Introduction: Basic Security Guide When There's No Electricity

About: Roger Gallager is a communications Specialist with expertise in marketing. He is also a freelance writer. He has written about a range of topics including saving, money tips, home improvement, and the constru…

If there’s one thing we’ve witnessed about hurricane Sandy is that things can go so much worse without electricity.  Our lives are dependent on electricity  that we become so limited, even to a standstill when there’s a power outage.  It’s not like in Bangladesh where people experience power outages at 250 days/year.  Meaning, if it’s a daily occurrence, people learn to adapt to it.  We, on the other hand, are vulnerable during this type of situations. 

During power blackouts, we become easier targets for burglary among other crimes of opportunity.  Sometimes, getting ourselves out of our comfort zones produces a mild state of panic where we fail to focus on priorities like installing DSC Alarm Systems for security and protection.  Here is a guide on what we should immediately check during blackouts.

Step 1:

Secure doors and windows. It is important to have deadbolts on our doors and windows, these are our basic defense.  Keep them locked, and have the keys close to you.

Step 2:

Assemble an emergency kit. Have these items on hand and make sure they can last for at least 72 hours.

• A can opener
• Blankets
• A whistle
• Flashlight and batteries
• Portable radio
• At least 1 gallon of water per person a day
• Non-perishable food such as canned goods and granola bars
• An extra set of clothes and durable shoe wear
• Items to help pass the time, such as a deck of cards or a board game
• A first aid kit that includes prescription drugs as needed
• Supplies such as duct tape and plastic so you can build a “shelter in place” if necessary. You can make smaller versions of this kit for your car or office and stock it with practical items for either setting.

Step 3:

Know where to find water. As mentioned in No. 1, you ideally should have a supply of water stocked away for yourself and your family — but what if you don’t?

Make a mental note of “hidden” water supplies. In a real emergency, you could drain water from the drain spout of a water heater or from pipes inside your home. Also, you could let the ice in ice-cube trays melt, or even use water from your toilet storage or reserve tank if chemicals haven’t been used in it. Other sources exist outside your home, such as rainwater, rivers, ponds and lakes. In most cases you should purify such water by boiling it.

Step 4:

Avoid shock and electrocution. Never do any of these things:

• Operate a generator in rainy or wet conditions.
• Touch a generator with wet hands.
• Use electrical appliances that have gotten wet.
• Touch exposed cables or electrical wires in your home.
• Get near or touch downed or sagging power lines outside.
• Engage in an extremely dangerous practice known as “back feeding,” which involves connecting a generator to your home’s wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet without the use of an appropriate power transfer switch.

Step 5:

Protect yourself from hypothermia. Hypothermia sets in when a person’s body temperature plummets. Symptoms include uncontrolled shivering, slow or unclear speech, extreme tiredness, difficulty walking, confusion, semi-consciousness or unconsciousness.

To avoid this condition, wear layers of warm clothing and warm coverings for your head, hands and feet; change into a new set of dry clothes if your clothing gets wet; and find or build some form of shelter to stay as warm as possible. 

(Note: Your vehicle could serve as the shelter you need, and your life could be saved if you have extra clothing and supplies packed in your trunk.)

Step 6:

Don’t get overheated. If the power goes out when it’s hot outside, take these steps:

• Stay in the lowest level of your home where it will be coolest.
• Put on light-weight, light-colored clothing; drink lots of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty.
• Remember to give your pets fresh, cool water.
• Visit a functioning air-conditioned premise around the area.

Step 7:

Have an evacuation plan.  At some point, you may have to evacuate either due to the wrath of Mother Nature or your overall safety is at risk from an intruder.  Make sure you have access to exits and easy mobility en route to safer ground.

Reminder: The ravage of hurricane Sandy posed a lot safety and security issues that may set a new standard.  During this period of power outage or disaster, wireless home security system with a cellular monitoring solution is the best choice. With a cellular monitoring option, wireless security systems can contact a monitoring station despite a local power outage. If you decide to use a broadband-based monitoring option, it’s important to get an additional power supply backup for your Internet router or else your system cannot contact outside help in the event of a break in.