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Drew: How to Prepare for Summer Power Outages

By Samuetta Hill Drew

It is often felt that summer power outages are not as potentially dangerous as winter ones. This is a misnomer, because where the weather is at different extremes making the challenges distant to the climate temperatures, problems/threats still exist for both.
With record heat waves in various parts of our country, summer power outages can quickly become dangerous. It has been reported that power outages in the United States are becoming incredibly common and unfortunately, getting worse.
The reason for this has to do with an aging infrastructure, more frequent severe storms, and challenges sustaining the electric grid as the population continues to grow. Despite how common summer power outages are becoming, few people are prepared, and even fewer people have any indication of what to do if the power goes out.
Therefore, with summer storms still a reality and the upcoming second tornado season approaching in a few months, August safety articles will focus on how to safely prepare for summer power outages. The articles will review best practices to prepare if you find yourself dealing with a power outage situation, whether short or extended. The resources used for these articles will come from several professional individuals and/or organizations well versed on this topic, such as the book The Blackout Book, American Safety Health Institute, and others.
Power outages can be caused by natural disasters, extreme weather (i.e., high winds and summer storms), human error, equipment failure and grid overload. Let’s begin this month’s series outlining two safety summer power outage tips:

Tip One: Create an Emergency Preparedness Kit:
• First aid kit
• Flashlights (one in each room, garage, attic, and basement)
• Extra batteries
• Nonperishable foods
• Plenty of water for every member of your family and pets, if applicable (at least a three-day supply)

Tip Two: Make Emergency Plans for Refrigerated Medicines or using Power-Dependent Medical Devices:
• Speak with your medical provider about how long medications can be stored at high temperatures.
• Get specific guidance for medications and devices that are critical for life.

Keeping an Eye on Safety for summer power outages, whether planned or unexpected, is always a good best practice for you and your family.