How to Prepare for a Power Outage in Florida
A summertime power outage in the Orlando area presents hazards and challenges, but when you spend a little time preparing for it, it’s a lot easier to get through. Bad weather or blackouts due to high demand can precipitate an outage, and it’s hard to know just how long it will last.
Follow this checklist to ensure you’re prepared for both expected and unexpected power outages.
Power Outage Preparation Checklist
Use this checklist to prepare for unpredictable outages:
3 Weeks Worth of Non-Perishable Food
Have at least three weeks’ worth of food in your pantry that doesn’t require cooking, like nut butters, crackers, canned fruit or vegetables, and shelf-ready food.
Insulated Cooler & Instant-Read Thermometer
Keep an insulated cooler on hand to use for a prolonged outage. You can take some of the food out of the refrigerator and freezer and store it in the cooler, this way you won’t have to open the doors to these appliances. An instant-read thermometer is also useful once the power returns to determine whether the food is safe to consume. Anything in the fridge that reaches over 40 degrees should be thrown out. Don’t take any chances with potentially spoilt food.
Supply your home with plenty of drinkable water. The Red Cross recommends one gallon per person per day. You should aim to have a three weeks supply of drinking water.
Consider having a battery-operated fan for each household member. Power outages in the summer can make your home exceptionally hot and humid. Fans can increase your comfort, especially in Florida.
Manual Garage Opener
Learn to operate your garage door opener manually prior to an outage. In the event your car is parked in the garage during an outage, you may find yourself stuck. If the outage is expected to persist but it’s safe to travel, you’ll want to know how to make the gate open manually. Check ahead of time, you may not have easy access to a phone or laptop where you can look the information up.
Look into a standby generator for your home. which will start up immediately once the power goes out. Generators can power one or more circuits, depending on the size of the generator. On average, you can expect to spend about $2,000 on a generator depending on the type and size.
Consider Solar Power
Evaluate your home for solar power, which may help you sail through an outage with no inconvenience, especially if have enough deep-cycle batteries for power storage. Installing new solar power systems throughout your home can be an investment, but if your area is prone to frequent power outages, it may be a worthwhile investment.
Flashlights & Batteries
Consider what lighting you’ll need to get by with daily tasks if you experience a power outage. It’s wise if you aren’t using a generator, to have a variety of battery operated lights available to you. We recommend battery-powered flashlights, lanterns, and headlamps.
Lanterns will give you an excellent stationary light source. This is good for seated tasks like reading or playing a board game to pass time. It’s also good for mealtime so you aren’t stuck eating in the dark.
Flashlights and headlamps give you easy access to light on the move. If you need both hands, a handlamp will be preferable. But if you’re just walking from one location to another a flashlight will work.
You’ll also want to stock up on batteries for these light sources. Without working batteries, all the lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps in the world won’t do you any good. Be sure to have at least one pack of AA and AAA batteries in your home as these are the most commonly used.
Note: Be wary of relying on a fireplace of candles to light your home. The open flame can be dangerous especially in the case of a power outage as water may not be readily available in case of emergency.
Keeping a charged portable power bank on hand can help you keep your phone charged in the case of a power outage. This keeps you in touch with updates about the power outage and gives you the ability to continuing checking in with family and friends. While not a traditional power outage essential, this is definitely an item you don’t want to go without.
If you’re able to safely leave your home and the surrounding businesses are operational but out of power, you’ll need to have cash on hand to buy any services or products. Try to have around $400 dollars available in cash if possible.
Full Tank of Gas or Charge Your Electric Car
In light of a major upcoming storm stop by a gas or charging station to ensure full fuel on your vehicle. Gas stations are not operational during power outages and you don’t want to find yourself stranded in the event you are unable to fill up.
Post-Power Outage Checklist
Here’s what you can do after a power outage to make sure everything is back to normal:
Throw Out Unsafe Food
You should throw away all perishable food in your refrigerator after any power outage that lasts more than 4 hours.
Throw away at least the following items:
- Fish and meat
- Cut fruit
You should be okay to keep the following items:
- Hard cheeses
- Whole fruits
- Raw vegetables
If you are unsure if a food item has gone bad after a power outage, it’s best to assume it has. While you can examine the smell and texture to be sure, it is safer to stock up with new food you know won’t make you sick.
Discard Refrigerated Medication (If Power Outage Last More Than 24 Hours)
All refrigerated medication should be tossed after 24 hours or more without power. If the medication is necessary or your life absolutely depends on it, always refer to the label and get in touch with your pharmacist or doctor if you are unsure. In many cases, you may be able to still use the medication until a new dose is able to be obtained.
Safely Store Generators
It’s important to safely store your generators after use. This extends its lifetime and ensures it will be usable the next time you need it. For an item that can be pricy, you’ll want to take the extra steps to store it properly.
Follow these steps to safely store your generator:
- Drain the fuel from the generator
- Clean the generator of signs of oil or fuel
- Remove any combustible debris from around the muffler
- Schedule a professional inspection and tune-up prior to storage
- Remove the battery and store it in a cool dry space
- Store generator out of the elements
FAQs About Florida Power Outages
“How Can I Check the Status of a Power Outage?”
Visiting https://www.fplmaps.com/ and searching by your address should provide you with an update to the status of the power outage. If your area is not shown, check with your local utility provider. Most providers will have a map and updates for outages in their service areas.
“How Can I Report a Power Outage?”
These days you have plenty of options for reporting. You can report via text, online, or by calling in the power outage. Contact your local utility company that provides electricity for your area to report the outage.
“How Long Do Power Outages Last?”
Most power outages will be resolved within a few hours to a day. But if the outage is due to a severe weather event, it may last for much longer. This could mean a few days or even weeks before power is restored. This is why it is important to prepare for the worst-case scenario by stocking up on supplies and deciding on an evaluation plan if necessary.
“What Causes Power Outages?”
Often times power outages are caused by storms. Trees, vehicles, lightning, and animals also commonly cause power outages.
“Can I Avoid Power Outages?”
Power outages aren’t avoidable for homeowners and even when anticipated, you can’t predict the exact moment you’ll lose power. This is why prevention is your best option. Be sure to stock up, have a plan, and purchase a generator to ease the stress of a prolonged power outage in your area.
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