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No Juice - Losing Electricity

Randy DeVaul

Posted on September 14, 2019 10:26

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Power outages are not fun nor are they convenient. But, we all must be prepared when it happens. Follow these tips to keep you and your family safe at home.

Whether it’s a thunderstorm or an ice storm, a downed tree or a crashed vehicle, losing power is inconvenient and it can be dangerous. You can only stock up on so many batteries for flashlights, radios, and portable televisions. Bottled water, non-perishable foods that don’t require cooking, propane or charcoal for the grill – all run out in a prolonged outage. And that is hoping that you had some in the house in the first place.

The first thing that always comes to my mind is refrigerator and freezer contents.  That is generally where you have the largest cash investment and what has the greatest potential for ill effects, both to the thawing food and to you attempting to salvage or eat it.  Eggs, mayonnaise, and leftovers should be at the top of your discard list. Frozen meats, once partially thawed and thriving on wildlife known as bacteria, should not be refrozen to save for another time. Unless it is for a planned dinner for your in-laws. And you don’t eat with them.

The Home Safety Council suggests that you store up on batteries for flashlights rather than candles. The candles will last longer, but the flashlight won’t catch your curtains on fire, which will cause a secondary (and longer-term) emergency. Additionally, have on hand some ready-to-eat canned foods (can’t cook it, right?) and at least one manual can opener. Without that, your food will remain safe but you won’t get to eat it.

If you do plan to use your grill to cook “a la hurricane,” do it outside your house.  And make sure you fully cook the food. Thinly-cut meats always thaw first, so early on, our whole neighborhood depleted the hot dogs, hamburgers, and fish sticks and the kids loved the block party ice cream. Three days later we were feasting on steaks, roasts, and, well, I digress. My point: be selective and use your early-perishables first. Omelets on the grill are quite tasty so eggs don’t go to waste as does leftover soup.

Turn off electrical equipment before the power comes back on. If your house is running wide open with two televisions, the computer, all of your lights, and the furnace when the power goes out, you could be in for a very rude power surge when the power is restored. Adjust your thermostat and turn off your window air conditioners. It’s not like you can use them, anyway.

If you have a generator, make sure it can’t “back flow” current and that it is designed to cut off when the power comes back on.  Finally, if you can pay back your in-laws by going for a short-term visit, take your neighbor’s phone number and get familial. The showers are worth that alone.

Plan for power disruptions. They are going to happen. Knowing what you will do and how to do it before you need to know it will keep you and yours safe at home.

Randy DeVaul

Posted on September 14, 2019 10:26

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