Power outages are common, and are becoming more common as the weather has become more erratic due to climate change. It is important to have a plan in place to handle a power outage, whether the outage is brief or extended.
The two most common problems in a power outage are the inability to charge your feeding pump, and not having access to refrigeration for formula or blenderized meals. Those who make blenderized meals daily may also not be able to use a blender without power.
Make sure you have a plan in place ahead of time to handle a power outage by having supplies on hand that can be used without power.
Suggested Supplies for Power Outages
Gravity feeding bags
60ml syringes that can be used for bolus feeds
Shelf-stable formula or commercial blenderized meals
Sterile or distilled water, if you lose your water source when the power is out
Additional Helpful Supplies
Inverter or DC to AC car charger, to charge the pump in a vehicle
Marine battery with inverter
Cooler and pre-frozen ice packs
Tip: Keep your pump running on its charger whenever you are home, so it will be more likely to be partially or fully charged during a power outage.
Feeding During a Power Outage
There are several different methods you can feed during a power outage. These include:
Gravity bags: these bags slowly drip formula by gravity. The roller wheel can be adjusted up or down to control the rate of the feed. This is the best option for children with GJ-tubes and those on continuous feeds. Note that a regular Infinity feeding bag can be converted to a gravity bag in an emergency. Follow the instructions on this blog for more information.
Syringe: Individuals can continue to receive bolus feeds by syringe as normal during a power outage. If a child is very sensitive to volume, the formula or food can be placed in a syringe and pushed a few milliliters every few minutes. Will this is labor-intensive, it works!
Running the Pump off a Generator, Marine Battery, or Car Charger: You can also power your pump with a variety of external sources, including a generator, a marine battery, or a car charger. Make sure you follow all proper protocols in setting up and running these systems so they are safe for your family and your feeding pump.
Notify Your Power Company and Local Emergency Services
Your electricity supplier likely has a plan in place and a standard application form for individuals requiring life-supporting medical equipment. The company places your name on a registry and tags your meter to prevent sudden disconnection. While most companies do not guarantee priority restoration, most will that they will make a strong effort to prioritize your repair whenever possible.
If a severe storm or other weather-related event is anticipated, it may be wise to remind your local fire department or paramedics in advance of your situation.