When the Lights Go Out: Short-Term Power Outage

This info will be broken into two posts covering short-term power outage (less than 12 hours) and extended power outage (more than 12 hours).

Interesting title and I wish the rest of this post were that exciting. Power outage is a serious problem for many people across the United States. Every day people lose electrical power to their homes and businesses for a variety of reasons. Many times these power outages are short and only last for a few hours. But on occasion, there can be a serious loss of power for extended periods of time due to extreme weather or after a disaster. For those of you that have experienced it, you will never forget it.

It is amazing how much we rely on electricity to maintain our comfortable lifestyle. If you want a challenge, try going without power for 24 hours and see what you notice. Now, try going without power for days, weeks or even months. Any exercise like that will give you tremendous insight into the comforts that electricity gives us.

For short-term power outages (less than 12 hours) you should have what I call “Lights Out” supplies. In my house they are in a cupboard and that is where we keep flashlights, batteries, candles, matches and a radio. Make sure you have a small stash of “Lights Out” supplies in an easy to find location.

Here are some ideas on how to manage short term power outages:

  • Know where your flashlights are – I know this seems obvious, but . . . you would be surprised how many people have no idea where to find a working flashlight in their house at a moment’s notice.
  • Make sure your flashlights work! – Again, obvious, but you need to have a flashlight that works. I LOVE my Lumen LED Tactical Flashlight. It is compact and fits perfectly into my 72 hour kit.   Very cool and very easy to use. I use it every time my power goes out.
  • Have light sticks and lanterns available – I use our light sticks as night lights for our kids when the power goes out. Bedrooms can be very dark and scary for kids so our light sticks have been an awesome way of keeping them happy and (most importantly) asleep. A good camping lantern can be excellent as well. It will help give light to a larger room where your family will gather. One thing I know about power outages is my kids do not want to leave my side. Having a nice lantern has helped. Check out our LED Dynamo Lantern. It has been great.
  • Watch out for Carbon Monoxide – Remember that any equipment that burns fuel will produce exhaust. That exhaust is deadly and will contain carbon monoxide. Many times when the power goes out, people will use portable heaters to stay warm. They then go to bed and suffocate overnight from the exhaust produced by these heaters. Any equipment that burns fuel and produces exhaust needs to be used in a well ventilated area, preferably outside.
  • Don’t leave candles burning all night – We sell a wonderful 115 hour ReadyCandle which is great, but never go to bed with a candle burning. In my case, I have kids that seem to get up throughout the night and they might play with it and get burned or tip it over.
  • Have dynamo radios in your lights out supplies – Keep a wind-up dynamo radio where you keep your flashlights and other lights out supplies. This will help you stay informed with local information.

My next post will address extended power outages and specifically, portable and standby generators.

4 thoughts on “When the Lights Go Out: Short-Term Power Outage”

  • Jaime

    I have used light sticks when the power goes out in this same way. Not only does it help the kids feel better, they think it's fun!

    Reply
  • Maggie

    I've discovered that using a light stick before striking a match is much safer until damage can be assessed especially where there is a possibility of natural gas leaking from a broken valve or pipe.

    Reply
  • emily

    Headlamps are a great way to see when the power is out. It gives focus and you can use both hands. I used them during the power outage in 2011.

    Reply
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