Your blackout preparation guide: What do you really need?
When dealing with a frigid forecast, most people think of wearing extra layers under their winter coats or adding an extra blanket and flannel sheets to their beds, but there is actually a lot more to consider when expecting a blast of arctic temperatures.
In December and again a few weeks ago, thousands of Michigan households went without power because of the below-freezing temperatures, ice and snow. As the mercury drops again this week and weekend, it is important to prepare yourself and your family for a power outage. How to do that? With advice from the American Red Cross, we compiled a list of items to keep at the ready.
- An emergency generator They can be pricey, but getting power up on your own can make a huge difference if you rely on electric heat or if a family member requires electric-powered, life-sustaining equipment.
- One gallon of water per person, per day If pipes freeze, these will become necessary very quickly.
- Non-perishable food and easy-to-prepare items Think peanut butter, whole-wheat crackers, nuts and trail mixes.
- Flashlight Candles can be risky, so double-check that the batteries in your flashlight are fresh.
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio Get an NOAA Weather Radio, if possible.
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit
- A 7-day supply of any medications
- Family and emergency contact information Most people don’t have phone numbers memorized, but if your cell phone dies, you’ll need the numbers to be accessible.
- A non-cordless telephone A phone that plugs into a jack is likely to work even when the power is out.
- Extra blankets and board games A blackout presents a unique opportunity to spend quality time with family without distracting electronics, so make sure you stock up on things that can keep everyone entertained.
Photo credit: Jer Kunz