Summer is officially here. During this time, people will be getting a tan on the beach, going camping, flying to their next vacation destination, and finding ways to stay cool. Let’s see about power outages during summer.
Summer, unfortunately, is also the season of blackouts and power outages. Heatwaves in certain parts of the country can raise the use of air conditioning. This increase strains the power grid, resulting in rolling blackouts.
Many areas in the country are at risk of a summer blackout. Texas, for instance, is at an elevated risk of summer power shortages and potential outages.
What can homeowners do during this time? Apart from staying calm and keeping cool, they should take steps to prepare for the intolerable and sometimes inevitable power outage.
Here are six suggestions to keep in mind to prepare for a possible blackout during summer:
- Learn How to Report a Power Outage
One of the first actions you should take is to report an outage when there’s one. Don’t call for a skilled emergency electrician, as they can’t do anything to immediately restore a wide-scale blackout in your neighborhood or community. Instead, report the matter to your utility company.
Also, never assume that your neighbors will be the ones to report the outage. The more households that report a blackout, the better the utility company can pinpoint the problem.
- Know When to Throw Away Food in the Refrigerator
When a power outage hits your area, remember that the clock is ticking on the food in your freezer and refrigerator.
The food in a regular fridge can stay safely cold for about four hours if you don’t open the door. On the other hand, a full freezer can maintain its temperature for 48 hours (24 hours if it’s half full) as long as you keep the door shut.
If you’re determining if a particular food is spoiled or not, don’t rely on just checking with your eyes – and certainly not tasting. Instead, keep appliance thermometers in the freezer and fridge. The numbers you want to see are 0 degrees Fahrenheit or below in the freezer and 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower in the fridge. When in doubt, use a food thermometer to take the temperature of individual food items.
Looking to stretch the time your food will stay cold? Wrap the freezer or refrigerator in sleeping bags. Wrap the appliance as best as you can and refrain from opening them unless you need to. When you do take food, use them as much as you can for that particular day.
When time’s running out, use the food stocked in your freezer or fridge. Fire up a non-electric outdoor grill and whip up a delicious feast. Also, go ahead and consume that ice cream you were saving. After all, you need to keep cool during summer – especially when there’s a heatwave.
- Assemble a Disaster Kit
A disaster kit will help you survive an unfortunate and extended power outage. This kit should contain the following items:
- Water for drinking and sanitation (one gallon per individual per day for several days)
- Non-perishable food (at least a three-day supply)
- Mobile phone with backup batteries and chargers
- Battery-powered radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone notification
- Whistle (to signal for help)
- Manual can opener (for food)
- First aid light
- Invest in a Backup Generator
Power outages are more serious for some businesses and households than others. This is especially true for individuals who are running their business out of a home office, as well as those who are medically dependent on electricity to maintain critical health care systems.
If necessary, consider purchasing an automatic backup generator. This will make sure that your home will still have power even if the entire neighborhood loses theirs.
- Find Things to Keep You Occupied During a Power Outage
Things can get boring when the power is out in your home. If you’re feeling bored during a blackout, do activities that will make you happy and comfortable. You could, for instance, read a book, play a board game with other members of the family and play cards.
- Come up with an Evacuation Plan
If staying in your home during a blackout is no longer a good idea, you’ll need to hit the road. Just make sure that you do this at the right time. If a wildfire or hurricane is heading toward your area, evacuate promptly.
Have a plan on where you will go in an emergency. You could, for instance, stay at your friend’s house in the next city. Once you’re ready to roll, grab everything you need and drive to your intended destination.
A power outage during summer can be difficult. You can, however, minimize discomfort and stay sane by following these six tips.