Preparing For Homestead Electrical Outages

For folks who live in the country, electricity can't always be counted on. We seem to be the last to receive any power line improvements, making us more vulnerable to outages. That's why I like to be prepared at all times for such things. After all, we never know if the outage will last an hour, a day--even a week.

Each room in the house contains either an oil lamp or candles in/on holders. All have a pack of matches under their bases. And flashlights are kept near each entry so if I arrive home during an outage, I can readily grab one to find my way to the oil lamps and candles. (The flashlights sport looped handles which make them easy to hang behind the doors.)

For the bathroom, I keep a five-gallon container of water on hand in the laundry room. This is to be used for flushing purposes. There's also a lidded bucket (in which the water container fits in) for disposing spent toilet paper.

When it comes to the refrigerator, I never have to open it. I keep canned milk, bottled water and other items in my kitchen cabinets at all times. I have also made it my habit to keep bags and milk cartons of ice in the freezer just in case the power remains out for more than one day. And, should the electricity stay out for a couple of days, a trip to a friend's house in a nearby town is called for. Flattened boxes which have been stored under the couch are pulled out and put back together. These are used for carting the food from the refrigerator and freezer to the friend's house. Egg boxes from the grocery store are great for this purpose as they have handles in each end. Plus, when broken down for storing, they are long and narrow, easily fitting under most couches.

If the outage occurs in the winter, all of the doors to interior rooms are closed. In comes a kerosene or propane heater and windows are cracked open to keep fresh air coming in to the main living space. After the heat has been taken care of, I turn off the water supply and drain the pipes to prevent them from freezing and bursting.