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Preparing for a Winter Power Outage

Posted On: Nov 06, 2013

Winter weather can be severe. In addition to the occasional blizzard, there is the perpetual cold and frozen environment that seems to affect everything. One of the worst events in the winter is a power outage. Whether brought on by a severe storm or just a failed transmitter or other system problem, an outage in the cold of winter is a major inconvenience and can be dangerous if prolonged too long. While our dependency on power seems to have no end, it is always worthwhile to have a contingency plan for when the supply runs out–even temporarily. Having a contingency heat plan is especially important in the winter. Unless you have a fireplace, the most you can really do without power is load up on warm clothing and blankets and get the power company on the phone.

Preparation for a power outage during the winter really just comes down to basic preparedness for any adverse conditions. Keeping emergency food and water, as well as blankets, batteries, flashlights, lanterns, matches, and first aid kits always constitutes good home preparedness. The real concern here is not just that the power is out and you might not be able to heat your home or cook, but that you are self sustaining enough to withstand adverse conditions for a prolonged period of time. Taking the time to prepare for a winter power outage is a good place to begin a larger home emergency preparedness plan.

The primary concern during a winter power outage is the conservation of heat. This means making sure openings around doors and windows are sealed and avoiding opening the door outside too much. You want to keep the warm air inside as much as possible. Determining the source of the outage is obviously important. During a winter storm, downed power lines or disrupted transmitters can cause a failure in neighborhoods. Check to see that your neighbor’s power is down as well. If it is just your house, you may have a blown fuse and should determine what went wrong and address it as soon as possible. Barring a severe electrical problem, you should be able to recover power within a few hours and no longer than a day. In the meantime, stay warm, hydrate, and keep your body temperature up.