I tied the last bow to the fence and stepped back to admire our work.
“Our plan is perfect,” my uncle laughed, “as long as we have no wind for the rest of the Christmas season.”
Unfortunately, often there’s a lot more than wind battering our houses during the month of December.
Tis the season for electric candles in the windows, colored lights on the tree, and glittering ropes lining the driveway. The weeks leading up to Christmas often give rise to picturesque scenes across the world that glow, glitter, and flash. But what about when a winter storm knocks out all this Christmas cheer and sends us scurrying for the nearest candle?
Winter power outages can be a common occurrence, but it’s better to be prepared than find yourself digging through dark drawers for a lighter.
Stock up On Fuel
If you’ve got a real fireplace, make sure you’ve got enough wood to last you for a few days if anything should happen. Gas fireplaces and generators are other great options. Whatever your heating back-up plan is, make sure at least one room is warm enough to live in.
Make sure flashlights and electric lanterns have fresh batteries. These sorts of things make great alternate light sources, especially if you’ve got small children for whom fire could be a hazard.
It’s also a good idea to keep a weather radio handy and make sure it’s charged. This will keep you supplied with important information during the storm.
Review Water Shut-Off
Especially during the winter, make sure you know how to shut off the water in y our house. This will have to be done immediately after the power goes out to keep the pipes from freezing. If the outage continues for some time, it’s a good idea to warm the exposed parts of your pipes with a hair dryer.
Have a Cooking Plan
Loss of electricity means your microwave and any other electrical appliances won’t be functioning. You’re fine if you’ve got a gas stove, but if not you’ll have to have a backup plan. Grills are a good option if you’ve got fuel; just make sure to use them outside, because running a grill in the house or an enclosed garage can lead to CO2 poisoning.
Other options include camping stoves and fireplaces. You might also consider keeping a three-day supply of canned goods in your house at all times.
If your water source is a well with an electric pump, you’ll need to plan ahead by storing enough water for each person for three days. This adds up to about a gallon a person, but older people, children, and sick persons will need more.
Take Care of Your Tenants
Check in with your tenants to make sure they’ve taken all of the above precautions as storm season approaches. If a power outage should occur, make a visit to ensure that everyone in the property is safe. Bring some extra blankets and assure your tenants that the power will return as soon as possible. If the outage continues for an extended period of time, check in regularly.
Winter power outages no longer need to be frightening enemies. With these tips in mind, you’ll be ready for anything!