Imagine being curled up on the couch, engrossed in a good book, when suddenly…the lights begin to flicker. You squint at the page, hoping your eyes are just playing tricks on you. But then, with a final dramatic sputter, the whole room plunges into complete darkness. 

As the wind continues to whip outside, you notice the room seemingly getting colder with every minute that passes. You curse yourself for ignoring the weatherman’s warnings earlier about the incoming blizzard, and dismissing it as another overblown forecast in Indianapolis. Now, here we are, having to push aside peace and solitude for a crash course in power outage survival.

Before the Outage: How To Prepare for a Power Outage

If you’ve lived in Indianapolis for awhile, this likely isn’t your first rodeo when it comes to power outages during winter. Those pre-blizzard or severe winter weather warnings might seem like dramatic theatrics, but trust us – that enthusiastic weatherman was probably onto something.

One thing to keep in mind about winter weather in the Indianapolis area – even if the storm fizzles out, random power outages do occur, and they will most definitely disrupt your cozy sanctuary. The best way to avoid adding extra stress during an already stressful time is to be prepared beforehand. Here’s what your power outage survival kit should include:

original infographic on things to have for a power outage
  • Light Sources: Flashlights (don’t forget the extra batteries!), a headlamp for hands-free use, and a few candles will provide enough light, so you aren’t left sitting in complete darkness or left draining the battery on your phone for multiple hours. Let’s face it, while the flashlight function on your phone is convenient and a good, temporary solution, reserving your phone’s precious juice for emergencies or staying connected with friends, neighbors, and loved ones is more important.
  • Food & Water: No need to head to the store and grab milk, eggs, and bread… Instead, stock up on non-perishable food items that don’t require cooking, like canned goods and granola bars. Don’t forget a manual can opener! Also, include a decent supply of bottled water to stay hydrated.
  • Warmth: Frigid temperatures are hard to keep out of your home during a power outage. That’s why it’s important to have extra blankets, sleeping bags, and plenty of warm clothes on hand.
  • Communication: When the power is out, have an alternative way to receive weather-related updates. The best way is by including a battery-powered radio in your kit. Another great thing to keep in your kit is a fully charged portable phone charger. This often overlooked – but important – item can be a lifesaver.
  • First-Aid Kit: Be prepared for minor injuries with a well-stocked first-aid kit containing essential medical supplies, like bandages, antiseptic wipes, and any medications you rely on.
  • Cash: ATMs and any other debit card reading machines will more than likely be out of service during a power outage. Having some cash on hand can save you a great deal of headache if you find yourself needing to make unexpected purchases.

During the Outage: Stay Safe & Informed

The first and most important thing you should do once the lights go out is not panic. Although power outages aren’t a daily occurrence, they can happen often. If you are able to, alert your power company of the outage, so they can get your power back up and running as soon as possible. After that, go ahead and dig out your power outage survival kit, pull out those flashlights and headlamps, throw a couple extra blankets on your lap, and get comfy.

Since you can never tell how long the power will be out, you must conserve your resources. Resist opening the refrigerator or freezer unless absolutely necessary. Every time you open the doors, precious cold air escapes, shortening the lifespan of your perishables. If the doors stay closed, food inside will stay safe for up to 4 hours in the refrigerator while a full freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours.

The only thing now is to find something to pass the time. Whether that’s playing games, reading a book, or playing a challenging game of hide and seek in the dark, try to make the most of the situation – after all, it’s only temporary!

The Power of a Fireplace During a Power Outage

If you happen to have a wood-burning fireplace or stove in your home, consider yourself one of the lucky ones! Not only will your fireplace or stove be a reliable heat source…it can also provide a soft light, allow you to warm up some of your perishable foods, and even improve the morale in your home during these stressful times. A crackling fire can be incredibly comforting when the world around you is pitch black.

But before you start relying on that fireplace or stove, be sure to have it properly inspected and swept before the winter season arrives. Soot buildup and creosote can not only decrease efficiency, but also pose a serious fire hazard – something you don’t want to be worrying about while the power is out.

Reach Out Today

Don’t wait until a power outage hits to discover your fireplace isn’t ready. Contact Smalling Masonry today at 317-903-8121 or by scheduling an appointment right here on our website. With a little preparation and a trusty fireplace, you can weather any winter storm Indianapolis throws your way!