2. Preparing for an Electrical Blackout (incl. Sample Plans)

Tips on how to prepare for an electrical blackout, including having an emergency kit, knowing how to manually operate equipment, and having backup power sources ready.

Personal preparation

It's important to be prepared for a blackout, especially in the winter when the temperatures are low and the weather can be potentially dangerous. Here are some items that might be useful to pack in a small bag to have ready during a blackout:

  1. Flashlight and extra batteries: A flashlight can be useful for navigating in the dark and locating items. Make sure you have extra batteries.
  2. Water: It's important to stay hydrated, especially in cold weather. Pack a few bottles of water in your backpack.
  3. Non-perishable food: Pack some non-perishable, easy-to-eat food items like granola bars or nuts.
  4. Warm clothing: Make sure you have warm clothing, such as a coat, hat, gloves, and a scarf, to help you stay warm if the power (and hence heating) is out for an extended period of time.
  5. First aid kit: It's always a good idea to have a basic first aid kit on hand.
  6. Emergency blanket: An emergency blanket can help you stay warm in cold weather and can be used as a makeshift shelter if necessary.
  7. Multi-purpose tool: A multi-purpose tool, such as a Swiss Army knife or folding-plier tool, can be useful for a variety of tasks.
  8. Phone charger: If you have a powerbank, pack it in your backpack so you can keep your phone charged in case of an emergency. Don't forget the necessary cables.
  9. Personal documents: It's a good idea to have copies (digital or physical) of important personal documents, such as identification and insurance papers, in case you need them during an emergency.

Remember, it's important to be prepared and to have a plan in case of a blackout. The above items can help you stay safe and comfortable until power is restored.

If you expect the blackout to last less than a day...

You may not need to pack as much in your backpack. In this case, you could focus on essentials like a flashlight, water, and warm clothing. You may still want to consider packing some non-perishable food, a first aid kit, and a powerbank, just in case the blackout lasts longer than expected.

If you expect the blackout to last for three days...

You'll need to pack more items in your backpack to be prepared. In addition to the items mentioned above, you may want to consider packing:

  1. More water and non-perishable food.
  2. Medications: If you or anyone in your household takes prescription medications, be sure to pack enough of it.
  3. A portable stove or other cooking equipment.
  4. Personal hygiene items: Pack items like toothpaste, toothbrushes, and hand sanitizer to help you stay clean and healthy.
  5. Entertainment: Pack some items like books, or games, like a deck of cards to help pass the time if the blackout lasts longer.

If you expect the blackout to last for a week or longer...

You'll need to pack even more items in your backpack to be prepared. In addition to the items mentioned above, you may want to consider packing:

  1. Even more water and non-perishable food: Depending on location and environment, you'll need enough supplies to last for an extended period of time.
  2. A portable water filter or water purification tablets: These can help you purify water if you run out of bottled water.
  3. A camping tent or other shelter: If the power is out for an extended period of time, you may need to find alternative shelter. A tent or other portable shelter can be useful in this situation.

The items you pack will depend on the expected duration of the blackout and your personal needs.

What to EDC (Everyday Carry)

It's always a good idea to be prepared for emergencies, and carrying certain items on your person at all times can help you stay safe and be more self-sufficient in a crisis. Here are some items that you might consider carrying on your person:

  1. Phone: A phone can be a useful tool for communication and accessing information in an emergency. Make sure it's charged and consider packing a portable charger or a powerbank.
  2. Identification: Carry a government-issued identification card or driver's license with you at all times in case you need to prove your identity.
  3. Cash: It's a good idea to carry some cash with you in case of an emergency, especially if you're in an environment where credit or debit card terminals may not be working (properly).
  4. Flashlight: A flashlight can be useful for navigating in the dark and finding items. Consider carrying a small, portable flashlight with you at all times. (Don't drain your phone's battery using it as a light source.)
  5. First aid kit: A small, portable first aid kit can be useful for treating minor injuries or emergencies. Consider packing items like band-aids, gauze, and pain medication.
  6. Multi-purpose tool: A multi-tool, such as a Swiss Army knife, can be useful for a variety of tasks.
  7. Water: It's important to stay hydrated, especially in high-risk environments. Consider carrying a small bottle of water with you at all times.

The specific items you should carry on your person will depend on your personal needs and the specific environment you're in.

Household preparation

There are several types of generators that may be suitable for private households, depending on the specific needs and circumstances of the household. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Portable generators: Portable generators are smaller and can be easily moved from one location to another. They are typically fueled by gasoline, diesel, or propane, and are suitable for powering a smaller number of appliances and devices.
  • Standby generators: Standby generators are larger, more expensive, and are typically installed permanently at a household. They are connected to the home's electrical system and automatically turn on in the event of a blackout. Standby generators can run on natural gas, propane, or diesel, and are able to power a wider range and larger number of appliances and devices.
  • Solar generators: Solar generators are powered by photovoltaic panels and are suitable for households that want to use renewable energy sources. Solar generators are typically portable and can be used to power a small number of devices and appliances.

Generators tend to be loud and produce hazardous fumes, so they should be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and local regulations. It's also important to have a plan in place for refueling the generator if it runs on a fuel other than solar power.

Converters and inverters are devices that can be used to power appliances and devices in the event of a blackout or when there is no access to the power grid. However, they are typically not as powerful as generators and may not be suitable for powering a large number of appliances and devices.

Last, but not least

  • Use surge protectors: Consider using surge protectors to protect appliances and electronics from power surges once the power is restored.
  • Follow safety guidelines: If you must use a generator, follow the manufacturer's safety guidelines to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning or other injuries.

Sample plans

Having a plan in place can help you stay safe and be more prepared in case of an emergency.

Sample emergency plan (to be used as a guide):

  1. Identify potential emergencies: The first step in creating an emergency plan is to identify the types of emergencies that are most likely to occur in your area. This might include natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, or tornadoes, or man-made emergencies like power outages, fires, or chemical spills.
  2. Assemble an emergency kit: An emergency kit is a collection of essential items that can help you survive for a short period of time in case of an emergency. Your kit should include items like water, non-perishable food, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first aid kit, and warm clothing (see above).
  3. Choose an emergency meeting place: Choose a meeting place that is close to your home, but far enough away to be safe in case of an emergency. This could be a neighbor's house, a park, or a nearby landmark. Make sure everyone in your household knows where the meeting place is and how to get there (see below).
  4. Create an emergency communication plan: Establish a way to communicate with your household members in case you get separated during an emergency. This might involve assigning a designated emergency contact or using a communication tool like a walkie-talkie.
  5. Practice your emergency plan: Practice your emergency plan with your household members so that everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency. This can help reduce confusion and increase the likelihood that you'll be able to safely evacuate or shelter in place.
  6. Stay informed: Stay up to date on emergency alerts and warnings in your area. This might involve signing up for emergency notifications from local authorities or following emergency information on social media or local news outlets. Get a battery-powered radio.

By following these steps, you can increase your chances of staying safe and being self-sufficient in a crisis.

Sample plan to establish a meeting point (to be used as a guide):

  1. Identify a central location that is easy to find and remember: This could be a nearby park, a large landmark, or even a street corner. Choose a location that is familiar to everyone and is easy to find even without the use of GPS or other electronic navigation tools.
  2. Communicate the meeting point to all attendees: Make sure that everyone knows where the meeting point is located and how to get there. You may want to include a map or written directions in your communication.
  3. Have a backup plan in case the primary meeting point is not accessible: If the primary meeting point is not accessible due to roadblocks or for other reasons, prepare a secondary location as a backup.
  4. Consider the safety of the meeting point: Choose a location that is safe and well-lit, if possible. Avoid areas that may be prone to crime or other dangers.
  5. Consider the needs of all attendees: Make sure that the meeting point is accessible to people with disabilities, and take into account the needs of any children or pets that may be present.
  6. Designate a leader: Choose a person to take charge and coordinate the group in the event of a blackout. This person should have a good understanding of the plan and be able to communicate it to others.
  7. Practice the plan: It is important to rehearse the plan so that everyone knows what to do in case of a blackout. This will ensure that everyone knows where to go and how to get there safely.

By following these steps, you can ensure that everyone knows where to go and how to get there safely in the event of a communication failure.

Blackout