Blackouts and power outages are common and may not seem serious in comparison with other catastrophic disasters. Yet, blackouts present their own sets of problems. First, a blackout can occur at any time and for many different reasons. They can be caused by severe weather, downed power lines, surges in power grids, damage at a sub-station or even terrorist strikes. Blackouts can last for as little as a few minutes and as long as two or three weeks or more. They can occur in any part of North America. Therefore, everyone should prepare for them.
Let’s take a scenario: Wham! You are faced with a sudden blackout. What will the likely conditions be? Most obvious, if it’s at night, you’ll have the absence of light. This is not only potentially scary but dangerous as you lose your ability to see what is around you. If the blackout occurs due to a widespread disaster, your ability to see and react will become even more important.
Having emergency flashlights, candles and/or lanterns is highly recommended. We suggest having at least one source of light for each person. Please make sure that if you do use candles that you are aware of where you placed them. Also, be sure that you extinguish them before leaving or going to sleep. We also recommend that you have a few emergency light sticks for situations like this. These can be used as sources of light as well as a way to keep track of where people are. One important note: In areas prone to earthquakes, there may be a good chance that there will be damage to gas lines. In these situations you DO NOT want to use matches to light candles. In these cases light sticks are a safer source of light. We further recommend that you speak with your local gas company or fire department officials for more information pertinent to your area. While not currently stocked in our line, an emergency generator might be a great assist for you. Emergency generators come in many different sizes and prices ranges and can turned on either automatically or manually.
One of the most important things besides light, is heat. In a power failure, your home heating unit will become inoperative. Besides warm clothing you should consider our emergency survival blankets and sleeping bags. These are waterproof and windproof and are designed to retain 90% of your body heat. You may also want to consider our body warmers as these can be inserted into clothing pockets to provide additional heat.
One last power failure / blackout consideration is that you will no longer have access to your televisions or electronic radios. It is highly recommended that you have an emergency radio that does not require the use of electricity. Most emergency radios can operate with batteries, solar power or with a hand crank. Information is critical in an emergency. If the blackout is the result of a larger and more serious disaster, you will want to listen to news reports and messages from emergency responders. You’ll want to know where to go and what to do. If the blackout is not due to a catastrophic situation and short-term, your emergency radio can be used to listen to soothing music. This will take your mind off of the situation. Small children will especially appreciate this comfort as they may be frightened.