Monday, September 14, 2009

Lets Talk Power

The fall storm season is finally here. Personally I love the thunderstorms and wind that accompany the fall season. It seems like a good excuse to take a nap to me. We don't often loose power at our house, and if we do it is back on in a matter of hours. Long term power outages caused by storms are however, popular in other parts of the country as the colder months approach, so I thought I would post some info on how to be prepared for this sort of emergency.

If a severe storm is in your forecast you could be sure to have these one hand. You could have these supplies stored anyway so you are ready for high power demands, weather, anything.

Flashlight and batteries: no brainer
Candles and matches: not the most effective means of light however batteries can get expensive if a long term power outage. I would advice glass enclosed candles, not free standing to reduce the risk of starting a fire.
Battery Powered Lantern: we have something similar to this one, great for camp outs too.
Firewood: store extra. If you have a fireplace or stove this is a great way to both heat your home and cook.
Blankets and Clothing: hats to cover heads, and sleeping bags will provide extra warmth if you don't have heat.
Gas Stove or BBQ: make sure you use these outdoors to cook.
Space Heater: of course it would have to be battery operated for indoor use like this one. Boy do I want this now.
Gas: The last time the power was out here my car was out of gas, and I couldn't get any from near by stations because they were out of power as well. If we were going to be out of heat for a few days mid winter with the kids I would prefer to travel to stay at a friend or relatives home where power and heat were available.
Water: You should have water stored for every emergency. If the power is out the cities purification system may not be functioning correctly. You can boil your tap water to ensure it is safe.

What you Should do
1. Check your breakers and call a neighbor. Determine the area that the power outage encompass. So far it appears that when we are out of power my parents who live on the other side of town still have theirs. When my husbands work has lost power, our home is still warm and light. It is nice to have somewhere else to go if we had to
2. Call your power company. Often companies have automated systems for recording these sort of calls to assist them in returning power promptly.
3. Turn on your outside lights, even if there is no electricity. This helps power companies see who has power and who does not.
4. Turn off and unplug major appliances, like your computer. Surges of power when the power returns could destroy expensive items.
5. Keep the fridge and freezer door shut to preserve food. Fridge food is good for about 4 hours without refrigeration. Freezer food can be good for about 24-36 hours. Fill your fridge and freezer with containers of water quickly to help the freezer stay cooler and for use in preserving food. Eat your fridge food first, than freezer food, than food from your pantry. Coolers are a great way to preserve food if you have a way to purchase block or dry ice.
6. If it is cold, try to keep active to keep warm.
7. Never use outdoor use heaters, grills, or generators in or near your home or garage to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

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