How to Prepare for a Long-term Power Outage? - Nature's Generator

How to Prepare for a Long-term Power Outage?

Just because the power’s out doesn’t mean you’re powerless! To survive a power outage, preparation is the key.
Best Solar and Wind Powered Generator Reading How to Prepare for a Long-term Power Outage? 24 minutes Next Emergency Power Outage Preparedness Plan Tips

We always expect that when we flip the switch, the lights will turn on. But what happens if they suddenly don’t?

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INTRODUCTION

Be prepared for power outages they’re unpredictable yet predictable -- it’s not a question of if, but when.

There are some unpredictable things in life such as a long-term power outage. It’s not that they are unforeseeable, we know that they will happen, we just don’t know when.

When an outage does occur, we might think it is just a no lights, no internet, and dark-homes-everywhere kind of situation but, the truth is, a power outage is so much more than that.

A government study recorded that 36 million US citizens were forced to deal with power outages in 2017. That’s a heck of a lot of inconvenienced and potentially health-and-safety-compromised people.

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Power outages can disrupt critical services.

It is important to understand that a power outage might affect the entire community as well as the local economy. It can disrupt communications, water, transportation, and other critical services.

A long-term power outage may cause retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, and banks to close. With limited resources and no place to escape, how do we survive?

We will look at tips for preparing for power outages and tips for what to do during power outages-- but first let’s look at what causes power outages and what we each could do to help prevent them.

What causes power outages?

  1. Over-stressed power grids can fail.

There are two main types of power outages: one is caused by an overstressed grid, the other is caused by a natural disaster.

The first type is the everyday overtaxing of our power grids. This kind of outage is triggered when, say, too many people crank-up their air conditioners at once because a large swath of the country is baking in an excessive heatwave. The result of this almost-synchronized mass-demand is often a grid failure -- causing a power outage or rolling brownout to occur.

  1. Worst-case power outages are often caused by natural disasters.

Powerful storms with high winds can interfere with electrical infrastructure because wind, trees, excessive ice or snow load, or lightning strikes can all down powerlines or otherwise cause disruption of the electrical grid.

Sometimes there is forewarning of these kind of power disruptions, yet sometimes they can catch us completely off-guard. Natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, wildfires, floods, can suddenly materialize, stun us, and abruptly change to our reality.

At other times, we can anticipate a natural disaster’s detrimental impacts. Take, for instance, a prolonged drought period. It may surprise us that a drought is so severe and so long-lasting, but the fact that it’s going to affect power generation should not surprise us.  A prolonged drought unfolds in what seems like slow motion – we can see what is happening -- but it is extremely difficult to do anything to stop it.  

  1. Yes, droughts can affect the reliability of power grids.

Hoover Dam hydropower is threatened by West's historic ...

A 2022 CNN report examines how power supplies in the Western United States are being threatened by severe drought causing low lake levels.  Hoover Dam, which provides power to millions of people, has been reduced to almost half of its power capacity (in only 10 years!) due to a prolonged drought in the states that surround the Colorado River and depend on it for both water and power.

The only thing we individuals can do to help this kind of slow-motion disaster is to manage our water use -- to treat water as if it were gold. This is called “demand management” in the water industry.  Local water purveyors often offer rebates for ocean-friendly or drought-friendly gardens. These rebates pay water customers to remove their water-thirsty lawns to replace them with drought tolerant plants. Some of these landscapes can be quite beautiful. See: Ocean Friendly Gardens - Ventura County - Surfrider Foundation

What these rebates offered by local water suppliers tell us is that it’s cheaper to pay existing customers to use less water than to find new water sources. In our collective fight to correct climate change we can all conserve water to help survive droughts -- but who thought that being water-wise could affect power outages? Now we know, like ecosystems, it is all interconnected.

How can we help prevent power outages?

  1. Use a backup generator to avoid peak-hour use and help the grid avoid power outages.

Much in the same way we conserve water to manage demand, we can also conserve electricity. Of course, you can conserve power by using more energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances, but you can do even more to help keep the grid healthy by using a backup generator storage system to avoid the grid’s precious (and costly) peak-hour electricity. Southern California Edison sent out this message prior to Labor Day 2022 asking consumers to minimize power use:

“This Labor Day weekend, help maintain power for everyone. With excessive heat in the forecast across much of the state and the Western U.S. expected to continue into next week, your energy conservation is needed. Energy conservation helps reduce strain on the electrical grid. Together, our conservation will help California’s electrical grid and minimize the need for CAISO rotating power outages.”

As with water, it is cheaper to manage peak-hour grid use than to build new expensive (sometimes environmentally unfriendly) power plants. Demand management is the reason that higher peak-use rates were introduced.

  1. Power outages -- save the grid, save the world!

To fight climate change and protect the grid, eventually all homeowners will need to contribute to a healthy regional grid by using alternate green renewable energy sources like solar-powered generators. These clean generators can help with the big picture climate change issues and lessen the demand stress on our regional grids.

If every homeowner had alternate green renewable source of power (think solar panels on your home, carport, or in your yard) that they could use in the grid’s peak demand hours, then we would not be experiencing so many power outages due to the grid being overwhelmed.

You can be a leader, start now to save the grid and save the world! This benefits homeowners as well because you can avoid paying the higher peak-hour rates. It’s a win, win – protect the grid, protect your wallet! In fact, it’s a win, win, win -- because with a backup solar generator you also protect your family when power outages do strike.

Power outages & difference between nonrenewable and renewable energy.

  1. Nonrenewable energy comes from fossil fuels like oil, coal, and gas (these are finite resources that will run out) and they pollute as they’re burned for energy contributing to the current climate change crisis.
  1. Renewable energy comes from clean energy sources like the sun or wind (these are inexhaustible resources that won’t run out) they don’t pollute or contribute to the current climate change crisis.

If we’re going to save the planet from its current climate change trajectory, it’s important we all understand the difference between nonrenewable and renewable energy sources and it’s critically paramount that we comprehend the need to transition to renewable energy sources posthaste before the damage is irreversible.

Electricity, are we addicted?

We may not realize it, but in our day-to-day lives we have an enormous dependency on electricity. No matter where we live or what we’re doing when a blackout hits, we’re suddenly keenly aware of what we can’t use due to lack of power. With many people in our post pandemic world now working from home or using a hybrid schedule, power outages can even impact a family’s earning power.

We have an example in our Nature’s Generator family. Phoebe works remotely in customer service. Her home’s grid was less than reliable. When the owners realized she was trapped in the very situation that they founded the company to help people avoid -- they knew they had the solution and equipped her with a backup solar generator. Now she can work despite the many grid outages in her area.

Power outages how long do they last?

In a worst-case natural disaster scenario, outages have been known to last up to a year as utility companies struggle to get damaged infrastructure up and running. More moderate disaster-related power outages may last up to a week.

The U.S Energy Information Administration 2016 report showed “the average American electricity customer was without power for a little over 4 hours if you include major events. That said, the length of outages can be influenced by many different factors including the cause.”

14 critical tips on preparing for a long-term power outage:

  1. The best defense is a good offense – have a game plan for a power outage.

Because unscheduled outages can happen at any time for any reason and last an uncertain amount of time, we all must be prepared for a power outage emergency. It’s important to have a plan in place that prioritizes your essential needs. The key to a good plan is to have a list of the things you’ll need should there be a power outage.

At the end of this blog is a free printable PDF of Emergency Power Outage Preparedness Tips to help you create your own power outage plan.

Take inventory of your items that rely on electricity – including items that require rechargeable batteries – these are the items that will immediately (or in the case of the devices using rechargeable batteries, eventually) cease to function in a prolonged outage. Know what they are and have an emergency plan in place to know how to deal with the loss of these devices.

Where flashlights, a battery-powered radio, and a lot of extra C-batteries were the old school answer, today we have better, cleaner, greener, more sustainable answers like solar generators. Your power outage preparedness plan can be a whole lot shorter if you simply invest in a solar generator that can store power for emergencies and restore the use of your home’s electrical equipment.

  1. Power outages & people needing medical devices that require power.

Being prepared is vital during long-term power outages. Of course, recognizing the need to plan is the first step in keeping ourselves and our families safe when the grid goes offline. Once an emergency strikes it’s too late -- so take the time to plan now to keep your loved ones safe.

Some families have members that are reliant on medical devices that require electricity to function or have medications that need to be refrigerated meaning an interruption in power could be life-threatening.

If this is the case in your family you might check to see if your electric supplier offers a Critical Care Backup Generator Rebate, some do. However even without rebates, if you have this kind of situation, then investing in a backup solar-powered generator is not just a luxury – it’s a necessity.

  1. Gas verses solar power backup generators and family safety.

While you could invest in a gas-powered generator there are safety considerations when using them -- like they must be used outdoors and at least 20 feet from a home’s window -- otherwise, toxic carbon monoxide gas (sometimes called the silent killer) could accumulate within the home at fatal levels.

We have all heard the tragic stories.

Another thing to consider is that gas or diesel-powered generators need to be refueled. Remember, depending on the cause and length of the power outage, gas stations may not have the power to be open or pump fuel.

Alternatively, if you invest in a solar-powered generator you can keep your family safe (no toxic emissions) and provide peace-of-mind in these emergency situations.

There are many reasons Nature’s Generator’s founders fight so hard to keep our products’ prices low – this is one of them. With an affordable Nature’s Generator your family’s life would not be seriously interrupted during an outage and their health and safety needs would not be in jeopardy.

  1. Health and safety supplies for power outages.

With local retail and medical services disrupted you will need certain emergency items. Plan to have at least a week’s extra medications on hand.

Never let prescription drugs get down to just a few vials of insulin, the last asthma inhaler or EpiPen, or the last couple of pills of blood pressure or heart medication... If you typically let needed medications get depleted before scheduling a reorder, then change that practice to ensure that you have at least a week’s extra supply on hand in case of emergencies. Move each automatic refill up one full week, that way you will always have a buffer if an unexpected power outage strikes. This should get your family through the worst days of a prolonged power outage.

With pharmacies potentially closed, other needed first aid items include: pain relievers, gauze, antibiotic cream, iodine, rubbing alcohol, soap, hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, and any other special needs your family members might require.

Remember, you not only need your important prescriptions available -- you also need a plan to store these medications at their required temperatures as some need refrigeration. If the power outage lasts over 24 hours and your refrigerator remained without power for that period, it is recommended you throw medications out.

Many medications are very expensive, avoid disposing them for lack of refrigeration by investing in a backup solar-powered generator. The generator will more than pay for itself. For instance, a month’s worth of insulin can cost between $700 to $1000 – protecting just one month of this medication would offset the cost of the Nature’s Generator 1800-watt generator.

  1. Some like it hot, some like it cold – it’s important to know where heating and cooling centers are when a power outage strikes.

In a power outage emergency, knowing the location of cooling or warming centers might make a critical difference for you or for more susceptible individuals like the very young or very old. In these climate-change extreme-weather times, these types of shelters can protect a family member’s life.

Remember, never try to heat a home with a gas or propane stove. This can put you family in danger as much as bringing a portable gas-powered generator or BBQ grill into your home. These were designed for outdoor use in well ventilated areas -- using them inside can kill people with carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you live in an area that suffers extreme cold temperatures, then plan to have low-temperature rated sleeping bags for each family member.

  1. Be a good neighbor in a power outage emergency.

Remember to always be a good neighbor during a power emergency. A neighbor may need help getting to a cooling or warming center or they may be without some health or safety necessities. If you can help, do.

Checking on the welfare of those that live around you not only shows that you’re a good person -- but it also makes you a local hero -- both to the people you help and to their families that may not live close enough to check on their loved ones.

  1. Plan for food safety during a long-term power outage.

Don’t pull an Old Mother Hubbard! (Re: nursery rhyme: “Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard, to fetch her dog a bone, but when she got there, the cupboard was bare, and so the poor dog had none.”) Develop an emergency food cache ahead of time with enough provisions to survive a long-term power outage. You can do this by always keeping at least a one-week’s surplus food supply in your pantry capable of keeping your family fed and healthy in an emergency.

Also, keep a running list of the surplus non-perishable food in your pantry and, if you use some of your emergency cache, then immediately replace these items with new ones. (And note, you should use them, otherwise the use-by-date might expire.) Have a plan to use, replace, and constantly rotate these items so that the oldest items move to the to the front for next use and the newer items go to the back. In this way you will not have expired food in your cupboard when you need it in an emergency.

  1. Recommended nonperishable food stocks for power outage emergencies

Some good non-perishable food staples to stock include things like cereal, powdered milk, powdered baby formula, jars of baby food, energy or granola bars, nuts, dried fruit, dry goods: like rice, pasta, and beans and canned goods like: sauces, soups, vegetables, fruits, canned meats like: tuna, salmon, crab, or chicken, finally, instant drinks like coffee, tea, and Tang Drink Mix (it was good enough for the astronauts!).

Using the rotation system described above, you ensure your family does not suffer the same fate as Mother Hubbard’s poor dog during the next power outage emergency.

  1. Know the perishable food rules during/after a power outage – its critical!

A refrigerator can usually keep food safe for 4 hours even without power. Check the temperature if it is below 40 degrees it’s okay.  Also, avoid opening the refrigerator or freezer doors during an outage, this helps the food stay colder longer.  If the door remains closed, a full freezer can keep food frozen for up to 48 hours, a half full freezer for 24 hours.

However, always use your senses to doublecheck food for look, texture, and smell to make sure it didn’t spoil. Also -- and this one is important -- if in doubt throw it out! Food poisoning is nothing to mess with. It is cheaper to dispose of food that may be spoiled than to risk your family’s health.

  1. Power outage water needs -- water is life --we can’t live without it!

Safe drinking water is a must. A power outage may affect your potable water supply. Be sure to always have a good stock of bottled water for emergencies. Studies show that an average person drinks at least 1 gallon of water per day. You can use this data to calculate what your family’s emergency water supply should be.

Also, be aware if you live in certain areas/situations where electric power is required to operate water pumps. Multi-story apartment buildings sometimes have their own water pumps. If you live in this kind of building, make sure it has a backup generator to keep your water flowing. 

Also, people on farms or in rural areas are often on well water which requires electric pumps to access the water. If you are in this kind situation, a long-term power outage can affect your family’s ability to access clean water for drinking, hygiene, and sanitation. Bathtub liners for emergency water supply are available to allow a tub full of water to be stored – however, you need advanced warning to deploy the liner and fill the tub.

  1. Power outages – be informed, know what’s coming, & listen for updates.

Plan to always stay informed to know what’s coming. Use your cell phone or computer to sign up for emergency local weather alerts and warning systems. Get notified of approaching hazards and have some time to prepare. A small portable charging pack to power your cell phone during a long-term blackout could help keep it charged.

  1. Old school survival technique for power outage - write it down!

Write important information on paper. You cannot depend on your cellphone to stay charged indefinitely, so write down important phone numbers and addresses you might need including for a nearby hospital, your doctor, veterinarian, local school, police station, supermarket, and any other important family or service numbers you might need. This way, during a prolonged outage you can conserve your phone’s battery by consulting it less and selecting a power-saving setting.

  1. Do you know what to do during a power outage?

While in a power outage remember to disconnect some of your sensitive electrical equipment to avoid the electrical surges that may occur when grid power comes back online.

While many of us already have our sensitive computers, tablets, or phones connected to power surge protectors -- there are some items we might not think of like newer smart refrigerators, security systems, sprinkler systems, or washers and dryers as well as other devices that now have sensitive smart computer technology.

Your power outage preparedness plan should list items you need to check to ensure a grid-power-return-surge won’t affect them.

  1. Power outages -- why struggle in the dark when you can ride it out in the light?

Emergency rechargeable lanterns and flashlights will help during power outages. These tend to be a safer alternative light source than candles because they do not create dangerous and unnecessary fire hazards.

However, and we really can’t overstate this -- the best tip for how-to-survive-a-power-outage-emergency is to buy a Nature’s Generator solar-powered generator to power to your home during an outage.

Nature’s Generator offers affordable state-of-the-art solar generators.

Our generators are affordable and have options to use either solar or wind-power (or both) to generate their clean renewable power. Nature’s Generator’s solar panels, wind turbines, and array of portable generator choices can be used in conjunction with our Power Transfer Kit or Power Transfer Kit Elite to power your home’s light circuits, TV, computer, and important appliances like your refrigerator -- enabling you to return to a more “normal” routine during a blackout.

How to use Nature’s Generator Power Transfer Kit or Elite

The Nature’s Generator Power Transfer Kit adds convenience because homeowners use it to connect directly to their home’s electrical panel. (Hire a licensed electrician for this job.) 

Then, during a blackout, you can go from a no-power situation to a like-normal-power one is as easily as flipping a switch. By flipping the switch, you move your power supply away from the power grid that is suffering an outage to your reliable backup power generator. This means you don’t have to take your 21st century ascetic back to the dark ages!

Our prices beat the competitors’ & provide the most bang for your buck!

Our modular expandable systems allow you to expand your system to meet your power needs. Our variety of different size generators and accessories allows you to select the products that are right for your needs. Across all the competitors’ lines we are confident that you will find that our Nature’s Generator’s products consistently beat our competitors’ prices and always give you the most bang for your buck.

Backup solar-powered generators are more affordable than you might think.

For a surprisingly affordable price you can get our durable long-lasting solar generators that can smoothly return life to normal when an outage strikes.

Our generators are quality-made and are comfortable for your wallet. One of our company’s founding principles was to ensure everyone has access to electricity generated by clean renewable energy sources. The founders wanted to be part of the climate change solution and are driven to help everyone have equitable access to clean, reliable electricity.

One of the ways Nature’s Generator does this is we’re constantly working to keep our products prices low – it borders on obsession, it really does!

But it’s a good obsession, we’re consumed because we know that our products can keep people safe during emergencies and we want that safety to be within everyone’s means. To that end we have even partnered with reputable lenders to allow people to finance a solar generator and pay it off over time. You can find this information on our website: www.naturesgenerator.com

The future of energy is here and its renewable energy -- like solar & wind.

Thanks to modern technology, we now have renewable energy solar- and wind-powered generators for the home. If you invest in an affordable Nature’s Generator renewable energy generator now, you will have a reliable backup generator powering your important appliances and light circuits when the next power outage strikes.

CONCLUSION

Just because the power’s out doesn’t mean you’re powerless!

To survive a power outage, preparation is key.

Getting through an extended blackout safely largely depends on preparation. That is why Nature’s Generator wants to provide everyone with the chance to prepare and avoid having to endure a long-term power outage without our products. Remember, once the power outage emergency strikes it is too late to prepare!

The best power outage tip we can give you is to get an affordable Nature’s Generator for reliable backup power.

We all take the electricity that powers our lives for granted, but we should also prepare for when it goes out –which it can at any time. When a long-term power outage occurs, it can be difficult if you are unprepared. Investing in a Nature’s Generator is the right move to protect your family during the next power outage.

Honestly, take a look at our website we do think you will be pleasantly surprised – you can survive the predictable -- yet unpredictable -- power outage and protect your family in style.

Here is the FREE downloadable, printable PDF we promised – use this to create your own Emergency Power Outage Preparedness Plan.

Emergency Power Outage Preparedness Plan Tips.pdf

 

* We want to give credit where credit is due. Professional writer, Mary Jane Bumanlag, worked with author Diane Underhill and contributed research and content to this blog titled: How to Prepare for a Long-term Power Outage? Thank you, Mary, for your contributions!