How to Prepare for a Long-Term Power Outage (Tips & Tricks)

Electricity is a critical utility that has permeated most elements of our homes and workplaces. Consequently, it is only when we are unfortunate enough to experience a power cut do we realize how quickly we can be rendered completely helpless. Concerningly, according to a research, the rate of power outages and, specifically, significant outages have been incrementally increasing globally for the last decade.

Therefore, adopting a pragmatic approach to safeguard against long-term power outages is a sensible modern necessity. Of course, food and water remain the most critical factors to see through any disaster, but several techniques and resources should be considered to mitigate some of the adverse effects. So continue reading to gain some helpful information and tips on preparing and dealing with a long-term power outage.

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Increased Prevalence and Duration of Power Outages

Large-scale power outages are becoming a concerningly common phenomenon.

There are several leading causes for blackouts: system overloads, fire and theft, human error, and maintenance or acts of nature.

Devastating weather conditions have become the leading perpetrator. It has been noted that the US has experienced double the number of weather-related outages in the last 20 years. They are not alone. Globally, dangerous climate conditions have crippled electrical boards, plunging people into unpredictable power outages that can last weeks.

Eliminating large-scale access to electricity will grind lives to an abrupt halt. The frequency of these outages has forced preparation strategies to the forefront of any concerned citizen’s mind.

Fortunately, some simple, practical initiatives can be taken to safeguard and prepare for a power outage.

Getting Past The Jargon

Some of the terminology surrounding electrical issues can seem confusing and convoluted. So here is some key jargon to help you keep track:

Blackouts/Power Cuts/ Power Outage: Each term refers to a lack of power in your home. They are often used interchangeably, but they all describe the same disaster.

Power Surge: Most often caused by lightning strikes on electrical infrastructure or a technical malfunction. A power surge is a vast uptake in electrical energy being pushed through your mains electrical system. Minor surges most often trigger a fuse box or circuit breaker to trip, which is specifically designed to protect your electrical appliances. However, more substantial surges can be so fast and powerful that they manage to get past your fuse box and potentially damage your electrical appliances. Therefore, it is advisable to unplug all your devices during lightning storms to prevent damage.

Planned Outages: Maintaining the national grid system is an ongoing and arduous endeavor. As you may imagine, power must be stopped at times to safely fit updated components, which would require a temporary controlled blackout. Most often, local authorities will give residents plenty of warning and plan them around nighttime to cause the most minor disturbance.

Partial Power Outage: Partial power outages occur when only a section of your home loses power. This can be divided into rooms or specific appliances like lights or plug sockets. These are generally the result of tripped circuit breakers or fuses. If you are very unlucky, it may even be rodents feasting on your power cables.

How to Prepare for a Long-Term Power Outage

It is time that we stop taking our reliable energy supply for granted. Whether in a high-risk area for extreme weather or a modern metropolitan city, it is wise to make at least some preparations for long-term power cuts. No one wants to be caught off guard in a now eerily dark, quiet home, wishing we had bought more soup cans.

To prepare for a power outage, it is vital to focus on the three most critical resources required for survival first; food, water, and shelter.

Food

how to prepare for long term power outage - Growatt

Common sense should point you in the direction of non-perishable food items. Having a stockpile for any potential emergency is a very sensible idea. Ideally, a home would have enough food stockpiled to last 3-months without replenishing.

If you live on your own, this is relatively straightforward. One person needs three meals a day multiplied by 90 (3 months), which comes to 180 meals. However, larger families will require a more substantial supply. If you multiply that by an average family of 4, it comes to an impressive 720 meals.

Premade, high-calorie meals that are ready to eat should be prioritized. They will keep you, and your family sustained for longer and will not require cooking, which your ability to do is likely compromised.

Water

As for water, often long-term storage is complex due to the vast space required. However, you should maintain one month as a minimum. An average person needs ½ gallon (2 liters) per day, which works out to around 15 gallons (60 liters) per month.

A helpful tip is to fill your bath with water as soon as the power cut hits. A tub can typically hold around 25 gallons (100litres) of water. If you do not have access to this ingenious storage device, try filling as many large basins and sinks with water as possible.

Fortunately, water systems tend to stay active even during cuts as they are likely to have backup power supplies or are located far away from the affected area. But this is no guarantee, particularly during more major longer-term outages.

how to prepare for long-term power outage - Growatt

Be sure to stock purification tablets, as rainwater can be an emergency substitute if you become desperate.

Shelter

If you are lucky, you will already have a roof over your head, and hopefully, it doesn't look like it will collapse any time soon.

If the outage has been caused by stormy weather, it would be advisable to secure all windows and doors and keep informed about possible mass evacuations.

Be mindful of the climate conditions and act accordingly. In colder environments, keep your home insulated, preserving as much heat as possible. Unless you are lucky enough to have a wood or coal fire, producing heat will be a problem.

Alternatively, keep your home aerated, dark, and cool in hotter climates, as your air conditioning will be offline, and excess sweating will increase precious water consumption quickly.

Extra Useful Tips

  • Treat minor injuries and wounds as soon as they arise. Without adequate sanitation and hygiene practices, these injuries can develop into more severe issues surprisingly quickly.  
  • Cleaning regularly and maintaining sanitary standards are vital to prevent sicknesses and avoid food contamination. It is also a great way to cure boredom during
  • Try collecting rainwater to fill your toilet cistern to ensure waste is still being removed from your home.
  • Make sure to keep your vehicle full of fuel and additional reserves at home. This will guarantee that you have reliable transportation. In addition, fuel pumps will not function during more extensive outages. Therefore, a functioning vehicle will be invaluable.
  • Keep a corded telephone at your home for emergency calls. These do not require electricity to operate.
  • Keep a rechargeable radio to make sure you keep up-to-date with all the relevant information.

What To Avoid Doing During a Long term Outage

  • If the outage results from harsh weather, avoid going outside. Even short journies it is not worth the risk. Emergency services will be difficult to contact and in very high demand.
  • Panicking can only lead to more problems. It will lengthen the perceived time and provoke irrational decisions.
  • Avoid being careless with your resources. If you are unaware of the outage length, you should be conservative with your consumption and always act as if you are experiencing a long-term outage.
  • Don’t isolate yourself from your community. When it is safe to do so, communicate and interact with your neighbors so you have people to rely on.

Have Your Own Power Supply - Portable Solar Generators

If you have had the necessary foresight, you will know that experiencing a power cut doesn’t mean you have no power. Solar generators are a prepper's best friend. These innovative devices provide substantial energy storage with various outputs to power everything you need. 

A considerable portion of power outage issues can be resolved with a versatile and practical power station. For example, the Growatt INFINITY 1500 solar generator kit provides numerous outputs combined with the componentry required to power more hungry devices like grills, kettles, air conditioners, or heaters.

Contemporary solar panels have made significant improvements compared to their older generation. For example, they are now optimized to harvest energy on colder, overcast days to ensure continuous power generation.

Access to essentially unlimited power during a long-term power outage is a life-saving resource. It is remarkable how compact, portable and lightweight these solar power stations can be, providing some of the necessities to endure a long and arduous power outage.

Benefits of a Solar Generator

With a portable power station, you will first be able to charge your smartphones, giving you access to vital information and communication. Modern batteries in phones and laptops have struggled to keep up with improved computing power. As a result, most will likely die within 48 hours with conservative use. A backup supply will afford you continuous access to news updates and a line of contact with the outside world.

A simple but underappreciated benefit is producing light. Without electrical lighting, our homes can be obstructively dark, which will likely interfere with a survival routine. Additionally, you will be able to power lights and charge torches, giving you much more maneuverability from day to day.

The Growatt INFINITY 1500’s capacity can power substantial appliances such as air conditioning units or heaters. These are crucial during extreme weather conditions and can be life-preserving. Therefore, it would provide luxury in such a dire situation and an excellent way to boost your morale, at the very least.

Extended periods in stressful and restrictive environments can cause harm to one's mental health, especially if you are isolated. Without continual stimulation and routine, it can cause a downward spiral. A less notable but significant benefit is access to entertainment through electrical devices. For example, a portable battery could power a television or smart device that provides much-needed distraction through tedious periods.

An appropriate power station can easily power electrical grills and small portable stovetops. This would be amazingly valuable as it would allow for perishable food to be consumed safely. It could also be used to power kettles to provide warm beverages and rehydrate foods.

Access to essentially unlimited power during a long-term power outage is a life-saving resource. It is remarkable how compact, portable and lightweight these solar power stations can be, providing some of the necessities to endure a long and arduous power outage.

Conclusion

The impending threat of severe power outages is an unavoidable reality that must be addressed. With well-stocked cupboards and a clean and powerful energy source, you will be afforded the best possible chance of enduring a long-term power outage. The basic requirements of life have always been a staple to preppers. However, there is room for modern adaptation. Ultimately, setting yourself up to handle lengthy outages is crucial. Equipping yourself with all the necessary resources, including a backup battery system, is the most sensible precaution against this modern threat.