There are many readers in the Texas area without power right now. Here in Virginia and in the Northwest we had a round of this a few days ago. In the mid-Atlantic we are expecting another round tonight. I hope you all stay safe during this time, I’m thinking of you.
National Power Outage Map
We are fortunate and power or not my wife and I will be fine. We had our house wired for running off a generator when we moved in and I upgraded the generator this past spring. It isn’t a Home Standby Generator (too pricey for me) but it does just fine. We also have a fireplace. We are on well and septic and the generator handles that.
Previously we had dealt with many outages. I remember when Hurricane Gaston rolled through here we were without power for nearly a week. Here are some things I’ve learned (if you’ve anything to add, please do):
Food & Water
– Clean and rinse your tubs and fill them with water. This water can be used for bathing and to refill the toilet tanks, not for drinking.
– Fill as many drinking containers as you can for drinking water and cooking.
– Make preps for your food. Pre-cooking some of it is a good idea. If it’s warm out you’ll need ice and more of it than you think. If it’s cold out then your cooler can be set outside but away from where any animals can get at it. Believe it or not racoons, bears, possums, foxes, and dogs can all open your cooler.
– Load up on canned food and get a manual can opener.
– Keep everything you have fully charged right until the power goes out. Shut your phone down if unneeded. If you’ve multiple phones you and your family can rotate having them on.
– On that subject, get more batteries and charge up those rechargeables.
– Keep your generator in good repair and run it a few times a year. Go out before the storm and start it. Trying to fix it after the power is already out sucks.
– Consider a dual-fuel generator.
– The generator needs to be OUTSIDE. A garage is NOT outside. Depending on where you live, you may need to chain it up. Desperate times…
– Gas up and safely store the fuel. As a few readers recommended to me when I had an issue, use ethanol free gas if you can find it. Consider several backup gas cans, if you don’t have power the gas stations near you may not have it either.
– Make use of surge suppressors. ESPECIALLY your electronics. Consider an Uninterruptible Power Supply. I fried a laptop during Hurricane Gaston despite it being plugged in to a surge strip. Stupidly, I still haven’t bought one…
– Generator safety is key: American Red Cross, Generator Safety Tips | Consumer Reports, Generator Safety Tips | Energy.gov, Using Portable/Emergency Generators Safely
– Keep up with your chores ahead of time. Clean the dishes, clothes, etc.
– Never a bad idea to have paper plates and plastic cups and utensils around.
– Got gas or charcoal for your grill?
– If you have a chainsaw, prep that too.
– If it’s below freezing open the cabinets under all the sinks. It helps keep the pipes from freezing.
– Gas up your vehicles. DO NOT use the vehicles to get warm. People are dying from this.
– Candles are a great source of light but are also a fire hazard.
– Please don’t let your pets suffer outside.
– Dig out those old board games and a deck of cards!
– Look out for one another!
– “body heat”, just sayin’…
– Beer, don’t forget the beer.