Preparing For A Power Outage

September 16, 2016 (Medford, MA)

Last night South Medford suffered a widespread power outage. Homes, streetlights, businesses all went dark. I had the opportunity to be in Tufts Square and pulled over to see how complete the blackout was. When I stopped at the CVS on Broadway in Somerville's Magoun Square I learned from the cashier on duty that it turned into one of their busiest nights in a long while. I was told that they had a run on batteries and candles as well as lighters and matches.

This really got me thinking about how few people are really prepared for such emergencies. We were lucky that the power outage only lasted for a few hours. There were twitter messages and social media posts from those outside the affected area and on the outer edges who had mobile service but many right in the middle had no mobile service. We lucked out that the weather was mild. In extreme heat or cold it could prove quite dangerous though. 

 The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has guides for power outages on it's site, you can find it here. Do you have an emergency kit and an emergency plan? Events like last nights power outage once resolved makes for a good opportunity to learn. What types of things did you find you were missing? Below I'll make an Amazon list of items, many of the items can also be found at your local hardware store, grocery store or other big box store. 

One item that isn't on the MEMA site is a new invention that will begin shipping in December of 2016. It's called Beartooth. Beartooth is a technology that will allow 2 smartphones to communicate with each other up to 10 miles apart. It is a pair of small devices that will allow you to send and receive text and voice messages. Many house phones today are internet run and those will be unavailable in the case of a power outage in addition to losing mobile cell service. If you have FiOS you will still be able to make *911 calls due to the battery backup in their equipment for a certain period of time. (Note: I am NOT an investor or receiving any compensation from Beartooth, I am in no way associated with the company.)

Emergency Items:
Batteries for flashlights and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors (change annually)
Ice Packs & Cooler (for medicine that needs to be kept cool)
Camp stove/grill plus fuel for it (propane, butane, charcoal)
Candles & candle holders (safety type to avoid fires)
Fire Extinguisher (Type A, B, C) for household and cooking 
Water (1-2 gallons per person per day minimum) pouches or containers or Filtration kit for longer periods
Bleach for sanitizing of water
72 hours worth of food for each person in household. Canned goods, dried foods either ready to eat or to be cooked outdoors.
Medicine and supplies to last at least 72 hours
Sturdy knife, scissors, saw/axe (learn how to use)  - for heavier cutting
Playing cards/board games/books especially if children are part of household
Backpacks in case evacuation is needed for longer term outages
Toilet paper (you'd be surprised how many people lack a good supply of this and how important it can become)
Important documents/ID's/Cash (ATM's may not work)
Personal & Laundry Soaps for longer outages

Items to consider:
Learn where the electrical, gas, oil shut-offs are for your property
How to operate the manual garage door opener
Instant read thermometer to check status of frozen food to make sure it's safe to eat or keep after
How to operate your fire extinguisher
Practice evacuation drill on how to exit the property in multiple ways in the case of fire

The Amazon links above are for illustrative purposes only, I do not get any compensation for them or any of the products linked. 

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