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What Happens When the Time to Prepare Is Over and There Is Nothing Available to Buy?

Monday, March 12, 2018 11:27
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When the power goes out due to a massive hurricane, storm, or any kinds of natural disasters, you should be prepared to live without power for at least a day or two, and possibly a few weeks. Before you’re sweating it out in candlelight, take a look at our blackout survival guide.

Power outages can be seriously obnoxious. No Internet, no TV, no lights. On top of that, they can be dangerous, especially in the cold. A prolonged outage is always a danger during a serious storm, no matter the kind. And while it might not happen, you always want to be prepared.

Have a Flashlight: If you haven’t done so already, go out and buy at least one small, inexpensive flashlight—one that takes 2 D cell or 2 AA batteries. If you already have a flashlight, swap in new batteries. Leave it standing on a book shelf, or on an easy-to-reach countertop so that you can get to quickly and safely in the dark.

Be Prepared to Empty the Fridge: A freezer packed with dry ice will stay cold for days, but it’s tough to find dry ice at the local corner store. So if you’ve been without power for more than four hours, start emptying the fridge now. Even if the power does come back soon, chances are your food won’t, and you don’t want to let food melt in the freezer or, even worse, rot in the appliance. Cleaning that up is not a mess you want to deal with.

Shut Down Your Appliances: If your power goes out, make sure you turn off your air conditioner or reset the thermostat so the air conditioner will not turn back on until you turn it on manually. When the power does turn back on, the combined load of thousands of air conditioner spooling up simultaneously can be enough to trip the grid again, starting another blackout. However, if everybody turned on their air conditioners individually, it would stagger the power demand on the grid. Every small bit of help counts during an emergency.

(Also, now’s a good time to unplug that circular saw you were using when the power went out.)

Learn “How To Bring Any Dead Battery Back To Life Again” Save Money And NEVER Buy A New Battery Again

Don’t Overdo AC: When you do turn an air conditioner back on, don’t set the thermostat lower than 78 F. This is good practice in general: Although it doesn’t seem very cool, the dehumidifying effect of air conditioning will make your house much more bearable, even at 78 F.

Use Passive Cooling: If the power goes out, open as many windows as possible, especially windows and vents in the attic and the upper floors. However, use shades on the sunny side of the house (south and west) to minimize solar heating. This is a good practice in warm months, even when you’ve got your AC cranking like a Pratt and Whitney turbofan.

Staying charged

Obviously the biggest hurdle you’ll face during a power outage is going to be lack of power. And keeping your phone/laptop/tablet charged isn’t just a matter of convenience, sometimes it’s your only two-way connection to the outside world.

The best solution, of course, is to be prepared. If you have battery packs or other sources of portable power, charge those suckers up. If you don’t, it’s all the more important to keep your gadgets topped off when a blackout’s impending. Make sure you don’t burn through half your battery playing Angry Birds only to have the lights go out as you’re reaching for a charger. And stock up on good old fashioned AAs and AAAs too. You might not be able to run your phone on them, but a AA-powered mini-flashlight is going to beat the hell out of wasting phone battery on illuminating the way to the bathroom at night.

If it’s too late to prepare, you’ve still got some options. Remember that your car—so long as it’s full of gas and reachable—is pretty much a giant gas-powered battery. With a cigarette-lighter adapter, you can charge up your gadgets with ease. But please, make sure the exhaust isn’t blocked.

With a little foresight and the right gadgets, you can milk all kinds of power directly from the car’s battery, so long as it holds out anyway. Likewise, it never hurts to get a 2-outlet lamp-socket so you can siphon sweet, sweet power from emergency lighting if for some reason it comes down to that.

Staying fed

This is all prep. Make sure you round up a bunch of canned goods before the storm hits. Unlike summer storms, you can stock up on frozen goods and keep ’em outside your door, but it’s important to remember you’ll have to heat them up. If you’ve got a gas stove, then lucky you. If not, keep in mind that things like boiling water might prove problematic. Hooray for lukewarm canned soup. But hey, at least you won’t starve. And if, by chance, you rely on an electric can opener: stop it. Get a real one.

Staying hydrated

Water water everywhere. Staying hydrated might not seem like that big of a deal since the emergency at hand involves a whole bunch of it falling from the sky in a conveniently non-flooding type form, but you can’t be too careful. You’ll want to have one gallon of drinking water per person per day. And on top of that, you’ll also need water for washing dishes, washing parts of yourself, and washing your excrement down the toilet.

Sure, melted snow can be a great source of water for this, but you’ll have to melt it. Obviously an electric stove won’t be much help there, and even if you’ve got a gas one, it’s best not to have to rely on it when you can just, you know, get more water ahead of time. Fill up that tub.

Staying occupied

Last and—let’s face it—probably least, you should make sure you have something to do. Board games and non-electronic books are always a good bet if you have lighting (which you should). A deck of cards can also go a long way. It’s also wise to prepare for conversation with whatever human beings may happen to be in the vacinity. Brush up on your small talk, or big talk.

Staying prepared

Just like getting through anything, getting through a power outage is 99 percent preparedness, so just take a cool five minutes to sit down and really think about what you’re going to need to accomplish, if and when the lights go out. So long as you’re not an idiot, you should get by just fine.

If you really got caught off guard, take this opportunity to learn from the mistake and assemble an emergency preparedness kit consisting of lighting, food, water, a first aid kit, tools and anything else you’ll need.



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