Power outages: preparing you and your home

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The massive power outages last week provide us with a good example of the importance of being prepared.  Living in the Northeast it is always in the back of my mind to be ready for a storm as winter sets in (all to soon), I didn’t really think about the opposite corner of our nation in the same way until now.  

A place like San Diego doesn’t need to be concerned with two feet of snow, but they can lose power and during the hottest parts of the year keeping cool can be an issue.  Losing power anywhere can be a problem.  The summertime can be troublesome especially for those who are more susceptible to health problems.   It really brings home how much we rely on being able to cool our homes not only for comfort but also for our health.  

The latest power outage affected 6 million people on both side of the U.S. Mexican border.   Thankfully no one was hurt, but it did cause some to rethink their plans or lack of them.  This wasn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened.    

The country’s largest blackout of August 22, 2003, affected some 50 million people in Canada, and the U.S.  New York City Comptroller William Thompson estimated the economic impact of the blackout at $800 million to $1 billion in the city.

Some things worth keeping on hand no matter what time of year or where you are:

The American Red Cross recommends putting together a disaster preparedness kit some of it is below:

  • Water—one gallon per person, per day (3­day supply for evacuation, 2­week supply for home)
  • Food—non­perishable, easy ­to ­prepare items (3­day supply for evacuation, 2­week supply for home)
  • Flashlight
  • Battery ­powered or hand­ crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Medications (7­day supply) and medical items
  • Multi­purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket

There is more to this that can be added depending on where you live.   Even with all the great technology we have, now and then it fails us.  Having your home it in tip top shape can help with more than just comfort.  When it is properly air sealed and insulated it stays warm or cool, depending on the season, on its own for longer when the power fails.  Be prepared with a kit, and with your home. 

 FEMA image from Wikimedia commons

 

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