Winter is a season which many people eagerly look forward to. The first snow fall of the year is a time for excitement and celebration. Once winter has officially set in, it’s time for playing in the snow, watching the beauty of the world turn white, and keeping warm indoors with a warm cup of hot cocoa.
However, winter can have a more sinister side too, one which many people seem to overlook. If you have ever found yourself caught up in a bad winter storm, you know the extent of the damage that it can wreck. Winter storms can wipe out your power source and leave you in what is known as a winter blackout. During these events, you come to appreciate just how dependent you are on the electricity and everything it is responsible for running.
If a winter blackout drags on, it can be dangerous for numerous reasons. Here are a few tips on how to stay safe if you find yourself stuck in a winter blackout.
Make Sure Your Home is Equipped for a Blackout
This is arguably the most important thing you should be thinking about when winter starts approaching. Don’t allow yourself to brush off the possibility of a winter blackout and the adverse effects it can have. Not appreciating the risks in advance can result in you not being equipped to deal with an emergency should it present itself.
Making your home prepared for a winter blackout entails not only fortifying the physical structure of your home but also having all of the resources you might need in a blackout situation.
It is recommended that everyone should have an emergency preparedness kit in their home which is made especially for their specific requirements. For instance:
• If your alarm system in your home can run on batteries, be sure to always have spare batteries on hand
• If you have an electric garage, know how to open it manually. This may entail purchasing a tool which will help you open the garage
• Back up gas supplies
Some of the things that you should have in an emergency kit include:
• A radio
• Spare batteries
• Battery powered sensors (to keep your home safe from burglars)
• Non-perishable foods
• Relevant medications (such as painkillers)
• Can opener
• Drinking water
• Carbon monoxide detector (battery-powered)
Be Careful About Food
In a winter blackout your food supplies and food itself can be put at risk; when the fridges and freezers stop working, all of their contents will likely go bad. You also need to ensure that you have enough food for you and your family to be able to weather out the storm.
The key to ensuring that you have enough food to last through the blackout is to have a store of non-perishable food items in your home.
If you find yourself in the midst of a blackout, here is what you should be doing with regards to your refrigerator and freezer:
Open them as infrequently as possible to keep their contents cool for as long as possible
Be sure to consume the foods that were already in there first and quickly
Be sure to keep a vigilant eye out for food which may have spoiled in your fridge
If you want to preserve certain foods for longer consider moving them to coolers with ice
Find Ways to Stay Warm
Keeping warm is extremely important. Most homes are equipped with central heating and are therefore kept warm and comfortable during the winter months for their inhabitants. In the absence of power, your home can become a miserable cold cave.
That’s why it’s vital to conserve your body heat as much as possible. To stay warm you can:
Wear multiple layers of clothes such as sweaters and jackets
Bundle up with lots of blankets
Wear a hat because lots of heat is lost through the head
Always wear socks and gloves
Another way you can stay warm is by using your fireplace if you have one. Be careful when lighting the fire and be sure to employ proper fire safety techniques. Always keep a vigilant eye on the fire to ensure that it doesn’t get out of control. It is also very important to be aware about carbon monoxide poisoning and its harmful effects. Be careful when using anything that poses the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
It is also advisable to invest in a battery powered carbon monoxide detector.
Watch the Water
You can’t live without water and without power you’ll begin to see how much of a problem having access to water becomes. In your emergency preparedness kit be sure to include extra bottles of filtered water so that you have ample drinking water during the outage.
Without power, the water won’t be going through any filtration process and therefore won’t be treated for any harmful bacteria. Be sure to get in touch with your local water purification officials to determine what the best ways to treat water are in the event of a power outage.
Conserve Your Resources
One of the worst aspects about power outages in the winter is that repairing the damage can take a really long time. Oftentimes communities are without power for days on end and it’s unlikely that you’ll have any clear idea about how long the outage will last.
That’s why it’s important to use your resources wisely to ensure that you don’t run out. Be sure to use everything sparingly and keep a tab on what’s been used. This will give you an idea of when you should be tightening your fist with certain resources. Weathering a winter blackout is all about effective resource management.