Losing power is a frightening proposition. Wandering around in the dark with no information. How long will it last? Is my family okay? How will I get news about the outage? While we can’t control the weather, we can control how prepared we are for all possible outcomes. There are easy things that we can do to prepare for a power outage. You may already have or do many of these things for your everyday life.
The FCC and FEMA have recommended a few tips to prepare you and your home:
Get old school with a good old-fashioned landline and a written or printed contact list. Both FEMA and the FCC recommend that households keep a corded phone in case of emergencies. Cordless phones that let you wander through the house don’t count. It should be a touch tone, corded phone that plugs directly into the phone jack. Additionally, keep a cable that allows your computer to plug directly into your home’s Internet jack. Just because the power is out, it doesn’t necessarily mean the Internet is down. Wireless routers won’t work, but if you plug your laptop directly into the Internet jack, you may be able to connect.
Get cranking. Do you have a weather radio on hand? If not, you should. They typically are battery operated and even have a hand crank, so if you have a supply of batteries and some elbow grease, you’ll always have the latest information. Some radios have a lot of bells and whistles like phone chargers; you decide how fancy you want to get. NOAA suggests that this should be a standard item in every household.
Put it on ICE. Always maintain an up to date ‘In Case of Emergency’ contact on your cell phone. Label it ‘ICE’ in your contacts. Input the information of someone whom you can count on in the event that you are injured or unable to use your phone. Rescue personnel are trained to typically check your phone for this contact if the patient is unable to communicate. Oh, and be sure to tell the person you have chosen that they are your ‘ICE’.
Take to social media. FEMA and the FCC recommend that you text, email and use social media for communication. Voice lines often get congested and become unavailable due to high volume. Twitter has become a great source for very localized information during a hurricane, power outage or disaster. Additionally, government officials have been known to relay emergency information via Twitter and Facebook. Don’t forget - extend your cell phone battery life by turning down your screen’s brightness and closing all apps not being used. Also, purchasing a solar charger is a great way to recharge your cell phone during a power outage.
We can’t guarantee that all these tips will work all the time, but by being prepared, you increase your chances of weathering the storm with information and some peace of mind.