Blackouts are no fun, especially when they extend beyond a few hours. No household wants to experience a blackout in the height of winter, especially with no preparation. It may seem like it isn't something you need to think about, but it can happen anywhere, at any time. Bad weather especially is a huge power outage risk in certain areas. In the US, 70% of power outages are caused by bad weather, often in the winter when huge snow storms come in. In Australia, blackouts are more likely to occur in the hottest months due to the way energy supply is set up. In the UK, power outages are a lot less likely but are becoming a lot more frequent because of increasing demands on decreasing power supplies.
Are you prepared for a power outage in your area?
Even the most modernized areas are at risk of blackouts, and all homes should be prepared for the power outage. Even a short loss of power can cause problems in households with smallholdings and equipment that relies on power. Egg incubators, meat refrigerators, milking machinery, computer systems - it doesn't take long to think about how detrimental a power loss could be too many different living setups.
So, What Is A Power Outage?
When you have a power outage, you may be without power for a few hours, days or weeks depending on how extreme the situation is. It commonly happens because of the power system or equipment has failed. System failure can occur because of a disruption in how the power is supplied, or because of extreme weather events or temperature changes. Equipment failure occurs when any of the physical or digital parts of the power supply fail or become damaged and so, electric remains off until that is fixed. Power outages can occur for a multitude of other reasons such as criminal damage, cyber attacks, electromagnetic storms and even in some cases, simple human error.
What To Expect When The Power Goes Out
Losing power for a few hours is unlikely to highlight much other than how much you miss the internet when the WiFi is off. That is unless you have equipment that needs constant electricity supplies like egg incubators. However, when the outage goes on for longer you will notice a loss or disruption in:
- Phone charging points
- Cooking equipment
- Refrigeration & freezing
- Medical facilities
- Supermarket offerings
The amount of disruptions a loss of power causes tends to get worse the longer the power is off because it becomes harder and more complex to recover from the damage that has been done.
How To Prepare For A Blackout
First and foremost, it is important to be positive as much as you can. Panicking or being negative about what has happened will only delay your ability to cope well with the situation. It might get stressful, especially if you do have equipment that relies on electricity, and if you have a family that relies on their technology, but a positive attitude will go a long way to making the best of the outage.
In order to best prepare yourself for this situation, and to feel more confident in your ability to cope with a power outage, consider setting up the following:
Create A Special Storage Area
For any special equipment or supplies, you should have a storage area you can get to by candlelight, or if needs are, completely in the dark. Somewhere in the home you could safely get to and open without needing to be able to see everything in bright light. This area should also be dry and ideally remain in one climate.
Have Supplies Ready
You will want to have supplies ready that could last you around a fortnight. Food, water, toilet paper, matches and even fuel for gas cooking equipment and other tools that rely on fuel. You may also want to keep medicine and tablets in case you are unable to get to a supermarket or pharmacy. This YouTube video on the top 10 things you need to be comfortable during a blackout is really useful to help you get some ideas of what to store.
Have Special Equipment & Tools Ready
There are things that are not reliant on electricity you could have on standby in case the power does go out for a while. Torches, for example, provide a safer light source than candles. A generator Adelaide has many great stockists if you are in Australia, or visit your nearest specialist store. Generators can provide essential power for charging items and to keep things like fridges and other equipment running if you need to. A small camping stove, candles, and firewood will all be useful in the event of a blackout. This YouTube video on the best tech to buy for a blackout is a useful place to start.
Have A Plan
A blackout plan is a good idea in any area, although areas prone to long blackouts or bad weather should have a well-thought-out plan in place. If you're rural you may want to speak to neighbors so you know in the event of a blackout you can rely on each other for support and help. Plan where you will go, how you will ration supplies, how you will stay warm and have a good understanding of how long you can last without aid.
If you have a specialist setup with animals or you have special needs family members or any dependency on specialist equipment, you should have a special backup plan for a blackout.
The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today - H. Jackson Brown Junior
Extreme weather is occurring more often than it used to, and there are many well-known power outages throughout history that have impacted thousands if not millions of people. When you have a power outage, you'll thank yourself for preparing in advance for it. The more prepared you are, the more comfortable the blackout will be. With prior planning, you'll easily ride it out until the electricity is back on and you can get back to your day to day life.