Unexpected weather is sweeping the planet, making power outages more frequent. Whether you live in an area where this is common or a new phenomenon, it’s essential to prepare for increased comfort and safety. Learn the best ways to manage the cold until the lights come back on with our 5 strategies for coping with sudden power loss in cold weather:
1. Have A Pre-Storm Checklist
Your local weather team and community will do their best to warn residents of an upcoming storm. Use a day or two before the projected weather event to take precautionary measures to stay warm and ensure adequate water supply. Here are some of the most impactful ways to prepare your home for the freeze when there’s a power loss:
- Ensure sufficient supplies for generators, if applicable.
- Obtain heating and lighting materials, like firewood, flashlights and batteries for safety detectors.
- Reach out to vets to seek professional advice on how to keep pets safe.
- Get warm clothes and blankets out of storage and into accessible areas, and prioritize protecting extremities.
- Fill bathtubs with clean water if pipes freeze. Insulate water supplies if necessary.
- Fully charge all phones and battery banks. Turn devices off or on airplane mode when not in use.
- Create a list of meals you can have without usual amenities.
Brief everyone in the home about rules for riding out the outage so everyone is on the same page, such as where the emergency kit and supplies are. Additionally, connect with loved ones to ensure everyone has an action plan to minimize mental health stressors, especially if your phones stop working.
2. Remain Calm
The advice feels useless in a stressful situation but is the most important for the greater good. It’s essential to stay calm when preparing before an outage and enduring one, mainly in warmer climates like Texas that rarely get winter-related power outages.
Alerts of cold weather conditions and power loss may cause scarcities in communities. Consider the toilet paper crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay level-headed and fair while navigating what is best for your household and neighborhood.
Calmness must translate to communications you have with local authorities and power companies. Every helping party receives curious calls for updates. It’s best to reduce panic-induced calls so professionals can dedicate their full attention to fixing the problem. You can request periodic updates, but staying warm should be your top priority.
3. Fortify The House
The building you’re in needs as much attention as you do. There are ways to keep your warmth close to you and make the place as safe as possible. You can do several small things even after a freeze begins if you don’t have enough time to prepare, such as:
- Unplugging all electronics to avoid power surge damage.
- Closing all blinds and curtains.
- Bringing necessary supplies into a localized area.
- Putting towels or rugs in drafty areas, such as under doors.
- Keeping all doors and windows closed as much as possible.
4. Balance Movement And Caloric Intake
It feels good to hunker down in a sea of blankets, but it isn’t ideal for keeping blood flowing and bodily temperatures high. Always include movement and a healthy diet when possible. You should avoid leaving the building unless necessary, primarily if storms felled trees or powerlines. Workout and increase morale within your space instead, and gain more benefits by layering winter workout clothes in this way:
- Use wicking material on the layer closest to the skin. If you sweat, replace it with dry clothes after the workout to stay warm.
- Put an insulating material over the wicking layer.
- Wear windbreaking fabrics on the outermost layer.
Eat regularly, even if the cold is messing with your appetite. It may be best to have smaller portions and graze to have a gradual, consistent intake. Food helps with body temperatures, energy and mood. Keep caffeine and alcohol out of reach, even if they’re warm or you feel bored. These substances make your body less effective at regulating.
5. Know What Needs Medical Attention
The most prominent concerns of power loss are frostbite and hypothermia. To alleviate the volume of local medical facilities working overtime during an outage, learn how to prevent and detect early signs of these conditions. Notice skin color changes, numbing sensations, cognitive decline, breathing issues and movement impairment.
You must also pay attention to food, water and medication safety. Freezing temperatures impact the quality of these life-saving resources. For example, a drug’s effectiveness might change when exposed to irregular conditions and water treatment systems may not work.
Keeping Morale High When Temperatures Are Low
Frost might cover the windows, but warmth will eventually return. Do as much preparation and research as you can while listening to the recommendations of local experts. Using these strategies, you and your loved ones can ride out a power outage in the most comfortable way possible.