Summer is coming! In Southwest Florida, that means scorching heat, afternoon thunderstorms, and the inevitable blackout. What’s a Florida homeowner to do? Well first... don’t panic!
We’ve got you covered, with some great tips on what to do — and what not to do — to survive a SWFL blackout. Here’s how to best prepare for a power outage in the sunshine state:
Prepare Today for Tomorrow
Everyone’s seen the grocery store bags and billboards with the hurricane preparedness checklists, right? Well, most of that list really applies to any potential power outage, hurricane, afternoon thunderstorm, construction mishaps, or even power grid problems. Here’s what you need to be prepared:
1. Flashlights and Batteries
Have several flashlights readily available around the house, with plenty of spare batteries you can easily access, too. It's a good idea to check your flashlights and make sure the batteries that are already in them are still good. They can corrode over time, or simply lose their power. A blackout isn't the time to discover that. Flashlights are also a much safer choice than trying candles for light. In a pinch, you could use the flashlight feature on your phone, but it won’t be as powerful as most real flashlights.
2. Portable Chargers or Solar Chargers
Make sure your cell phone is well charged at all times, and consider buying a solar charger and/or portable charger, especially if you rely on your cell phone instead of having a corded landline in your home. Both solar and portable chargers are easy to use, reliable, and can be great options to keep your phone charged for use as needed.
3. Food & Water Supply
Keep at least a 3-day supply of water on hand — one gallon per person per day. Also, keep three weeks’ worth of non-perishable food on hand, including a manual can opener, to properly prepare for a power outage. It's not hard to choose canned and dry goods that can be eaten without heating or cooking, and they won't take up a lot of space. Also, pack the empty space in your freezer with plastic containers filled with water. Not only will this give you additional emergency water, but it will also help keep your fridge and freezer cooler longer if the power is out. That can lead to less spoilage and more usable food.
4. Backup Generator
Why take the chance of staying in the dark, worrying about your fridge full of food? Having a backup generator installed is a smart move for homeowners who want to stay comfortable through a blackout situation and enjoy at least the basics like hot water, cold food, and a few lights on as needed.
Already have a backup generator installed? Chances are you haven’t thought much about it since the end of last hurricane season. Much like your car, generators need regular preventative maintenance in order to run their best. We can help with that, too. Contact us to schedule maintenance on your generator, and keep that investment ready to run when you need it.
5. Get Cash & Gas
When the power goes out, there's no power to operate gas pumps or to go to the ATM to get money. A lot of places won't be able to process your credit or debit card because that requires power as well. By fueling up your car and having some cash on hand for essentials like food and emergency shelter, you'll have a lot more options during an extended power outage.
What To Do When the Power Goes Out
What now? You have your flashlights, non-perishables, and water, portable phone chargers ready, and a generator is installed… What should you do now?
1. Keep Your Home As Cool As Possible
If there’s a blackout in your area, chances are it’s hot. Keep cool by closing any curtains or shades on the sunny side of your home. Wear light-colored, lightweight clothing and drink plenty of water. If you are looking into a backup generator, consider accounting for a portable fan or ceiling fan when calculating your energy needs.
2. Unplug Your Appliances
Power surges are common during outages and can destroy your appliances. You don't want to be replacing appliances when the power comes back up. To mitigate that risk, unplug any non-essentials until power is restored. You'll have more peace of mind that way. An even safer option is to contact SWFL Electric and ask about surge protection.
3. Stay Tuned
Pay attention to local news sources for information about the outage and when the power companies are expecting to have power restored. A battery-operated radio or a charged smartphone is your best source of up-to-date information.
Get Your Free Generator Comparison Guide
You don't have to settle for a dark house, spoiled food, and fumbling around for flashlights. Instead, you can have your power back on through the help of a generator, quickly and efficiently.
Download our Generator Comparison Guide to start considering which brand and model will be right for your needs.
Get in touch with us today, and we can talk about the size and type of generator that's going to be right for your needs.