Today's power outages in the Washington, DC area are still in relatively small numbers at the moment and not too worrisome (if it doesn't happen to you). Compare it to the second most widespread blackout in history in 2003, when New York City was in the dark at night and more than 50 Million people were without power, see this video, some even for another two days.
Storms, Blizzards and Tornados are mostly announced well ahead of time, so you can prepare for the time without electricity. But there are sometimes power outages that come totally unexpectedly, so it's useful to have a minimum of equipment handy (see the list at the end of this article).
- fill as many buckets or pitchers with water (the toilet flush does most likely NOT work if you don't have electricity.
- make sure you have lots of candles, lighters, and hopefully flashlights placed in each room.
- fill up lots of water in bottles (water taps usually DON'T run if there is no electricity). Freeze some of these bottles (outside the door if the freezer doesn't work any more, these frozen bottles can also keep your fridge cool for a while.
- heat (in winter) or cool (in summer) the house very well, so when the electricity fails, it keeps at least warm or cool for a couple of hours.
- top off the fuel in your car in case the streets are clear, but the outage is still there, you can drive and use the car heating to warm you up, if your house is icy cold.
- search for board games or playing cards to have them handy for some family fun.
Once the Power Outage Hits:
- the car charger can be used to charge cell phones and other items (if your car battery is good).
- If the power outage takes place in freezing temperatures in winter, try to stay together in one room of the house.
- Cook on your gas camping stove or a hitachi grill - or your outdoor grill. If the outage occurs in Summer, grill as many fish and meat items as possible, wrap them and store between (hopefully) still cool water bottles.
- Prepare coffee, tea and also soups in advance. If you have a Fondue pot which is "powered" by candles or alcohol to run the burner, you can warm up your coffee or even your food, or have a nice fondue dinner with family or friends.
Fondues are very popular in Switzerland, Austria and Germany. You can choose between cheese fondues, meat fondues, Chinese fondues and even chocolate fondues with fruit or marshmallows. All the fondues are very easy to prepare - not to mention how much fun it is to sit together with family and friends for these delightful fondue-party dinners,even with candle lights due to a power outage!
Always Stock These Items:
Dealing with a power outage is much easier if you have prepared in advance. Every household should already have an emergency preparedness kit that will meet the needs of you and your family for three days, advices power company Pepco.
Always keep certain items in the house, such as candles, lighters, flashlights, glow sticks or glow powder (available in party stores or at Amazon), a camping stove, a fondue pot including burning devices, a car charger, a battery-powered radio, a list of important emergency phone numbers.
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst!