Do you have a plan for extended power outages?


Judging by the forecast for the end of this week, we’ve got some nasty weather on the way. The National Weather Service is calling for sleet, snow, and low temperatures Friday and Saturday night in the Berks County area and beyond. Where we live, it seems the power goes out whenever there’s a bad winter storm. With that in mind, we put together this handy guide to help you prepare for nasty weather, extended power outages, flooding, and storm damage. Here’s hoping you won’t need it.

613px-Old_man_winter.svgEmergency preparedness kit:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Infant formula and diapers, if applicable
  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Hand-operated can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • Non-electric heat source, such as a kerosene or propane heater. Use only as directed, ensure there’s adequate ventilation, and keep a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector in the same room.
  • Extra propane or kerosene

Additional Items To Consider Adding To An Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. You can use the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK)  developed by Operation Hope, FEMA and Citizen Corps to help you organize your information.
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper. When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil

Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children


If you live in an area prone to frequent, extended power outages, you may want to consider purchasing a generator. Smaller models can be used to supply lights and power low-wattage household items, and to keep refrigerators and freezers running so that food doesn’t spoil. Larger models can essentially keep your whole house running as if the power never went out. They require professional installation, however. To find a contractor, try a quick online search or look through the Yellow Pages.

For more on disaster preparedness, click on this link to get tips from FEMA.



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