Ah, summer. The season of barbecues, beach days, and...power outages. As the summer sun beats down and temperatures spike, power outages can quickly become a survival situation. Summer blackouts can leave you without essential amenities like air conditioning, lights, and access to food, water, and crucial information. That's why it's important to be prepared and have a robust survival plan in place to ensure your family's safety.
In this blog post, we'll arm you with some practical tips on how to prepare for summer power outages effectively.
The Grid Needs a Major Makeover
Decade over decade – measuring 2011-2021 against 2000-2010 – major power outages have increased by a staggering 64%. And the outlook for this summer is grim.
An official assessment published by The North American Electricity Reliability Corporation (NERC) in concluded that “Two-thirds of North America is at risk of energy shortfalls this summer during periods of extreme demand.”
When demand spikes, it usually means temperatures have spiked as well, making for a dangerous combination – but it's a survival situation potentially millions of Americans will be plunged into at some point this summer.
With power outages on the rise, it's more important than ever to prepare for them and equip yourself with the right essentials for the season.
How to Prepare for a Summer Power Outage
1. Supply Savvy – Stockpiling Essentials for a Safe and Stress-Free Summer Power Outage
As with any survival situation, the first order of business is to stock up on items you can't live without, like water, food, and necessary medications. Before a power outage hits, make sure you have enough supplies to last at least 72 hours.
In addition to water, non-perishable food items, and required medications, don't forget about batteries, flashlights, emergency radios, and backup power banks for smart devices – these will become your lifelines in a power outage. Battery powered fans are a wise investment and will be your best friend during a summer blackout.
In addition to your survival supplies, a top priority when preparing for summer power outages is planning some common-sense – or creative – ways to cool down. Heat-related illnesses are serious business and extreme heat is a killer that claims hundreds of lives every year.
2. Keeping Your Cool – Strategies to Outsmart the Summer Heat During a Power Outage
During a summer power outage, temperatures inside your home can skyrocket rapidly. This can pose a serious risk, particularly for vulnerable groups like older adults and young children. Remember to drink plenty of water and monitor how you're feeling to prevent heat related illnesses.
As noted above, handheld or battery-operated fans can help combat the heat. Cold compresses can also help you cool down, or even better – cold showers and baths can lower your core body temperature.
Looking further afield can be a great way to take a break from the heat. Utilize public spaces with air conditioning, like libraries or malls or restaurants, if the temperatures in your home become unbearable.
Or if you're feeling handy, you can make a simple DIY air conditioner using ice, a battery powered fan, a Styrofoam cooler, and a piece of PVC pipe.
Survival Hack – 5-Step DIY Air Conditioner
Keep your cool even during power outages with this simple yet effective DIY air conditioner. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you beat the heat.
Tools and Materials:
- A large Styrofoam cooler
- A battery-operated fan (with a diameter smaller than the cooler lid)
- Extra batteries
- Ice or frozen water bottles/jugs
- A piece of dryer tubing or PVC pipe
- Utility knife
- Safety gloves
Step 1: Mark the Fan and Pipe Positions
Place your battery-operated fan face down in the center of the cooler lid. With your marker, trace around the fan. Do the same for the PVC pipe or dryer hose on the top of one side of the cooler.
Step 2: Cut Out the Marked Areas
Put on your safety gloves. Using your utility knife, carefully cut out the areas you marked – however, you’ll want to cut the fan hole slightly smaller than the diameter of your fan, so it doesn’t fall inside the cooler. Make sure the cuts are as clean as possible to ensure a snug fit.
Step 3: Fill the Cooler with Ice
Open the cooler and fill it with ice, leaving room at the top for a pocket of cold air. You can use regular ice or frozen water bottles.
Step 4: Insert the Fan and Pipe
Place the fan into the hole cut on the lid so that it will blow air into the cooler. Then, insert the PVC pipe into the hole on the side of the cooler.
Step 5: Power on the Fan
With the lid securely closed, turn on the fan. Cold air should begin to blow out of the PVC pipe, acting as your personal air conditioner.
Tips to Maximize Cooling
- Ice Type: Frozen saline solution (a mix of water and salt) lasts longer than regular ice. You can also use frozen gel packs.
- Fan Speed: Adjusting the fan speed can help control the temperature. A slower fan speed gives the air more time to cool down before being blown out.
- Pipe Positioning/Size: Point the pipe towards the area you want to cool. If you're using this in a small room, pointing it towards the center usually works best. A pipe with a larger diameter will vent more cold air.
This DIY air conditioner doesn't require electricity, making it an ideal solution for power outages during hot summer months. However, remember that the cooling effect will last only as long as the ice does. Once the ice has melted, you'll need to replace it to continue enjoying the cooling benefits.
3. Entertainment for All
Summer power outages can be long and drawn-out, leading to boredom and restlessness. Ensure you have entertainment options available, such as board games, books, or puzzles. They can keep you engaged and keep your mind off the heat.
This could also be an excellent opportunity to impart valuable survival skills to children, turning a challenging situation into a learning experience.
4. Stay Connected
Connectivity is key during a summer power outage. Having a backup communication method to reach the outside world is vital. Consider purchasing a battery-operated radio to stay updated with news and developments.
Alternatively, investing in a solar-powered charger can keep your cell phone operational, allowing you to stay in touch with loved ones and emergency services.
5. Be Ready to Evacuate
Sometimes, power outages result from extreme weather conditions, which can create unsafe or hazardous environments. In such cases, evacuation may become necessary. Make sure you have an emergency plan in place in case you need to evacuate, including a pre-packed bag for each family member with essentials and a predetermined safe location to move to.
Plan and Prep Now to Survive a Summer Blackout
By following these tips, you'll be better equipped to handle summer power outages, ensuring the safety and comfort of yourself and your family. Take the time to review these tips and keep an emergency kit readily available. Remember, preparation is the key to survival, so start preparing today so you can survive a summer blackout with confidence and comfort.