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Preparing For A Bad Storm, A Power Cut, Or Even A Natural Disaster Such As An Earthquake.

Here in the UK, we don’t tend to get the same level of natural disasters as is portrayed in the movies or that you see on the news taking place on or near fault lines with volcanic activity, landslides and earthquakes so extreme that buildings collapse leaving sometimes hundreds of people trapped inside unable to free themselves.


We do however, on frequent occasions, have torrential rain that is so heavy that our rivers bust their banks, and this causes a torrent of water to flood residential houses, businesses, and everything in between. This brings the roads to a standstill with vehicles being submerged in several feet of water and having to be abandoned at the side of the road. We also have this issue with snow across various parts of the Country as well as wind.


With severe weather, potential power grid shortages, and power lines down due to snowfall and snow drifts, the likelihood of power cuts in parts of the UK is a real concern, particularly for elderly people or people who are especially vulnerable.


What Can We Do to Prepare for It?


There are several things that can be done now to prepare for a potential power cut, being snowed in, or worse. Here are a few tips and suggestions that are proven to work and advised by both FEMA and the UK government.


Tip #1. As it will be necessary to store most of these items, you will need to prepare some space in a reasonably sized cupboard or purchase a large plastic box to accommodate them. The box will need to be placed somewhere you can get easy access to it. If you live on a floodplain and are trying to prepare for the likelihood of floodwaters, make sure that the location of your cupboard or box is on an upper level of your house, as opposed to a garage or kitchen.


Tip #2. Batteries, torches/lanterns and solar powered items. Batteries have a long lifespan and during a power cut or anything that interferes with your property's ability to conduct electricity, batteries will be used to power almost everything so make sure to have a big stock of them in all sorts of different sizes. You may find during a power cut that you go through a lot of batteries so having a stash of AA, AAA, C and D batteries as well as square 9V batteries will be useful.. During a power cut, batteries, lanterns and solar powered items will be your best friend.


Tip #3. The use of candles to provide light is something that is proven to be a leading cause of fire during power cuts and black outs. FEMA and other government agencies recommend the use of glow sticks in place of candles to provide light sources around your home. If you have small children, glow sticks can also provide some entertainment for them during the power cut as the bright colours and non-fading luminescent light seems to hold children’s attention for hours. There are also packs of glow sticks that you can turn into various shapes. It is also an idea to place any lights you use by a mirror as this reflects the light, almost doubling the effect. Wind up torches are also good in this situation.


Food, Drink and Other Emergency Essentials


Tip #4. It is always useful to keep a supply of food and drink that does not require any heating to hand, particularly if you are elderly, pregnant or have small children. Protein bars and cereal bars are great snacks for any age, peanut butter and small packs of nuts are also great little snacks as well as little portions of dried fruit and crackers. These can all be stored in a small airtight plastic tub or an airtight bag. If a power cut or black out is something the government has pre-warned residents about, it is always an idea to prepare a big cast iron Dutch Oven full of hearty casserole that will remain hot for quite a while afterwards from the heat of the cast iron. Or perhaps make use of a slow cooker for the same purpose? Both methods will keep the food hot for a long time after the electricity has gone off. If you do have a way of boiling some water, noodles and pasta pots that only require hot water are something to consider adding to your box/cupboard. If you have children, then small cartons of long-life milk are also useful in these situations as children can drink them and if necessary, adults can add a little to their cup of tea/coffee if they have access to some hot water without having to disturb the fridge. FEMA advises a 72-hour supply of food and fresh water per person in case of emergency. This can be kept inside a backpack or a duffle bag that can be taken out ready to go in case of emergency evacuation, along with the other essentials.


Tip #5. Drinking water. It is always an idea to keep small bottles of drinking water in your car in case you are stuck in traffic or break down, but it is also an idea to keep several bottles of fresh clean water for emergencies in your home. If your house gets flooded by storm water, this generally includes water that will have risen from the sewage system as well as storm drains and can potentially get into your water pipes making the water in your house unsafe to drink until it has been checked and declared safe by the relevant authority. You therefore need safe drinking water which is not contaminated by anything. If you are able to, keep several bottles along with some plastic or camping cups with your emergency food.


Tip #6. Keep your phone, tablet/laptop and watch charged. With no power to your house, you will not be able to charge these items, so it is an idea to ensure they always have at least 50% battery life in them, particularly if you use them often. It might also be an idea to consider purchasing an additional on-the-go charging pack that can charge your phone without the need of a plug socket. Just remember to charge this fully before relying on it.


Tip #7. Remember that you need to protect the food in your fridge and freezer. A freezer can maintain most of its internal temperature provided it is not opened for about 24 hours so remember not to open the door if you don’t want your food to spoil. Your fridge can also maintain some of its internal temperature and keep your food cold, provided the seal on the door is not breached and kept fully closed.


Tip #8. When the power grid restores power, there can sometimes be an electrical surge, so it is a good idea to switch off most of your electrical appliances (with the exception of fridge and freezer and any medical equipment etc). This will prevent any surges from activating your appliances without your knowledge such as your cooker, hair straighteners, hair dryers, drills etc and causing damage to them as well as the potential for a fire from unattended appliances. Leave one light on in the room you are in, switch everything else off.


Tip #9. Keep warm, this is especially important if you have young children, are elderly, or you are unwell. If your power cut is in the colder months and you have had prior warning about it, make sure to fill some hot water bottles and wrap up nice and warm. Use hand warmers and heat pads that are activated by gel click or air. You can pop a number of these into the cupboard/box you are preparing as, like the batteries, they last for a long time. There are also rechargeable hand and body warmers available. The colder weather puts a strain on our immune systems making us more susceptible to illnesses and prolonging illnesses that we may already have. This is why it is exceptionally important to make sure the elderly, children and those who have underlying medical conditions are kept warm during power cuts in colder months.


Tip #10. Access to hot water. Not all power cuts include both electricity and gas, most are just electricity. If you have a gas cooker together with a kettle designed for the gas ring, you will still have access to hot water. If you don’t, and you have been advised beforehand of your power cut, it is a good idea to ensure you have several flasks of hot water to hand for hot drinks and food. It is always an idea to make one bigger flask or hot water dispenser than you think you will need, as when it is cold, more will be drunk than you think.

Tip #11. Are you a fan of camping? Do you regularly go camping? If so, this is the time to break out the camping equipment! No, I’m not talking about the tent and camp bed, but when you are stuck in a power cut that lasts for the entire night, in the depths of winter, with no heat, no electricity to make hot water or cook food, and even your goose bumps have goose bumps on them, it’s time to think old school! Most of us have sat around a campfire or a fire pit, even in the winter. Most of us have sat around a BBQ or perhaps a chiminea at some point too. They all generate heat, light and cook food and if you are used to camping you will likely have a small camping stove powered by bottles of Propane or Butane. Admittedly, most of these need to be used outside where there is ventilation, but all of these provide the means to cook some food, provide some heat, and if you also have a camping kettle or a pan then you will be able to boil some water also. These are especially handy to have if your power cut was not planned, or you were not aware of one taking place.


Speaking of camping, if you have a caravan or a camper van, you will likely have access to a gas cooker and gas heating in your caravan. If you are going to be experiencing frequent power cuts, it may also be an idea to invest in a solar powered portable power station to provide an emergency back up power supply if needed.


Tip #12. My family have always told me that in the unlikely event of an emergency, make sure your car is full of fuel. This is especially important in the event of a bad storm or if you have small children, animals, elderly relatives or you or an immediate family member has a health condition.


Tip #13. Ensure that any medical equipment also has a battery back-up. This applies whether the power cut is planned or not. With some medical equipment such a hoists, raising hospital beds, medicine delivery ports etc, this is something that I believe is pretty standard, but with other equipment such as CPAP and BIPAP machines which require pumped oxygen as well as electricity, it is not always possible to rely on a back-up battery so check with the hospital prior to any planned power cut as the patient may need to be taken to hospital under these circumstances and ensure you are on your “vulnerable list” with your electricity provider as they can often provide you with a generator to provide power to these lie saving machines. Also, make sure you have enough of your own medication if you take any, as Pharmacies also get power cuts, and this will likely have an effect on the computers they use to dispense prescriptions. It is also a good idea to store a box of painkillers and a box of anti-inflammatories in your emergency cupboard/box together with a first aid kit, alcohol hand gel, anti-bacterial wipes, a bar of soap, and a small pack of compressed towels in different sizes and feminine hygiene supplies.


Tip #14. Blankets, throws and warm clothing. As the power cut is likely to be in the colder months when heat is needed the most, having a selection of big blankets and throws is essential. As boilers rely on electricity to be powered, warm clothing along with blankets and throws provide much needed heat to ward off hypothermia and other potential illnesses from the cold weather. Ensure some blankets are stored with your other supplies in your emergency cupboard/box.


Tip #15. Close the curtains. Ensuring that your curtains are closed retains the heat, especially if the curtains are made from thick material. If your power cut is in the colder months, then this is a must to ensure as much heat is preserved in your home as possible. It is also an idea to ensure the seals around all external windows and doors are fitted correctly and have no gaps or leaks.


Children, Animals and Elderly Neighbours Need Extra Help


Tip #16. Some children get very scared and anxious and start to panic during power cuts, even planned power cuts. This can be especially true of children who have sensory processing issues and autism. If the power cut is planned, it is a good idea to sit your child down and explain what is likely to happen with them beforehand and perhaps gather some things together to create a safe space for them to feel secure during the power cut. Perhaps give them their own torch or lantern and allow them to have a small pop-up tent which has been decked out with blankets and cushions and a selection of their favourite books and/or small toys. It might even be an idea to purchase them their own “power cut hot water bottle” so they feel less anxious about the event. For all children, whether it’s a power cut, flood, storm, snowed in etc, it is an idea to create each child a small pack with toys, colouring books, colouring pencils and crayons, stickers, small games, a few snacks and sweets, a drink and their own little torch and some glow sticks? It may also be an idea to keep a few board games out or a pack of playing cards, if the power cut is likely to go on for a while.


Tip #17. If you have animals such as cats and dogs and you have a planned power cut, make sure to take your dog for a walk before the power cut as it is likely that streetlights will also be out and if it is night-time or dark outside this can be dangerous for both you, your dog and others who are on the road. If you have cats, especially if they are indoor cats, ensure you have cleaned out their tray before the power cut and give them fresh food and water. If you live on a floodplain or somewhere where there is the potential for flooding or the need for evacuation and you have a cat, it might be worth investing in the front and back expandable backpack carrier for small dogs and large cats up to 9kg. The expanding areas give room for your cat to freely move around. It is also worth noting that although fish like gold fish will be fine if the heater is off during a power cut, tropical fish may not be as the temperature in their fish tank may drop too low. Perhaps consider filling a bag that can be tied with warm to very warm water and popping this into the water to keep the temperature of their water warm.


Tip #18. During a storm and particularly a power cut, elderly neighbours can be particularly vulnerable and perhaps don’t have access to the same preparations as the rest of us. When a power cut happens, it might be an idea to not only check on elderly neighbours but to bring them round to your house and let them share the warmth and your company. Blackouts and power cuts are especially dangerous for older people as they are not as steady on their feet and can easily fall, and it is easier for an elderly person to become very sick from the cold due to the slowing of their circulation, the slowing of their metabolism, and the decrease in their surface body fat making them more susceptible to fatal hypothermia.


I hope you have found the above tips helpful, and I actually hope you never have to use them, but it is always safer to be prepared. As always, if you enjoy the blogs that I post then please stay tuned for the next one and you can click on any of the hyperlinks to access the items referred to. If there is something specific you wish for me to do a blog post on, please feel free to send me a quick email. Stay safe and watch this space for my next post which relates to preparing your car for bad weather xx


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1月22日
5つ星のうち5と評価されています。

I really found the advice in this blog excellent. I live alone with my little furry babies (2 cats) and, although we don't get earthquakes in this country we certainly get power cuts and floods with all the troubles and possible dangers they can bring. I have found keeping these essential items within handy reach has meant I have been more at ease when the weather warnings come on the TV. As an OAP it also means I can keep warm and reduce the risk of accidents. Well done for this well researched and practical advice.

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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm Laura, I'm a blogger, a vlogger, a working mum with a busy household, and I love to shop online. In my blog you'll find lifestyle tips and tricks to help you get organised and hopefully make your daily life a little easier.

 

You'll also find links to products and various items I firmly believe make day-to-day life that little happier (and sometimes even that bit prettier). I will frequently be adding more as the weeks go on, so if you like what you see then watch this space......

 

I've had so much fun creating this website for all of you, and I really hope you enjoy it too and find inspiration in my blog posts and the various items linked in them. 

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If you have something in particular you want me to put up a blog or a vlog about or any questions, please send me an email and let me know xoxo

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