Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Black Out in a Major City...Are You Ready?

A major black out hit Detroit this morning reiterating the problem with #1) our rapidly deteriorating infrastructure, #2) the necessity to prepare for such an unforeseen occurrence, and #3) the possibility that such a black out could happen anywhere at anytime and last for a lot longer than this one did.  Are you ready for such an event in your city/town?  Here are some things to consider:

  • Be prepared to protect yourself.  When there is a major event that impacts a city, the last thing the police are going to do is respond to an individual calling for help.  They have bigger problems to deal with.
  • Have the basics to see you through a major power outage.  Flashlights, spare batteries, candles, matches, extra blankets, an alternative cooking system, an alternative heating system.
  • Consider what to do if the power goes out and you have systems that rely on power (ie: security system, medical life support equipment, door and garage door locks, well pump, livestock fencing, etc).
  • Always keep cash on hand (ATMs may not work, banks may not be open).
  • Always keep your car's gas tank at least half full (gas stations may not be able to pump gas).
  • Consider getting a generator and storing extra fuel for it.
  • Have a food plan (have food that doesn't require cooking, be prepared to eat the food in your fridge first then cook up the food in your freezer so it doesn't spoil).
  • Store bottled water for drinking.  In addition, have ways to purify water if needed (in many cities their water purification systems won't work without electricity).
  • Stock enough supplies (toilet paper, baby food, etc) so you don't need to go to the store for a week or more (stores without power will probably stay closed).
  • Have a battery-operated/hand-crank radio on hand to keep up with the  latest news.
  • Have non-electronic means of entertainment in your home (such as books and board games).
  • Consider using solar-powered lights in and around your yard (they recharge during the day then can be used as indoor or outdoor lights at night).
  • Be prepared to be as self-sufficient as possible for as long as possible.
  • Be prepared to evacuate to the next closest town that has power if necessary.  If someone is seriously ill or you have a newborn and it is the dead of winter it may be more prudent to hole up in a hotel that has power then to stick it out in your home.
  • Determine if it is safe enough to leave your home (driving can be an issue if the street lights are out, on the other hand, it may be easier to alleviate boredom if the other side of town has power and you can take the family bowling or to the movies).
  • Be able to charge your cell phones and laptops in your car (ie: a car charger for your cell and an AC/DC converter to plug your laptop into).

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