checked to make sure they will be ready when needed. There have been reports of people connecting a generator directly to their household electrical system. That can be very dangerous. If not connected properly a fire could be the result. Make sure that you have a licensed professional electrician install a generator. The safety of your home and your very life may depend on it.
If we all follow these simple instructions we’ll have a better chance of getting through the next emergency or disaster no matter what form it takes.
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