It’s easy to take your power for granted—until it goes out, that is. In the freezing depths of winter, your electric blankets, space heaters and hot chocolate are what keep you sane. This makes winter the season you really need to be prepared for if a power outage strikes. Don’t think that living in a big city will save you, either. Snowstorms can cut off power to thousands of people in a matter of minutes (not to mention powerful winds in the spring and summer). So what should you do? Here are some ideas:

Have a back-up phone charger

One of the biggest challenges that comes with a power outage is staying connected. It’s hard to stay in touch with friends and family when you have no way to communicate with them. If you don’t have a car, or are otherwise unable to get out of your neighborhood, this can be especially difficult.

Fortunately, there are ways around these problems! One easy way is by having a back-up phone charger on hand. In an emergency situation where electricity isn’t available, it helps keep your devices charged so that you can stay connected with those who matter most during these tough times.

Keep cellphones charged in advance

If a power outage is certain, you’ll want to be prepared. It’s important to keep your phone charged in advance. You can use one of the following methods:

  • Power bank (external battery)
  • Car charger
  • Solar charger
  • Wall charger (plugged into an outlet)
  • Portable charger

Have an emergency kit at home and in the car

  • Have a flashlight, batteries and a radio.
  • Keep the phone numbers of your parents, family and close friends in an easy-to-find place.
  • Pack enough supplies to last 3 days: food (non-perishable items), water and blankets.
  • A battery-powered or hand-crank radio is also essential; they’re great for keeping up with news updates during power outages.

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Fill up your gas tank before it’s too late

Did you know that most cars can be powered by the smell of gasoline? That’s right! You don’t need to be plugged into an outlet or a battery to get from Point A to Point B—just pop open the hood and light a match. Of course, if your car is newer than five years old, you may want to try this method first on something else (like an old refrigerator). But hey: what do I know? Maybe there are some newfangled hybrids out there that will run on spilled coffee and dirty laundry. Who knows?

The point is this: fill up your gas tank before it’s too late. Fill up now so that when winter storms hit, you won’t have to worry about where your next batch of fuel will come from or how much of it you’ll need for each trip out of town for groceries or supplies during a power outage!

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Be careful when using candles or flashlights

Make sure you have flashlights and candles on hand for when the power goes out. You may be tempted to just light up a bunch of candles, but there are some things you should keep in mind.

  • Make sure your candles are properly placed so that they won’t tip over or catch anything else on fire.
  • Keep them away from anything that could catch fire (e.g., curtains).
  • Keep them away from your children! There’s nothing more terrifying than hearing the sound of a child screaming because he/she was holding a lit candle while you were out of sight for two seconds. The thought will stay with me forever…

Have enough food and water for your family

If you’re lucky enough to have a generator and extra gas, it’s best to keep your refrigerator and freezer door closed when not in use.

If you don’t have a generator, you should be thinking about what else can be done to keep food safe during an outage. Food that is still cold inside the refrigerator or freezer can last up to two days if kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. To prevent damage from heat buildup, remove all perishables from your refrigerator and store them in an insulated cooler with ice packs or frozen water bottles (or both!). The same goes for items like eggs—they’ll remain fresh for about three days if refrigerated properly.

Keep plenty of nonperishable foods on hand as well—you may need them if power isn’t restored within 72 hours because most grocery stores will be closed during that time period!

All in all, preparing for a winter power outage can seem like a big task. But once you have an emergency kit and survival plan in place, you’ll be ready for anything. The best time to prepare for an emergency is before it happens, so make sure to get your kits together before the next big storm blows through town.