When the Lights Go Down

When the Lights Go Down

By: Michael Kyllo-Kittleson

One thing I’d at least expect to happen during an end of the world crisis would be a major power outage and a lack of communication. So, how can you prepare for this? Here are some good tips; tips you can even utilize in situations not quite as drastic as the end of the world.

- Stock up on flashlights, candles, and oil lamp.

If the power goes out bye bye light! It’s best to stock up on all of these… and lots of extra batteries for the flashlights. Once the flashlights go (or candles, whatever you use first), it’s good to have another source of light – keep it shining as long as possible!

- Get your emergency supplies

  • Candles, minimum of four to five dozen.
  • Candle stick holders. In a pinch, I folded aluminum foil around the candle bases and wedged them into Sake cups.
  • Matches and disposable lighters.
  • Battery-powered space heater.
  • Flashlights and extra batteries.
  • Canned goods and dry food mixes. Check a camping store for food supplies.
  • Water and juices.
  • Extension cords long enough to reach your neighbor’s house.
  • Hand tools such as hammer, screwdriver and wood saw.
  • Seasoned firewood.
  • Water repellent tarps.
  • Extra blankets.
  • Paper plates, cups and plastic utensils.
  • First-aid kit
  • Fire Extinguisher

- Pack a Bag

Instead of stumbling around in the dead of night trying to pack, have something ready to go and easily assessable. Emergency supplies, general hygiene items, whatever!

- Watch your temperature

The CDC has tips and pointers to watch out for with your food when the power goes out.

  • For the freezer section: A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.
  • For the refrigerated section: Pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.
  • Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your food right before you cook or eat it. Throw away any food that has a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • My note about food: get a camp stove, propane stove so you can cook.

- Don’t stay thirsty friends!

Water is extremely important in everyday life but especially in an outage when panic, worry and anxiety might be elevated.

Here’s the CDC information on disinfecting water:

  • Filter it through a clean cloth, paper towel, or coffee filter OR allow it to settle.
  • Draw off the clear water.
    • When using household chlorine bleach:
      • Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops; about 0.625 milliliters) of unscented liquid household chlorine (5–6%) bleach for each gallon of clear water (or 2 drops of bleach for each liter or each quart of clear water). Add 1/4 teaspoon (or 16 drops; about 1.50 milliliters) of bleach for each gallon of cloudy water (or 4 drops of bleach for each liter or each quart of cloudy water.
      • Stir the mixture well.
      • Let it stand for 30 minutes or longer before you use it.
      • Store the disinfected water in clean, disinfected containers with tight covers.
    • When using iodine:
      • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
      • Store the disinfected water in clean, disinfected containers with tight covers.
    • When using chlorine dioxide tablets:
      • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
      • Store the disinfected water in clean, disinfected containers with tight covers.

- Know what is happening

Even though communication might and will probably be difficult invest in a crank operated radio in order to stay update with announcements and what not. Yes these do still exist, invest in one! It may seem unreal but cell phones can be unreliable.

- Make sure you can be independent

It’s a good idea to have some common sense know-how and general knowledge of basic survival skills. Know what you can and cannot eat in the great outdoors, know what to look for (bad water, bad food, bad plants), know how to create shelter or keep yourself warm/cool enough in your surroundings, etc. Might require some studying if you or someone in your “power outage party” doesn’t have these skills.

- Bring something to help everyone relax!

­Make sure you have some games or books or other sources of entertainment: card games,

Yahtzee, The Game of Life (is that too ironic?) Something that can be played and help ease anxiety and tensions is a great idea.

Here’s the link to the CDC’s page with lots of tips:
http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/poweroutage/needtoknow.asp

Photo Credit: Michael Kyllo-Kittleson