Yesterday's bad weather took our power out at 6:p.m. Just as I was going to prepare dinner! Of course, we have all electric here, and oil central heating, which of course doesn't work without the electric pump. Just as well my mum had rung just before, or the dinner would have been half way through cooking!
(I was pleased that I had bought the 6 pack of parrafin lanterns off ebay, the previous week. Ironically, we had bought a couple extra to lend out in emergencies.)
It was handy that we always had an emergency plan for when such things happen, and I am partly writing this to encourage others to do the same.
Hubby took a while to set up the gas in the caravan, and then I was able to cook the dinner. Having the paraffin lanterns meant we had light in the house, too. We also had a camping gas stove, which was excellent for heating up hot water for tea, and coffee, and washing up.
For heating, we have a log burning stove, and failing that a paraffin heater which is 6KW, and has a built in safety feature, so if it is knocked it cuts out. You can fuel them with home heating oil, as it is exactly the same as paraffin.
One of the reasons we have always been prepared, is our experience of the winter of 1994 in rural west wales. We were 3 days without power, and all the candles, lamps etc in the shops had sold out. We did have a camping stove, and we used it to heat up water for the neighbour's baby. They couldn't make up the formula. Also, we were off for days in rural Scotland.
So, would you have the bare essentials in a power cut? They are set to become common place, as the UK struggles with demand, and not enough power stations.
Here is my list of essentail items:
1) Candles with holders, paraffin lanterns, paraffin, torches, and extra batteries for lighting. Solar torches are fab. I bought one off ebay cheaply, a while back. Wind up troches are great, too.
2) Something to cook on. Obviously, if you have a stove, or gas cooker anyway, then this will still work, unless the gas is cut off! So, it still is an idea to have something to hand in emergency. A gas ring is great, and these can be bought from argos, are compact, and the gas bottles are tiny, making them easy to store.
3) Something to keep you warm- I think it is bad idea to build houses without chimneys, as an open fire or log burner is a good way to keep warm during a power outage. A small paraffin, or gas heater is ideal otherwise.
4) If you can afford it, a small generator will stop your freezers defrosting, if the power cut is to last beyond 24 hours. These run off either diesel, or petrol, and you can get quieter ones now, and quite small ones, for use with caravans.
As with everything, take care to keep all lighting out of the reach of small children, and out of the way of fire hazards. If you do not have a carbon monoxide detector, or smoke alarm, then get one fitted now.