June 24, 2011

Tip of the day—Are you prepared for a power outage?

As y’all know, we had about a day and a half without power at our house.  I joke that we were living like pioneers, but really we didn’t skip much of a beat in our everyday lives.  Hubby stayed home to work on cleaning up the yard, as we had a few trees down.  Other than that we didn’t have any major damage, and we are very thankful for that. 

A few tips that might help with your next power outage:

  • Do you have flashlights in more than one room of your house?  Do you know where they are?  Do you put them back in the same place each time?  Are the batteries charged?  Having a crank charge and solar powered flashlight/radio/weather radio combo came in very handy.
  • Do you have a gas powered chain saw and do you know how to safely use it? 
  • Do you have a few extra tarps and bungies available if you need to cover part of your house if it receives damage?
  • Do you have a plan for what to do in case of a tornado?  Does the entire family know of that plan?
  • Do you have an evacuation route if you need to leave your home and roads are flooded?  Do you have a paper map in each car if your GPS isn’t working?
  • Do you have a way to cook food?  We have a grill and a camp stove.  For breakfast yesterday I made eggs with veggies and eggs in a basket outside and we dined on the back porch. 
  • Do you have activities for the family for when you can’t go outside and play?  Hubby and I worked the crossword puzzle together, and daughter enjoyed reading books.  Card and board games are also a big hit.
  • Yesterday I needed to go to work because of something time sensitive.  I normally iron my clothes right before using them instead of letting them risk getting wrinkled in the closet.  I learned that this really wasn’t the best plan for power outages.  Instead of worrying about bringing a blow dryer to work with me for my hair, I let it air dry for a bit and then tied it into a bun. 
  • Do you know what food is safe at room temperature and what isn’t?  Do you know when you need to start discarding food?  I’ve always heard that the rule of thumb is 24 hours unopened for a refrigerator and 48 unopened for a freezer.  If in doubt, throw it out, though.  I cringed to throw away a full gallon of milk, but I felt better about dumping it than us risking getting sick.  (At the same time, I remembered when I was in the Ukraine for part of the summer and how differently food there is stored.  American views on food safety are not shared by the entire world.)  Luckily, the power was restored before we lost any of the beef and lamb that is in the freezer.  Whew!  We would have been making a lot of BBQ for the weekend!

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