how to prepare for a blackout

Sure, you might have items like flashlights and first-aid kits sitting around your place in the event of a blackout — but what about all the other important necessities that can come to the rescue if a power shortage lasts longer than expected?

It can be difficult to determine which items to have handy in the event of an extended power outage (until one happens, of course — then you can think of all the things). And even though you may be surrounded by darkness come nightfall, you can help the situation feel a lot lighter just by preparing for a blackout in advance. Here are some helpful pointers.

charge cell phones and other important electronics in advance

The importance of a fully-charged cell phone speaks for itself — it's an invaluable communication device if you need to contact family members or emergency services in a major blackout. You may also want to charge laptops, tablets, and even gaming devices for entertainment purposes.

And if a power outage is expected, be sure to download and print out any important documents like directions to emergency shelters and health insurance ID cards, to name a couple, while you still have internet service.

Pro tip: Purchase solar chargers for your cell phone and other electronic devices so you can still juice them up during a power failure.

keep an emergency supply kit

First-aid kits may cover the basics like bandages and alcohol swabs (which are still important!), but you're going to need more than that if your power goes out for an extended period. Here are a few essentials to have on hand before disaster strikes:

  • Flashlights (and only flashlights — candles can cause fires)
  • 3 days' worth of nonperishable food items for each member of your family
  • Manual can opener
  • Extra batteries (make sure to consider the different types you may need)
  • A battery-powered radio and walkie-talkies
  • A wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Local maps
  • A whistle to signal for help, if need be
  • Prescription medications
  • Blankets and warm clothing
  • Cash
  • 3 days' worth of water for each family member
  • A fire extinguisher
  • Copies of important documents
  • Infant formula and diapers, if you have a little one

Don't forget about your furry friends

When putting together your emergency supply kit, don't forget about Fido and Fluffy. They'll need extra food and water too, plus a place to relieve themselves. If you can't leave your house because of a major storm, put down puppy pads and/or keep an extra litter box in your safe-room. Having garbage bags with twist-ties can help keep things sanitary.

listen to local authorities

Remember that battery-powered (or hand-crank) radio we mentioned earlier? It's going to be one of the only ways you can check in on updates from local authorities regarding when the power will be restored, when outdoor conditions are safe again, and any other need-to-know info.

know how to locate and use your garage door’s manual lever

Just because the power's out, it doesn't mean you won't need to leave your home for whatever reason (assuming it's safe to do so, of course). Luckily, your ride isn't stuck in your garage just because of a power outage — there's a release lever on every electric garage door that you can use to manually open it. It's always wise to locate the lever and learn how to use it before a potential issue arises.

take steps to preserve the food in your fridge

Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors shut as much as you possibly can. According to Ready.gov — a site organized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help people get through natural disasters and other difficult circumstances — an unopened refrigerator can keep your food cold for about 4 hours, while an unopened freezer can keep food frozen for up to 48 hours. For even more tips on maintaining emergency food supplies, make sure to check out Ready.gov's excellent resources on the topic.

It's important to note that many home insurance companies don't cover damage to your appliances if you experience a power surge due to anything other than lightning. Esurance, on the other hand, can provide financial protection for your appliances regardless of whether or not the power surge resulted from lightning.

What's more, we'll provide coverage of up to $500 for food spoiled as the result of an extended power outage, so all your fancy condiments and organic produce can be replaced without breaking the bank. How's that for some extra peace of mind?

get reliable homeowners insurance from esurance

In addition to top-notch financial protection for things like power surges and spoiled food after an extended power outage, Esurance offers coverage for your home's structure, your personal liability, your belongings, and even additional living expenses if a covered incident renders your house temporarily unlivable.

We're confident you'll see all the benefits of joining the Esurance family when you get your quick, free homeowners insurance quote online, or by giving us a call at 1-866-439-5633. Our experienced agents are here to help at these times.

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Get your free quote online

or call 1-866-439-5633