Losing power for a day or two is usually manageable, but are you prepared for a severe weather event that knocks out power for days?
We’ve compiled tips, including some from a survivalist who lives in North Carolina, about how to handle an extended power outage.
The first thing you want to do when the power goes out is turn off your breakers to the A/C, furnace and items like your water heater, computers and television.
If the temperatures drop, layer up – wool blankets are a good choice. And pick the warmest room in the house for sleeping.
Ken Youngquist of survivaltek.com has a simple and unique way to heat up a small space. Grab a roll of toilet paper, a coffee can, and some isopropyl alcohol.
Light it and set it on a safe surface like an oven door -- make sure you have some ventilation by opening a window until you extinguish your heat source.
Items pictured here that might come in handy include flashlights, lighters, water bottles, lanterns and canned food, among other things.
Youngquist also says “prayer candles” are good to have around, as they can last for a couple of days.
Lantern tea lights, oil lamps and even a can of Crisco with a wick made of a denim pant cuff can provide light and some heat.
“If you deal with fire, don't put anything over it that's going to get hot and catch fire,” Youngquist said. “And you don't really want liquids loose because if it spills, it spreads.”
Make sure you also have hand warmers. And if high tech is your thing, Don Pulsfort of Great Outdoor Provision Co. says Down alternative sleeping bags can keep you warm.
Another item to have around? A hand-cranked lantern.
Meanwhile, solar battery chargers can be used to charge phones or tablets, Pulsfort said.
Water filtration devices can help clean unsafe water. Some water devices take only one minute to kill biological hazards including viruses.
As for food, dehydrated food can be bought by the bucket. The one pictured here can feed a family of four for a week.
Youngquist suggests using an inverter to charge phones and computers from your car.
Meanwhile, cooking food from your freezer and fridge outdoors can save you money. No grill? No problem. Make your own.
Youngquist has a fire tripod in his survivalist gear – easy to make out of sturdy branches. Then he uses birch bark to build a campfire.
Never use your grill inside, and always have a bucket of water ready just in case the fire gets out of hand. Finally, let’s check out some other items you should keep ready for a power outage.
First aid kit: If you already have one, double check the contents and update expired items.
Batteries: Check the electronic devices in your kit and stock a few extra batteries for those devices.
Medications: A seven day supply is recommended for all daily medical items.
Tools: Locate and ready any tools that may be needed for quick fixes.
Fill up the car: In the event of an extended power outage, gas stations will also be off line.
Cash: Even in the electronic age, cash works and will be needed if credit card readers are down.
Radio: Be sure to have a powered or hand-cranked radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible).
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