A couple of weeks ago, a nasty summer storm rolled through Kansas City. Arriving on Friday afternoon, streets flooded, trees and branches fell on homes and buildings, and thousands of homes were left without power throughout the entire weekend. Even a week later, some homes had yet to have power restored despite the hard work of electrical crews.
The problems that power outages can cause are more than just having to sit in the dark. The things in your refrigerator and freezer go bad, meaning you have to throw out hundreds or thousands of dollars’ worth of food. You can’t charge your phone or computer, making it difficult to check for weather updates. In extremely hot or cold weather, you won’t have air conditioning or heat to cool or warm your house. And if you work from home, you won’t have internet to help you get the job done.
These issues, especially when they last more than a few hours, can be debilitating. Here are a few things you can do so you’re more prepared for your next power outage.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
The foundation of any emergency kit is to cover the basic needs for survival. These include water, food, shelter, and first aid. Aim to have at least a three-day supply of these essentials for each member of your household. You’ll also want to make sure you have tools for providing light and ensuring communication with others.
- Water: Store one gallon of water per person per day. Remember to consider the needs of pets as well.
- Food: Opt for non-perishable items such as canned goods, energy bars, dried fruits, nuts, and ready-to-eat meals. Don’t forget to include a manual can opener.
- First Aid Kit: Purchase a pre-made first aid kit or create one with bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, tweezers, scissors, and any necessary prescription medications.
- Flashlights: Invest in high-quality LED flashlights for each member of your family, along with extra batteries.
- Portable Battery Pack: These can help you charge your phone, computer, or other electronics. Make sure you charge it up all the way before putting it in your emergency kit.
- Battery-Powered Radio: A portable radio will keep you updated on the latest news and emergency broadcasts. Look for models with multiple power options, such as solar charging and hand-crank capabilities.
- Manual Fridge Thermometer: Don’t put this in your emergency kit, but place one in your refrigerator and one in your freezer. During a power outage, the thermometers will let you know the temperature and allow you to assess whether your food is safe to consume.
While the above items would likely be enough during a power outage, consider other types of emergencies and what your needs would be in those situations.
Know What You Should — And Shouldn’t — Do During a Power Outage
When a power outage strikes, there are certain things you should (and shouldn’t) do in order to keep you and your family safe. Rather than trying to Google “is it safe to open the refrigerator during power outage” when the moment comes (you gotta preserve that phone battery), learn the do’s and don’ts in advance.
- Stay calm and informed: The first and most important thing to do during a power outage is to stay calm. Panic can lead to poor decision-making. Keep yourself and your family informed about the situation by listening to battery-powered radios or using your mobile devices for updates.
- Preserve battery power: If you have portable batteries, be sure you’re using them for the most important appliances, such as phones and lights.
- Ask for help: If you feel unsafe in your home, or if you’re simply inconvenienced by sitting at home without power, ask friends or family for help. If they still have power, they may have battery packs they can lend you, or they might be happy for you to come over for a while to escape the dark.
- Open your fridge or freezer: Be sure to minimize the frequency of opening your refrigerator and freezer doors to preserve the cold temperature inside. This will help keep perishable food safe for a longer time during the outage.
- Use candles for light: While candles may provide temporary light during a power outage, they are also a fire hazard. Instead, rely on battery-powered flashlights or lanterns for illumination.
- Leave electronics plugged in: You’ll want to unplug electronic devices, especially sensitive equipment like computers, TVs, and gaming consoles, to protect them from power surges when the electricity comes back on.
Break Up with the Grid and Go Solar
Want to bypass all of the above tips entirely?
(No, we’re just kidding. All of the stuff about having an emergency kit is important and so true. Plus, knowing what to do and not do during a power outage is just good knowledge to have.)
But you could sure make life a lot easier for yourself if you decided to break up with the power grid entirely and start making your own electricity. And solar panels can help you do that.
When you choose to go solar, it means you’re no longer depending on the main electricity grid to provide you with power.
Not only will your solar panels allow you to operate independently of the main power grid, but they also can store excess energy generated by solar panels in batteries, which can be used during periods of low sunlight or power outages. These batteries act as a backup power source, ensuring a continuous supply of electricity even when the grid is down.
Solar panels, which are durable and can withstand various types of severe weather, promote distributed energy generation. This means power is generated closer to the point of consumption. This reduces reliance on centralized power plants and long-distance transmission lines, which can be vulnerable to outages caused by severe weather or accidents.
Sick of Power Outages? Let’s Talk About Solar
If you are looking for the best solar company in Kansas City, look no further than KC Solar. They are your local Kansas City solar panel installation experts. Once you schedule a no-pressure site visit, our experts will help you understand what solar system specifications would be best for your home or business.
KC Solar is a local company made up of KC natives with KC pride — in our city, and in our work. Which means we’ll always give you the best of ourselves.
Get in touch with us today.
And be sure to download our Free Solar Panel Buying Guide for more information.