Blackouts can be incredibly stressful, even if you have been through them many times. Losing power robs us of our daily comforts and essentials, including everything from entertainment to refrigerating perishable foods.
Without following the proper steps, you may find a summer power outage far more disruptive than it needs to be.
Summer power outages have become more common due to ageing infrastructure and more severe weather conditions worldwide. Typically a summer power outage occurs when demand outstrips supply or when some natural disaster, such as a heatwave, puts extreme pressure on the electricity grid.
Insufficient fossil fuel supply to meet power plant demand is expected to cause more blackouts in Australia, and as the climate continues to grow hotter, summer blackouts seem practically inevitable in the near future.
Here’s what you can do to prepare for a summer power outage — whether it’s a few days or even a few weeks.
Read this guide and be prepared.
How Do I Prepare for a Long-Term Power Outage in Summer?
Spiking summer temperatures can lead to more frequent and longer-lasting blackouts that can affect your home, health, and public safety. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be ready.
Here are the most important steps you can take to prepare.
Invest in Solar or Other Backup Power Supply
A power outage prevents you from accessing electricity from the grid, but that doesn’t mean you have to go without power entirely. Invest in backup sources like the DELTA portable power stations to store electricity off-grid. Portable power stations keep energy in reserve that you can use to run and charge your devices and appliances when the power goes out.
If you want to scale up your energy independence, you can also consider clean, renewable energy solutions like the DELTA solar generators. Solar generators use solar panels to generate energy from sunlight and then store the electricity in a solar battery. It’s a reliable alternative power source for hot summer days when you have longer hours of direct sunlight.
An extended outage calls for a power station or solar generator with a higher-capacity battery. The options run from as low as 288Wh to charge small electronics to as much as 25kWh for powering an entire home, including electronics and appliances.
Stock Up on Water
Although running water should still be accessible during a power outage, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Power outages can impact water treatment facilities, which require electricity, and affect household appliances such as disinfection systems, water heaters, wastewater pumps, and more. An outage can increase contamination risks and water shortage, so you might not want to run your water during a blackout.
A supply of clean bottled water is a prerequisite for blackout preparedness. You could also keep your bathtub filled with water or consider purchasing a specialised water storage container for this particular purpose. Ideally, you should have two gallons of water per person per day for at least two weeks. Staying hydrated is essential.
Consider Your Food Supply
Your freezer might be full, but what happens to all that food once the power goes out? It will start to defrost quickly and ultimately become inedible.
Food inside a refrigerator will generally only last for about four hours without electricity to keep it cool, whereas food in a freezer could last up to two days (provided the door stays closed).
The risks of food spoiling are why it’s best to stock canned foods that don’t require refrigeration or freezing. You can also look at MREs or camping foods that only need hydration, but those options require you to use water that may be in short supply.
Along with an adequate food supply, stock the tools you’ll need to prepare it, like a can opener, a small propane-powered camping stove, etc.
Fill Up the Medicine Cabinet
If you have regular drug prescriptions that you rely on for your health, it may be worthwhile arranging with your pharmacist or relevant medical professional for an extra supply. If this is prohibited due to the nature of the medication, you may still be able to arrange additional delivery in particular circumstances (such as during a long-term power outage).
Some medications require refrigeration. Keep this in mind for when the lights come back on.
It’s not just pharmaceuticals that are important to consider here. If you use a CPAP machine or oxygen tank that relies on electricity, you need to think ahead. It’s another reason why a portable power station can be a lifesaving resource.
Plan Ahead for How to Stay Cool
A power outage during summer means the air conditioning could go out. Not having AC means temperatures in your home could rise quickly, which is not only uncomfortable but could prove harmful to your health.
Plan ahead with battery-powered fans (or portable air conditioners), lightweight clothing, and plenty of water. Ensuring you stay hydrated is vital when trying to keep cool.
Create an Emergency Preparation Kit
Preparation is key to enduring any emergency, and a power outage is no different. Think ahead of time about what you may need during a blackout, and keep these items securely tucked away as a kit. Some essential items include:
- A first-aid kit
- Non-perishable foods
- Can opener
- Extra batteries
These are just some suggestions. Depending on your personal needs and where you are, you may add many other items to your kit. Climate can significantly determine what your kit looks like and what essentials you need. For example, you might opt for a warm blanket rather than a handheld fan. Summer isn’t always scorching hot, especially at night, so keep an eye on the weather forecast.
Use No-Flame Light Sources
We all use power for our lighting, which can leave us feeling pretty helpless when it goes out. Your instinct might be to start lighting candles, but this isn’t a great idea.
Candles pose a significant fire risk, so you should never leave them unattended. If possible, opt for no-flame light sources, such as battery-powered flashlights, LED lights, or glow sticks.
Stay Connected to Emergency Broadcasting
Much of our communication relies on electricity, whether to charge a smartphone or run a wi-fi router, television, or radio. But these technologies can go out the window during a power outage.
Blackouts are constantly unfolding events, meaning you need to stay updated with what’s happening in your area. The Australian Warning System warns the public about dangers such as natural disasters or widespread power outages. Authorities will use these channels to deliver essential announcements and update the public on issues such as evacuation.
Be sure you can stay connected and receive these alerts by using a battery-powered radio or charging your smartphone via a power station. These are two ways to ensure you know what’s happening at all times.
Frequently Asked Questions
The essential supplies to stockpile for an extended outage include the following:
• Clean drinking water
• Non-perishable foods (e.g., canned goods)
• First aid kit
• Portable power station
You should also make sure you have plenty of appropriate clothing for the climate where you live. Thin, breathable clothes are suitable for hotter areas, and thick blankets and jackets for colder regions.
By taking preparation seriously and reading this guide, you’re already taking the first necessary steps to survive a power outage. While blackouts aren’t always a matter of life and death, they can pose grievous health risks if you haven’t stocked up on water, food, or medication. Prepare with the steps outlined above, and you should manage just fine.
Put yourself in the best position to endure a power outage by following this guide. While a blackout will never be an enjoyable experience, you can certainly manage it effectively. You just need to think ahead.
Be prepared with a lasting supply of food, water, and medications. Consider backup electricity solutions like portable power stations and solar generators to keep the lights on even when the power goes out.