How to prepare for a power outage in winter?

For many, an important attraction of the property is the satisfaction of having your autonomy. Unfortunately, winter knows where you live. And when winter arrives, it can create problems before leaving. Power outages are a recurring winter problem. Last December, for example, we had more than 250,000 Quebec hydro subscribers without electricity. When power is off, stay abreast of weather trends and prepare indoors and outdoors to avoid potential disasters.

Stay up to date on weather trends

Knowing when the cold is coming will give you plenty of time to prepare. It’s a great idea to have a battery-powered radio, a crank radio or a dedicated weather radio. Either will give you regular weather updates, just make sure you have your batteries charged or have news on hand. Nowadays, there is almost no excuse for missing a winter storm warning and being caught by surprise.

Stay connected with social media

If your home is connected to the Internet, you can use social media – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – to connect with your extended family and neighbours, regardless of their distance. Inform others of what may be happening, especially if you need help. And your neighbours are much more likely to help you if you have good relationships with them. Autonomy is great, but asking for help can save lives. Of course, keep a list of essential services phone numbers if you need them.

Keep machines and other essential items ready

Cold temperatures can put a dent in your machines. If the power goes out, you’ll want to make sure your equipment is ready. You must ensure that the chainsaws and generators are ready to operate when needed to have a spare chain, Chain oil and extra caps to have a lot of extra fuel if you have to run your generator for long periods of time. Make sure your gasoline or diesel is ready to burn. Extreme cold will cause diesel fuel to freeze and make life difficult for anyone who depends on a diesel engine. Diesel will start to freeze at 15°F. Keep a commercial additive supply handy to avoid gelling. For example, you can use a stainless steel gas-fired patio heater. Be aware of all the additives you will need for long-term storage.

Generators: understand your needs

If you haven’t bought a generator, spend some time thinking about what you’ll need. You want to keep food, that’s for sure. You want to have energy for phones and other communication devices. If you have a well, it will be convenient to run your well pump.

How much generator do you need for these essential elements to work? And, do you need to run a generator all day? While it may be comforting to hear this generator buzzing, remember that generators run on fuel. Understand that you don’t need to keep your refrigerator or freezer on all day to prevent food from deteriorating. You also don’t need lights on during the day. Be smart and economical in your choice of generator by not buying one that is too fuel-intensive and larger than what you need. It will pay dividends when it counts.

Also keep in mind that not everything – your well pump, for example – can run on a generator.

Water Storage – Understanding Your Needs and Options

Water is a basic need. In an emergency, FEMA recommends that you store 1 gallon of water per person for three days. If you have children, are breastfeeding or pregnant, or are living with elderly parents, your needs may be higher.

If you have stored water, be sure to keep it above freezing temperatures so you don’t need to use fuel and energy to thaw it. If you don’t have one yet, it might be a good idea to set up a rainwater catchment system if your water supply is dependent on electricity.

If everything else fails, you can get water from ponds, rivers and streams. This would be a last resort as ponds and streams can contain bacteria that will make you sick. They also pose a problem in terms of location and water transport. Have spare containers as part of your water storage system dedicated to this eventuality.

Indoor Survival Tips

Inside the house, your three basic needs are warmth, light and food. With a little planning, none of them should present major problems.

For starters, it’s a good idea to keep a 3-day supply of canned, non-perishable food at home at all times. If you have a gas stove, make sure your propane or natural gas tanks are full. If the power is off, remember that most gas stoves will work, in fact, if you can turn on the driver manually.

If your stove doesn’t work, you can also cook food in your fireplace as long as you have the right kitchen utensils to work with an open flame. If that’s all it comes down to, you can also cook food on your gas grill or charcoal.

Another basic need, when the power is turned off, will be heat. Wood stoves are an obvious and important element for any farm in cold climates. Keep plenty of wood dry, split at your fingertips and ready to burn. Natural gas or propane heaters are also excellent emergency heat sources. A wood stove can be another excellent source of heat. Wood stoves can also be used to boil water and dry clothes if you are wet. Staying dry will be important. Wet clothing transmits heat quickly and will have almost no insulation value. Of course, it will be wise to wear a lot of diapers and have extra blankets on hand. Warming up yourself and your family by wearing extra clothing and using extra blankets will help extend the life of your fuel supply.

When the sun goes down, you can keep your home lit with candles. Keep a healthy stock of wholesale and have several boxes of matches on hand. Flashlights are also useful, as are oil and kerosene lanterns. Make sure your batteries are charged and keep your fuel levels where they need to be.

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