The expected “dome” of record setting heat across much of the United States and Canada in the coming days have many wondering about the viability of our power grid. In 2003 a massive power outage on August 14, 2003 left parts of at least eight states in the Northeast and the Midwest without electricity. All told, 50 million people lost power for up to two days in the biggest blackout in North American history. The event contributed to at least 11 deaths and cost an estimated $6 billion.
Here in Michigan’s Thumb, power was on north of Imlay City. The blackout contributed to pushing record crowds into Caseville and the surrounding region looking for supply’s, gasoline and fun at the Cheeseburger in Caseville festival. Many locals recall 2003 as the year that put the festival on the map.
Looking at the week ahead, we thought it was a good idea to provide a quick check list for preparing for an extended power outage of at least three days. Here is the list of supplies and things to do to make the best of it.
Preparing for a Summer Power Outage – What to Have
- Water – One gallon per person, per day
- Food—non-perishable, easy-to prepare items. Canned or freeze dried. Hiking/ Camping MRE packaged is ideal. You will need a camp stove or outside grill.
- Flashlight (NOTE: Do not use candles during a power outage due to the extreme risk of fire.)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra batteries
- First aid kit /Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, deed/lease to home, birth certificates, insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Keep a non-cordless telephone in your home. It is likely to work even when the power is out.
- Keep your car’s gas tank full.
Preparing for a Summer Power Outage – What to Do
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. First use perishable food from the refrigerator. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours.
- Then use food from the freezer. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
- Use your non-perishable foods and staples after using food from the refrigerator and freezer.
- If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day, prepare a cooler with ice for your freezer items.
- Keep food in a dry, cool spot and keep it covered at all times.
- Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
- Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
- Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
- Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. If you think this is pretty good stuff please Like and Share.
This list was prepared by the American Red Cross