A sudden power outage due to severe weather or a nearby accident could leave you without power for hours or even days. Do you have an emergency plan?
Talk with your family and friends about what to do in the event of an extended power outage. Do you have an alternative place to stay? Does your town or city have an emergency shelter?
Many medical devices use electricity or are battery-dependent, including breathing machines, power wheelchairs, and oxygen and home dialysis equipment. Some equipment may be vital to keeping you or a loved one alive. Read the equipment instructions and talk to the equipment suppliers about your backup power options.
Keep your cellphone charged so you are able to call for help or be reached by someone.
• If your devices are battery-operated, make sure you have extra batteries on hand.
• Do you periodically check your backup batteries? Unused rechargeable batteries may need charging.
• Portable battery packs or power banks will supply hours of back-up energy.
Use the car
Can your devices be plugged into or recharged through the power outlet in your vehicle? If you plan on using your vehicle for backup power, make sure you keep the fuel tank at least half full.
Depending on the equipment you need to keep going for your health, you may need to invest in a generator and know how to use it safely. There are two types of generators for homeowners to choose from: portable and standby.
Standby generators are installed directly to the house and are typically powered by natural gas or propane.
• These generators start automatically when the power goes out.
• An approved generator transfer switch, which keeps your generator separate from the electric co-op lines, should be installed by a professional.
A portable generator is usually gas-powered and can be moved around.
• You can power your home by plugging appliances directly into it.
• Set up and run your generator in a well-ventilated area outside the home. Make sure it’s out and away from your garage, doors, windows and vents. The carbon monoxide generated can be deadly.
• Use a heavy-duty extension cord to connect electric appliances to the outlet on the generator.
• Start the generator first before connecting appliances or equipment.
• It is recommended that you operate your generator once a month for at least 10 minutes to ensure that it is running properly.
• Keep the generator where it will be easily accessible and weatherproof.
• It is advisable to have enough fuel for 24 hours.
Begin by identifying your basic electrical needs in the event of a power outage and calculating the number of watts needed. You may want a generator that produces more power than all the equipment combined plus the initial surge when it is turned on. Contact an electrician to determine your energy needs.
Do you have medications that need to stay in a cool, dry place?
• If the power goes out, a refrigerator should generally hold its temperature for two to four hours if you are not opening and closing it.
• After four hours, empty the ice from the freezer into a cooler and keep your medication in that cooler. It should be safe there for a day or two.
Basic items to keep on hand
• Water: Three-day supply, 1 gallon per person, per day.
• Food: Three-day supply of nonperishable, high energy foods
• Tools: Can opener, disposable plates and utensils, flashlight, batteries, cash, bleach, hand sanitizer
• First-aid supplies
• Important documents
SVEC deeply cares about the health and safety of our members. We encourage you to do the same and have an emergency plan in place. For more information call your local SVEC office.