Ahhh, yes… the joys of “All-Electric Living”! They are truly wonderful… as long as you’ve got power. But let something happen to the electrical power that brings these wonders of convenience and utility and suddenly you and your whole family are severely inconveniences or possibly even in real dancer. Recent bad weather in much of North America are terrible proof that this is true.
But what, if anything, can be done to protect you and your family from power outages beyond your control? Is there really any way to winter-proof your home against the dangers of power outages?
The good news is that there are things you can do to be prepared… up to a point. Obviously the magnitude of the effect of winter power outages is dependant upon how long the power outages last. Let’s look as some practical steps you can take… assuming that civic authorities will take care of anything of greater magnitude.
The primary cause of winter power outages is ice-storms although wind storms, rain, and/or snow can also cause problems. Problems can come because of high loads placed on power supplies but that’s rare. Most problems are due to downed power lines. When this happens, your basic practical challenge is keeping warm and providing food for you and/or your family. Getting to work could be a problem too but you might not worry about that as much (unless you own your own business).
The solution is really pretty simple. You’ve just got to keep a store of emergency food. Keeping warm is less likely to be a problem because you can get by with just wearing more of the clothes you’ve already got.
Cooking and/or heating fuel could be a problem too. Depending on what fuels your cooking and heating systems, you should try to keep several days extra supply of fuel. If your home (or business) relies on heating oil delivered by a truck, you might be in for some unavoidable problems because of course you don’t have any control over that system. Lots of older homes still use heating oil.
For your home anyway… you can make temporary use of other types of heating…e.g. gasoline generation, natural gas, liquid propane, or (if you live out in the country) perhaps even natural wood.
If your family ever does have to endure a winter power outage, it goes without saying that it makes sense for everybody sleep together. If you have any pets, they’ll probably like that idea.
Your most critical commodity will always be water. It’s always a good idea to fill your bathtub at the first sign that you might have a power outage. Also be sure you’ve got plenty of emergency, battery operated lighting. And keep a battery operated radio handy too… so you can get citizen’s advisories.
The bottom line is that for most people there’s not a lot you can do about a winter power outage other than just cope with it. You need to protect your attitude as much as your body… and you do that by being prepared and knowing you’re prepared.