Prepare a home blackout kit

During storm season, you need to be prepared for power blackouts.

Not being prepared for a power outage just adds to the inconvenience. Having a plan of action, as well as emergency supplies, will help you get through it without any fuss. That doesn’t just mean storing a couple of torches under the laundry tub in case the lights don’t work.

Here are some tips on how to be prepared.

The first thing to do is visualise what you’ll need in the event of a long power outage. While torches, headlamps, glow sticks, lanterns and candles are all important, without power you may not be able to cook food. You may need alternative methods of cooking such as a gas BBQ, camp stove, a gas grill, charcoal grill or a campfire.

You should also stock a supply of food that does not need to be cooked. In some cases, a power outage will affect supplies of running water so you’ll need to store drinking water somewhere that’s easily accessible.

If a blackout occurs during winter, you may not have heat and will need warm clothes and blankets to keep warm. If the blackout occurs during a heatwave, make sure you have plenty of water available to stay hydrated.

Assemble your kit with your family, so they can contribute to the contents. Store it in a place that’s easy to access, such as a kitchen or laundry cupboard. You don’t have to put all the elements, such as blankets, in your kit. You just need to put essentials like torches, matches and tools such as a Swiss army knife, so you can use these to get to the other items stored in your home.

It’s worth making sure you understand how your power board works and what to do when a switch has been tripped. If weather permits, check on your neighbour — particularly the elderly ones — to make sure they are safe and have the resources to get through the blackout too.