Remember when you were a kid and the power went out? Fun! Candles, flashlights, and kerosene lamps! Maybe you pitched a blanket tent in the living room and told ghost stories, while Mom rustled up some crackers and peanut butter.
Now as an adult, when the power goes out other things may be on your mind. First and foremost: How long is this going to last and am I prepared?
With temperatures beginning to drop, especially overnight, a power outage in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, or Massachusetts can cross over from a mildly inconvenient adventure into an unpleasant situation pretty quickly. Preparing for an outage can make a big difference.
If you have a portable generator—great! But, remember; never use a portable generator indoors or in an enclosed space.
Even if you do have a generator (and definitely, if you don’t), now is a good time to look at a Power Outage Checklist and assemble some essentials to have ready. The no-brainers are flashlights with fresh batteries or self-powered flashlights, candles and matches/lighter, non-perishable food, can and bottle openers, a first aid kit, and fresh water (a gallon per person, per day.) Other ways to prepare include:
- Have a full tank of gas in your car.
- Have a car charger for your mobile devices, allowing you to stay up-to-date on news, and in touch with friends and family. (If you use your car to charge devices, make sure the car is in a well-ventilated space.)
- Subscribe to text weather alerts from reliable sources.
- Keep a physical list of emergency, family, and work contacts. If your mobile phone dies, and you can reach a working landline, you’ll be able to reach the people you need to.
Beyond safety and convenience, other considerations revolve around kids, pets, and elderly neighbors or family. You want to be sure kids feel safe and protected. Have some books (and book lights), puzzles, board or card games available that everyone can play. (The power is going to run down on their iPad eventually!) Try to locate your child’s special blanket or stuffed animal.
If there’s enough warning, invite elderly relatives or friends to ride out the storm with you. If the power goes out, everyone will feel a little safer under one roof.
Be sure pets are sheltered with ample food and water. (Pets can also be a comfort to children who may be uneasy during a power outage at home.)
And don’t forget, a blanket tent in the living room is still a lot of fun!