The prospect of a power outage is among the top concerns Canadian homeowners have during the wintertime. Of course, as energy-dependent as we all are as a society, losing power is never a pleasant thing. However, in winter, when the temperatures can drop far below freezing, and dusk comes as early as 5pm, the loss of power can compromise both comfort and safety.
Unfortunately, no one can predict when the power will fail; however, there are steps that you can take to ensure that you and your household are as prepared as possible.
A Standby Generator
The absolute best way to prepare your household for seasonal power outages is by having a standby generator installed. A standby generator isn’t the same as a portable generator that you might pick up at your local home improvement store. This type of generator needs to be installed by a qualified electrician. Standby generators pack anywhere between 20 – 22 kilowatts of power. By contrast a heavy duty portable generator come it at around 1,800 watts.
There are a couple of essential communication devices that you should always have on hand in case of a power failure or other emergency situations. The first is a phone charger that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter. This is especially important if you don’t have a landline phone.
If you do have a landline phone (not internet based), be sure to have a corded phone stashed somewhere in your home, since cordless phones are not usually functional without a powered base.
Another extremely important item to have is a battery-powered radio (with charged batteries). Not only will it help you pass the time, but it allows you to hear important updates and announcements.
Power-Free Cooking Vessels
Keep your home stocked the ingredients and tools that will allow you to eat meals that don’t require any power. Not only does this mean canned goods, but it can also mean picking up cooking vessels that don’t need to be plugged in. Chaffing dishes and fondue pots (with PLENTY of fuel) can all be put to use during a power outage. Use these vessels to warm milk for children or to make cocoa, scramble eggs in them, heat soup, or prepare other easily heated meals.
Camp stoves and barbecues are also valuable to have on-hand. However, be sure to always use them outdoors!
Lastly, always have an emergency kit stocked with survival essentials. These items include a flashlight (with fresh batteries) for every member of the household, camp lantern (with batteries), extra blankets, warm socks, hats and extra mittens or gloves. Also include canned foods, preserved proteins like jerky, a multi-tool, a deck of cards or a set of dominoes, coloring books, and crayons.