When there is severe weather, blackouts can occur at any time so it’s a good idea to know how to handle them.
First, be sure you have an emergency kit as well as several forms of alternative lighting. One must-have for every home is a power failure emergency light that gives you backup lighting for up to two hours. You should also have a variety of candles or lightsticks, flashlights and an emergency radio.
If you know a blackout is possible, fill plastic jugs with water and put them in the freezer. These can serve as extra ice to keep your frozen and refrigerated foods cold until the power comes back on. You should keep your refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible to keep them cold.
Refrigerated food will stay good for several hours and things in the freezer should be good for about a day. Most food that has been kept at over 40 degrees for two hours should be considered unsafe and be thrown away. For more guidelines on this, visit the University of Illinois Extension page on power outages.
Electronic equipment and appliances should be unplugged in a blackout, because possible power surges could damage the equipment. Leave one light turned on so you know when the power is back.
If you plan to use a generator, make sure it is UL listed and only kept outdoors. Do not run a generator in the house. Discuss a generator with a licensed electrician who will know about any permit requirements in your area.
People lived without electricity for centuries and we can do it today, too. Just take a few precautions and be prepared.