With the recent devastation in Houston from Hurricane Harvey, many North Carolinians are starting to think forward to the Fall and the possibility of more hurricanes heading up the East Coast. While we in Raleigh tend to be fairly sheltered from the majority of the brutality and flooding that can come from major storms, we can often suffer from power outages lasting days or even weeks after a storm.
Being prepared for an extended outage can make suffering through one more bearable – not to mention cheaper. By keeping a few things on hand, knowing how long supplies will last, and keeping current with the news you can ride out the next power outage easily.
Buy Extra Batteries, a Radio, and Flashlights – Not Candles
Battery operated appliances like flashlights and radios will be very helpful during an outage, so it’s best to keep extra supplies on hand. Though it can be very romantic to use candles when the power is out, using multiple candles to light your house creates a greater risk for a fire. Battery powered flash lights and lanterns are a much safer option.
Keep Your Fridge and Freezer (and Grill) Prepared
You’ve probably heard that you should keep your refrigerator closed during a power outage to maintain the seal and keep your food from spoiling – but how long will your food last with the seal? An unopened refrigerator will only keep the food cold for four hours. A full, unopened freezer, on the other hand, will keep its temperature for 48 hours.
You can also prepare the freezer by filling gallon Ziploc bags with water and placing them in the freezer beforehand – they will freeze and will help keep the freezer cool when the power goes out. Additionally, getting several coolers and filling them with ice is an alternative option for the food in your refrigerator, so that you don’t have to throw it out once the cool air runs out.
If you have a grill, make sure to keep charcoal or propane on hand – it’s the easy way to cook meals while the power is out, and it allows you to easily cook and prepare any meat that thaws after 48 hours.
Disconnect All Your Appliances – Yes, ALL of Them
Your appliances could be at risk when a power outage occurs – electronics, appliances, and anything that plugs into an outlet. There’s no risk while the power is off, but there is a risk of a power surge when the power comes back on. We’ve talked before about power surges and power surge protection, but to reiterate, there is no such thing as 100% surge protection. Unplugging your valuable electronics once the power goes out will protect them from being ruined when the power comes back on.