How to Create Your Own Home Energy Plan for Emergency Situations

This past winter may have been one of the coldest on record for quite a number of years. We managed to survive heavy snow, ice, some strong winds, and sub-zero temperatures. But, now that winter is gone the potential strong spring storms are upon us. These storms have the potential to unleash harsh weather that could cause power outages. Should a storm occur and which causes your electricity to go out for a long period of time, do you have a plan in place? Have you thought about the items you need to safely make it through an outage? If not, then now is the time. Here are a few things to consider:
1. Turn off the master breaker in your home prior to your electricity being restored to help eliminate potential power loads and fires until the electricity is re-energized.
2. Make sure to designate a home site where family members can gather in the event of an emergency.
3. Remember your elderly or disabled neighbors that may need your help during an outage.
4. In case of cold weather outside, keep a supply of firewood handy or any necessary supplies for wood burning stoves.
5. Keep the gas grill propane tank filled up. It can be used for cooking if you don’t have a gas stove.
6. Be sure to maintain emergency supplies in plastic storage container. Items to include are: flashlight, battery-powered radio, battery-powered clock, and extra batteries. All of these devices can be stored in the same container. You can also store a few candles and matches as a last resort, but these should not be your first choice as this does present a fire hazard. Keep another storage container for non-perishable foods and bottles water. It is recommended that you supply enough for your family for a period of three days, and be sure to include at least a gallon of water per day per family member. Don’t forget to store any baby food or pet food items as well, and a manual can opener may come in handy.
7. It always a good idea to keep an emergency first-aid kit nearby.
These are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about what might be needed when the power goes out. Storms are unpredictable at times and, depending on the severity, can wreak havoc on our electric grid. No matter how much preparation we make, strong winds are our worst enemy in a territory filled with densely wooded areas. Your electric cooperative works as safe and as fast as possible during outages, but some preparation on your part can help make the restoration process a little easy to handle.