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Can you manage for 72 hours?

72 hours is a recommendation concerning preparedness issued by the authorities and organisations. You should be able to survive three days without electricity, heat, water and food. It is important to know the basics of preparedness: for example, where can you find reliable information during an incident, and how can you manage in a home that is losing heat?

Are you prepared? Households’ preparedness is highly significant for society and, above all, for you. This is why it is worth preparing for incidents.

Preparedness is a good idea because our living environment is becoming increasingly challenging. The weather changes rapidly and is unpredictable. The information society depends on electricity, ICT and information networks. A power outage affects our everyday lives very quickly.

No power – what's going on?

Natural phenomena (storms, floods, heavy snowfalls) are causing power outages more often. Repairing the damage may take a long time, as the areas where power has failed may be very large and difficult to reach.

What will I need? You should have...

  • a battery-powered radio and spare batteries
  • a charged phone. Keep your phone fully charged
  • a power bank or a fully charged portable charger for your phone. During a power outage, telephone networks will only operate on battery power for a few hours

Where can I get information about the situation?

You can search for information on the Internet as long as telecommunications are working, there is electricity and your batteries have a charge. Reliable sources of information include Yleisradio channels, the communication channels of municipalities, cities, the police and rescue services, and the channels of electricity and water companies.

Remember that what you read on the social media is not always true.

No water. Are you thirsty...?

You should always keep a few litres of shop-bought bottled water at home. Interruptions to water supply are usually short, but if they continue for a longer period, this may become a problem. We all need about 2 litres of clean drinking water every day. Water is also needed for cooking and personal hygiene. The total need for water is 10 to 20 litres per person a day. In our normal daily lives, we use between 100 and 150 litres of water a day.

Make sure you have sufficiently large containers with tops or stoppers in which you can carry water. If the water supply is interrupted for more than 24 hours, a backup water supply is usually arranged.

When there is no water

  • prepare for the situation by having containers in which you can collect water from distribution points
  • You can only flush the toilet once. After this you can use your water reserves to flush the toilet if you wish. If you do not have a large water supply, you can place a plastic shopping/rubbish bag in the toilet and relieve yourself in it. You can dump the bag with normal mixed waste.

If the water is spoiled or contaminated, smelly, or has an unusual colour

  • do not use contaminated and smelly water that has an unusual colour, and stop other people from using it
  • follow the instructions given by the authorities or the water utility company on water use
  • make sure you have the possibility of boiling water
  • when clean water is again available, make sure you clean all appliances and containers

Where can I find information about water distribution?

  • if the water supply is cut, first contact your housing company’s maintenance services
  • local and regional water utilities have services which provide information and instructions related to incidents that affect water services. Check their websites or contact them by telephone
  • note that a power outage and interruptions in water services also cause problems for wastewater management
  • keep an eye on the information provided by the water utility and the authorities

Keep emergency food supplies...

An incident may force shops to close their doors, or they may run out of certain goods. Note that an illness or an accident may also stop you from going shopping.

You should have enough food for your family and pets for three days.

If power is down, too

  • use any fresh and refrigerated products first
  • keep your freezer closed. Defrosting food from the temperature of -18° C to zero in your freezer will take several days
  • in the winter, move all perishable foods outside. Remember to protect them well

Cooking

Use a campfire, camping stove or barbecue for cooking. Handle fire carefully and follow the instructions of the appliance. Camping stoves and barbecues are generally intended for outdoor use only.

Keep first aid firefighting equipment handy.

Make sure you have a supply of ready-to-eat foods that keep for a long time at home, such as:

  • bottled water and juices
  • fresh fruit, vegetables and tinned foods
  • bread, crisp bread, rice cakes, crackers
  • breakfast cereals, muesli, porridge oats, nuts, seeds
  • dried fruit, including raisins, prunes, dates
  • jams and fruit purees
  • long-life milk and plant-based milk drinks
  • tinned fish, meat and beans
  • snack bars, biscuits, chocolate, crisps

Emergency supplies

Your emergency supplies need not be a separate food store; they can consist of your favourite foods that you would keep at home anyway. The most important thing is that you always have enough food in your cupboards to feed your family and pets for at least 72 hours.

The heating is off – I’m cold...

You always need electricity to heat your home if you do not have a fireplace. Especially in winter, the fact that your home is losing heat quickly becomes a problem. A sturdy stone house with thick walls cools down to less than + 10 degrees in about three days, and wooden houses in about one day. Stoves or fireplaces are good sources of backup heat, but not everyone has them.

Try to stay warm

  • make sure you have a good supply of warm clothes and blankets
  • eat and rest well
  • close windows and keep the front door closed. Avoid going in and out
  • close internal doors to corridors, porches and halls. Block any gaps around the doors or use adhesive tape
  • remember that drinking alcohol is not a good way of keeping warm

If the temperature in your home falls below + 15 ° C

  • close the doors to rooms with external walls or corners and block drafts with adhesive tape, rugs or towels
  • stay in one room and concentrate on keeping it warm
  • cover the windows with thick curtains or blankets and the floor with rugs from other rooms
  • put on warm, breathable clothing and wear several pairs of socks or shoes on your feet. Wear a woolly hat and gloves if you have to.

Sleeping in a cold home

  • move the beds to the warmest room. Use all duvets and blankets you have. A good sleeping bag is excellent for protecting you from the cold
  • snuggle up with your family members and sleep together under shared blankets. One person provides as much heat as a powerful light bulb
  • Make a tent with blankets and other materials, for example under a table, and stay there. If you have an actual tent, put it up and cover it with blankets, duvets and similar. 

Sheltering

Do you recognize the general alarm signal? If you hear a rising and falling signal that lasts for one minute, go indoors and listen for information given by the authorities. If you receive an emergency warning to your phone as a text message, follow the instructions given in it.

When sheltering indoors, you may need the following skills:

  • following instructions issued by the authorities
  • stopping the ventilation system
  • closing windows, doors and vents
  • protecting food and water

Read more:

Map of power outages
72 hours
Emergency supplies
Sheltering