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Be Prepared for a Power Outage

Fall weather is here. With wind and rain comes the potential for power outages around North Idaho and Eastern Washington. Power outages aren't typically fun and they are inconvenient, but they don't need to be dangerous. By taking a few basic steps, your family or business can be prepared to safely handle a power outage.

If you know stormy weather is coming and a power outage could occur, here are some ideas to be ready:

  • Stock up on water. Some houses and building will still have access to water when the power is out, but some may not. Know how your water system works and have a stock of clean drinking water available.
  • Be prepared with "no-cook" meals. You will want to preserve the cold temperature in your refrigerator and freezer by not opening them during the power outage. You also won't have power to cook inside and weather might not permit outside cooking, so it's important to have a nice stock of food that won't need prepared with heat. (Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cereals, crackers, non-refrigerated produce, or whatever your family prefers).
  • Have flashlights or lanterns ready to go with extra batteries. Whether you spread them out around the doors to your home, or have them all together in one place, know where they are and how to use them.
  • Do your laundry. Prepare for possibly not having access to your washer and dryer by getting ahead of the laundry and making sure you have clean clothes and blankets stocked up.
  • Do you dishes and be prepared with paper plates, bowls and silverware. Same with laundry, it's no fun to see dishes pile up during a power outage. So why not use paper goods you can toss out?
  • Anticipate special needs of family members and pets. Do you have a baby that needs more help staying warm? Or a dog that needs occupied during a storm with something to chew on? Think about those things ahead of time and have warm sleepers or mittens for the baby and an extra bone for the dog so he won't decide to chew on your child's favorite toy.
  • Keep all rooms, walkways and hallways cleaned up and free of clutter - when visibility is low, you don't want to be tripping over things that could lead to a dangerous fall.
  • If you have a generator, keep it clean and ready and know how to safely use it. Check weather and surroundings before hooking it up.

Now that you're prepared, make the power outage a good experience for everyone by staying warm, entertained and safe. Here are some ideas to help weather a storm with a family:

  • Battery powered radio - this is a great way to stay up to date on news and weather alerts, but it can also provide a distraction during the dark and quiet hours. Turn up the tunes and have a flashlight dance party with the kids while you're without power.
  • Keep the kids entertained. No electronics? No problem! Keep the flashlights and lantern out for a family board game, card game or lego building fun to help pass the time.
  • Stay warm. Be prepared with extra clothing, blankets and mittens to help keep everyone warm during the cold hours.

Power outages are not fun. But by being prepared, they don't have to be miserable or dangerous.