How to Keep Yourself Out of Long Lines of Frantic People.
After Superstorm Sandy the Associated Press, with the assistance of Ventyx (a software company), used data from the US Department of Energy to take a look at how long people were, on average, without power after major hurricanes. They looked at all the storms since 2004. These include not only Sandy but, Ivan, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Ike and Irene.
Power companies consider it a success if they can get 95% of the people up and running again. The quicker they can do it the better. This is accomplished by restoring service to the largest number of people first. Which means that there are always a few straggler houses on the outskirts of town that have to wait extra long.
If you live far out in the country you are probably somewhat prepared for emergencies, but the results of their findings are something we should all pay attention to. On average, we need to be prepared for power interruptions for 10-15 days. Are you that prepared?
From the Huffington Post article:
After Sandy, New York utilities restored power to at least 95 percent of customers 13 days after the peak number of outages was reported. New Jersey reached that same level in 11 days and West Virginia in 10 days.
Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005 and Ike in 2008 all resulted in longer outages for customers in Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Florida.
The longest stretch to 95 percent restoration since 2004 was Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina, where local utilities had power restored to only three-quarters of their customers after 23 days before Hurricane Rita hit and caused additional outages.
It took Texas utilities 16 days to restore power to 95 percent of those who lost it during Rita, according to the federal data; Mississippi utilities needed 15 days after Katrina; Florida and Texas utilities needed 14 days after Wilma and Ike.
How Will You Fare for a Week or Two Without Power?
Do you think it’s silly to prepare? We sure don’t want to be one of those frantic people, scrambling through the store trying to get enough water, food, batteries, or whatever – so that our family is safe. You may have a 72-hour kit ready, but this is something different. it’s about sheltering in your home for a few weeks and not going crazy in the process!
“There’s the spoiled food in the fridge and the dark nights. There’s the fire danger from relying on candles. No electricity also can mean no heat. In tall apartment buildings, it means no elevator service, a serious problem for the infirm or elderly who can’t navigate stairs. For those who rely on mobile phones for communication, it means no way to charge phones – and therefore no way to communicate with loved ones or emergency services.” Huffington Post
If you are caught this winter in the path of another big storm like Sandy, are you prepared to be without power? If not, I do have to wonder – what you are thinking?
Why would anyone who knows they may have to eventually face a disaster, not prepare in advance for it? This isn’t the first time that people have had to face challenging circumstances. We all know that our grocery store supplies are stocked “just in time” and that when these emergencies arise, the cupboards become bare. This is why you have emergency supplies of food, water, and fuel at my home. It is the responsible thing to do.
Take the time today to assess and review – what are the items that your family will need to be self-sufficient if you are in the dark for two weeks? It’s not silly to prepare and this can happen to you. You only need to look at the latest news reports for proof.
Storm Preparedness – Review Your Plan – Food, Water, Heat, and Light
- Do you have enough no-cook food, or easy to cook food, for 14 days? Some of this may be coming from your freezer. Once the power goes out, if you don’t have a generator, this will be the first food to eat. It will not last the full 10-14 days.
- Do you have a safe way to heat or cook your food, with enough fuel storage? We have a camp stove and plenty of propane stored. You could also use a rocket stove or even make a cooking stove from a #10 can.
- Do you have flashlights for every member of your family (Amazon 5 pack headlamp), plus extra batteries?
- It’s going to get old carrying your flashlight around, do you have battery operated lamps, candles, or oil lamps for light? How about enough fuel and batteries to keep them going?
- Do you have water storage (1 gallon per person, per day MINIMUM) and/or containers to store water in when the notice is given? Your goal: not to have to go “water shopping” when the emergency notifications start .
- Do you have a way to keep warm if it’s winter or cool if it’s summer? Check out this post from Common Sense Preparedness How To Stay Warm During a Power Outage for excellent ideas on staying warm while sheltering in place.
- What will you do if water and sanitation service are disrupted? Where will you “go”, where will you store the waste?
- Do you have a way to contact your family and let them know you are safe? That means making a family communication plan.
- Do you have a battery operated or solar/crank radio so you can keep up to date on information? This is the one I have. (Amazon)
- How about a way to keep your cell phone charged? You are going to need to communicate with the outside world. Consider looking into a Solar Charger.
- Do you have a way to entertain yourself and the kids? Nights can be long without power, especially if your family is used to using technology for entertainment.
This list is meant to help you identify the areas where you might be vulnerable so you can plan to take care of them. It is not silly to prepare and it is a step we all need to take if we want our family can be safe, comfortable, and sane during an emergency.
How about you – Are you prepared to shelter in place during the next big storm?
Review some of our previous posts for more information:
Emergency Light, Heat and Fuel Plan , Be Prepared for Winter Storms, Emergency Sanitation, Emergency Cooking, Create a Family Emergency and Communication Plan, How to Prepare for a Blackout, Emergency Entertainment Kits , How to Start a 72-hour kit, The Ultimate Guide to 72-hour kits.