How to Prepare Your Home for Blackouts

In my younger days, every time the power went out, I’d kick myself for not being better prepared. The kids would scream for me from wherever they were in the house. I’d conduct a frantic search for flashlights only to discover the batteries were dead or missing.

Do you know how hard it is to search your home in the dark? It’s amazing the number of things that feel like a battery when it’s pitch black! I’d find myself doing this ninja in the dark search almost every time and I’d swear next time I’d be ready. But the lights would come back on after several minutes or hours and life’s other obligations would take over. Like so many other people getting prepared took a backseat to life.

Then, came the blackout in August of 2003. No storm, just intense heat and the power went off in the middle of the afternoon all over Northeast Ohio. Determined not to be without lights overnight, I dragged the kids to the drug store two blocks away for ice, flashlights, and batteries. A security guard with a flashlight was escorting people through the store one at a time. The computers weren’t working and cashiers were only accepting cash so if you didn’t have cash, you were out of luck.

The line to get in the store when we came back out with our supplies was already around the block and I heard the security guard tell people waiting that the store was closing. Had I not gone to the store immediately, we would have had no ice, flashlights, or batteries. As it turns out, the power outage that time lasted two more days for us and up to a week for others in our area. When the power finally came back on, I was even more determined to be ready for future blackouts. Here’s how I did it:

Create a Family Power Outage Plan

Strategically store flashlights and other alternative light sources throughout the house so everyone has immediate access to light. During a power outage or blackout, you’d be amazed at how disorienting it can be to walk in the dark, even in your own home. Without that nightlight in the hall or the light that shines in from the street light outside, your home is pitch black! The potential to trip and fall or run into something multiplies tenfold in the dark.

If you have younger children, it’s a good idea to store a glow stick near their beds. Show them how to activate it, and instruct children to stay in their beds or rooms during a power outage until you come to get them. Give older children, ten years and up a hand crank flashlight or a fully charged headlamp to store near their bed.

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