Whether the result of a storm or a regional blackout like the one in August 2003, multiple systems can be affected when the electricity goes out for any reason. It’s a good idea to have certain emergency preparations in place at all times, to stave off hunger and cold in case our power, water, or other support systems are interrupted for an extended period. The first step is to consider alternatives to our usual ways of doing things.
Many of us have gone without power (and natural gas, for that matter,) for several days after a winter storm. Most boilers and furnaces will not function without electricity. An alternative power source, such as a portable 5000-to-8000 watt generator, can keep the heat going (so long as you have fuel for the generator,) plus power the refrigerator and some lights. There are switching panels that can be installed in the main service box by a licensed electrician, which will allow the house wiring to distribute output from the generator. For many people, however, the cost of this system will be prohibitive; a small generator and panel will run well over $2000.