If you follow me on Facebook, you know that we lost our power for 4 days. Not so fun, and very unexpected. What was supposed to be a thunderstorm, turned into a derecho storm. The strong winds brought down a lot of trees and power lines in our area.
If you’ve been a reader here for a while, you may remember that in the fall we lost power for 5 days from a hurricane. Most of the time though, if we lose power, it’s back on within 24 hours.
Yvonne commented on my Facebook post that she would love to hear strategies for coping with these situations. We have learned a lot about dealing with power outages over the past several years, so I thought I would pass along some tips. Being as prepared as you can be helps a lot. Some of these are in the obvious category, but I’ll include them anyway.
Also, when our power goes out, we also lose our running water from our well, so I’ve included a few tips related to this issue as well.
1. Fill old juice/soda bottles with water, and then keep them in the freezer.
This first tip is one from my mom. I’m putting it first because I want to make sure I remember to do this! I think it would have really helped us. It’s like having your own ice blocks handy. These can also be moved to a cooler, if needed.
Have at least one per floor/living area or per person. We also have a worklight just like this Cooper Lighting LED120 35 LED Rechargeable Worklight (see the picture at the top of the post). It can act as a regular flashlight or act as an area light. It has a magnet clip and stays on the side of our refrigerator until we need it.
3. Save the power outage reporting phone number for your power company in your cell phone.
This makes it easy to report the outage quickly and get outage updates.
4. Have at least one cooler to help keep important food cold, or to transport food to another location.
If you can afford one and have the space, this would be great to have. We don’t have one, but several of our neighbors do. We do have an extra-long outdoor extension cord and have plugged our sump pump into a kind neighbor’s generator to keep our basement from flooding.
6. Have extra batteries for flashlights and radios.
We also have this Black & Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter with Built-In Air Compressor. It’s basically a portable battery pack that we mostly use for my husband’s CPAP machine (for sleep apnea), but it is also great for charging cell phones and laptop computers. It will only last us about one night, though, without needing to be recharged.
7. Grill (and propane tanks/charcoal)
Cook your food before it goes to waste!
8. Extra gas for cars (or don’t let cars be on empty)
When the power outage is widespread, like it was for us this time, getting gasoline can be a challenge! Most gas stations were closed in our area, so the few that were open had crazy lines and wait times, and were running out of gas themselves.
9. Have canned food and can opener on hand
10. A safe heat source
We don’t usually lose our power in the winter, but when we do, I’m glad we have a wood burning fireplace.
11. Find a friend or family member with power!
When we lost our power in the fall, the weather was nice, so we stuck it out here at the house for 4 of the 5 days before staying at a friend’s house. We did catch a shower and recharge batteries/cell phones at another friend’s house before that. This time around, we were having hot, hot, 100 degree weather, so after the first day, we stayed with some out of town friends, plus one night at my parent’s house after they got their power back. We feel very blessed to have wonderful friends and family!
Losing running water due to power outage
1. Fill the tub with water
When I know a bad storm is coming and we might lose power, I start filling the tub. This water can be used to manually flush the toilets.
2. Keep extra water on hand
There are lots of recommendations about how much to keep. We usually only keep about 2 gallons, plus I fill some other containers when I know a bad storm is coming. Edit: When we know a really bad storm is coming, we store more water (10+ gallons).
3. Paper plates, napkins, cups, plastic forks/spoons, etc.
It’s hard to do lots of dishes when you don’t have running water.
4. Have baby wipes, antibacterial hand wipes, and hand sanitizer available.
Especially in the bathroom!
I’m not an expert on this topic. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned from experience. Do you lose your power very often? Do you have any tips to share?
This post contains affiliate links.