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Storm Preparation Tips

Tips for planning ahead for loss of electricity

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Power Outage by edkohler on Flickr

Power Outage

by edkohler on Flickr

Power outages often happen during storms, but can happen at any time, during any season. Sometimes not related to weather at all. Flashlights, batteries, food, a source of water and heat during the winter are basic necessities. Are your pets covered in your preparedness plan? Here are some power outage preparedness tips.

General

  • Water Supply We are on a well, so when we lose power, we lose our water. Besides having stored drinking water, it is also important to maintain sanitation for both family members and pets. Have some baby wipes handy to keep hands clean and not waste available water.
  • Food Supply Keep readily available, easy-to-store snacks that do not require refrigeration or heating to eat.
  • Light Your Way Have matches, candles, flashlights, and batteries on hand, and know where they are. I always have these items on hand, but had a bit of a time actually locating them in the dark. A dedicated location works well. It is a good idea to periodically check that batteries are working in stored flashlights.
  • Be Candle and Fire Safe Lit candles are useful for light, but having many lit candles can be dangerous. If pets and small children are around, there is even more danger of accidental fire or injury. Fire is also a risk with downed lines and sparking sub stations. Make sure to have plenty of fire extinguishers around the house, and know how to use them. Make sure that extinguishers are fully charged, and know where they are in the house and around your property.

Dogs and Cats

  • Thankfully, dogs and cats do not need much electricity in their daily lives. Fresh water and food are most important, so basic emergency precautions should cover those needs. If your pet is arthritic and cold weather is a concern, have plenty of padded, thick blankets for your pet to curl up on.
  • While not an emergency, one thing I have noticed is that when the power is out, many appliances start beeping and flashing. This really bothers some animals. When possible, I let my dogs outside (weather permitting) to escape the noise until I can fix the problem.

Fish

Fish are quite sensitive to power interruptions. The emergency fish care article from the Fresh Aquarium site at About.com is an excellent guideline to help keep your fish alive in a power outage.

For tips on how to keep your tanks powered during an outage, please see this article by the Saltwater Fish Guides at About.com: Being Prepared For a Power Outage Any Time.

Birds

Indoor birds can be quite sensitive to drafts and changes in temperature. Have a towel or blanket handy to reduce the change of your bird catching a cold due to temperature changes. Make sure to have adequate ventilation (do not use plastic wrap or too heavy of a blanket!) while protecting your bird. Here are some tips for keeping your birds warm, from the About.com Guide for Birds.

My birds are not indoor birds, they are outdoor birds -- chickens and geese. Other than the usual need for fresh water and food, they can do fairly well without power. I have taken measures to insulate their housing, and in extreme weather, I can further seal up the coop.

Take Stock and Stock Up
I take power for granted and comfortably assume it will always be "on." It is during the dark and cold outage that I wish I had planned ahead a little better. It just takes a few minutes to make sure that emergency kits and supplies are stocked up and in place. Having a regular schedule will save lots of time and frustration when the power is out. I am syncing my updates with the annual fire alarm battery check.

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