Sunday, June 24, 2012

What To Do BEFORE the Power Goes Out

I'm writing this as the Gulf Coast is getting hit by Tropical Storm Debby. I'm about 40 miles inland and we're getting plenty of rain and some gusty winds, but nothing serious. I have noticed Facebook posts about flickering lights and the concern of power loss, and I've seen predictions that this storm may linger over us for the next two or three days, so it occurred to me that once the power goes out there's no accessing information on the web, so here are some things you can do now to be prepared in case your power goes out.

*  Have drinking water available
*  Fill your bathtub with water. This can be used for drinking, washing and flushing the toilets. Be careful if you have small children - lock the bathroom door for safety.
*  Freeze gallons of water before losing power to place in the refrigerator when the power goes out. This will keep the temperature colder and also give you additional drinking water as the ice melts.
*  Turn your fridge and freezer to the lowest setting to help your food last longer. If the power goes out, keep freezer doors closed as much as possible.
*  Charge your cell phones now! Have a car charger handy to recharge your phone any time you drive.
*  Have a supply of canned and dried instant food that doesn't necessarily need to be heated.  Some ideas are:
        canned tuna, chicken, beef
        canned fruits and vegetables
        dried fruits
        whole grain crackers
        peanut butter
        granola bars
        canned soup and chili
        juice - single serving juice boxes don't need to be refrigerated and can be stored easily

*  Make sure you have a manual can opener handy.
* Have coolers available. Use ice and frozen water jugs to keep food cold. When power goes out eat the perishable food first.
*  Gather and place supplies in an area easy to find if the lights go out and you're in the dark.
*  Include disposable utensils, paper plates, bowls and cups in your supplies.
*  Know how to override your electric garage door.

* Some other handy items to have are:
    FLASHLIGHTS / battery powered lanterns 
    *You can make an luminescent lamp by placing a headlamp around a opaque gallon jug of water
    Battery operated radio and BATTERIES!
    Matches or a lighter
    camping stove or grill (not to be used indoors)
    non electronic games - board games and cards

If you lose power, unplug elecrical equipment and disconnect appliances (stove) and anything you were using when the power went out. When power is restored an electrical surge could damage your equipment if it is still plugged in.
Leave one light on so you'll know when the power comes back on.
Remember your neighbors - check on the elderly, chlderen who may be home alone when the power went out, those with disabilities etc


PS - As I was writing this post guess what? I lost power. When the lights came back on a few minutes later I postponed the blog to turn on NOAA weather radio and to place flashlights on the kitchen table where I can find them if I need to. Once I post this, I'll finish gathering supplies and placing them in a convenient spot.

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