If you've ever been in the midst of a power outage, then you already know that preparedness is key to getting through it. That's why it's important to take the time to formulate a plan now so that you know exactly what to do in the event one happens in the future. Almost always unexpected, power outages can be caused by everything from severe weather—storms, lightning, heat, ice, and heavy snow—to malfunctioning equipment at your local electrical plant. "Even if the weather is clear, increased energy usage can put added stress on the utility grid and cause a power outage," says Karl Lederman, General Manager of Service and Field Operations at Power UP.
How, exactly, does one better prepare for the possibility of a citywide power outage? We asked Lederman for advice on what to do.
Have an Emergency Kit Ready
Make no mistake about it, Lederman says an emergency kit is crucial to surviving a citywide power outage. "Create a location in the house to have emergency kit items readily available at a moment's notice," he says. Already assembled kits can be purchased or you can easily create your own. Here's what Lederman recommends to include: A first aid kit, blankets, water, non-perishable food items, a radio, a portable USB battery power source (for cell phones), a tool kit, and battery-powered light sources.
Lighting Is Essential
With all the advancements in LED technology, Lederman says having reliable temporary lighting sources, like LED flashlights and lanterns, handy during a power outage is easier than ever—and much safer than lighting candles. "Be sure to have enough temporary light for all the rooms where you will be waiting out the outage," he says. "You also want ones that can be hand-carried from room-to-room or outside. Candles are also a possibility, but require added supervision during use."
Formulate a Plan with Your Family
Once you have an emergency kit and temporary sources of light secured, Lederman says the next step in being prepared for a power outage is to discuss a plan with your family. "Make sure everyone knows where the emergency kit is located and what room to congregate in," he says. "[This will] help keep stress levels down—particularly for younger children—in the event one happens."
Have Distractions Handy
The only thing worse than being stuck at home without electricity, is having nothing to do. "Have reading material or games to pass the time and help keep stress levels down," Lederman says. "The utility company will do their best to get power back on as quickly as possible. They prioritize repairs that get the greatest number of users on line, so if your outage also includes a localized issue in your neighborhood, it may take longer for them to get to that."