Friday, November 4, 2011

Surviving Power Outages! Your How-to Guide

I have been without power for 7 days now, and my school has been closed for a whole week due to a snow storm in OCTOBER! On October 30th 2011, a snow storm hit Connecticut and everyone lost power. I am still without power, so I decided to make a guide on how to survive snow storms and power outages. Here's how I do it!

Step 1: Keep yourself informed so you know about a storm before it happens!
You want to make sure that you pay attention to the news. Watch the weather reports, check your iPhone's weather app, check with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, just make sure you always stay in the loop, and know when a storm is coming up. Don't ignore the information you hear, you're better safe than sorry!

Step 2: Prepare by stocking up on these items! Here is a list of all the things you should buy extra of, in case your house loses power. Make sure you buy these before you lose power:
Flashlights: You need these to see. It's best to buy the big yellow ones if you are going to need a lot of light, or leave it on for a while. I recommend buying a lot of flashlights so you can keep at least one in each of the main rooms in your house. I keep one in each bedroom, the kitchen, family room, living room, foyer, and one on my key chain. If you need to do something that will take a few minutes such as brushing your teeth, you can always use a big yellow flashlight and place it so it's light points towards the ceiling. It's like a mini lamp!
Lanterns: Lanterns are great to have when you will need light for a long time. Don't waste your flashlight's battery if you are going to need light for a really long time. Even the big yellow flash lights die after a while. Lanterns are good to have so you can keep them on while cooking, doing homework, taking a shower, getting ready in the morning, or any other activity that takes a long time.
Batteries: Extra batteries are a must-have! You need to keep some extra batteries to power flash lights, lanterns, clocks, radios, and any other battery-powered device you will be using. You need to keep a stash of a few different kinds of batteries. The big yellow flashlights require the big square batteries, other flashlights need D batteries, smaller ones use double A (AA), and the ones on key chains often need triple A (AAA) batteries. Make sure you find out which sizes to buy. Batteries are going to be your main source of power now, so you don't want to run out!
Radio: I always have a battery-powered radio on hand when the power goes out. There is no way to check if there is going to be school the next day without one because the TV and internet don't work so the radio is the way to go. You can also use this for music when you're bored.
Battery-powered clock: If you need to wake up in the morning at a certain time, it's good to have a battery-powered alarm clock so you don't sleep in and miss work/school.
Blankets: Everyone needs blankets to stay warm. Make sure you have a ton of really warm ones. I like fleece blankets and I layer extra blankets on top when it gets really cold. Snuggies are also great for staying warm. My sister has a suggie and she loves it. She said it keeps her as warm as she would be if she was wrapped up in blankets in bed. I think I want to get one too. :)
Food: If there are restaurants open around you, you can go there for dinner, and maybe lunch, but for breakfast and other meals you don't want to or can't leave your house, you're going to want to have food at home. I recommend getting a bunch of chips, peanut butter crackers, bread and peanut butter and jelly for pb&j sandwiches, milk and cereal, trail mix, other food that doesn't need refrigeration or to be warmed up.
Slippers: Slippers are always useful when walking around your house. You absolutely need a pair if you have tiles in your house because when there is no power to heat up your house, the floor gets really cold! I wear socks inside my slippers for extra warmth. This leads us to our next item on the list, socks.
Socks: This week I have gone through a ton of socks. I wore three pairs of socks every day, especially while now shoveling, unless it was a day when I wore fuzzy socks. On those days I only wore two pairs. Make sure you have a bunch of socks so you can keep your feet warm. Wear as many pairs as you can comfortably fit into your shoes, because it gets really cold!
Underwear: It's important to have lots of extra underwear before the power goes out, so make sure you do your laundry and have enough clean underwear to last you a couple weeks. You will not be able to wash underwear without power, so make sure you won't run out!
Leggings: I wore leggings every day underneath my pants. I usually wore leggings and skinny jeans on top when I went places, and in my house I wear leggings under sweat pants. They keep you really warm!
Gloves/Scarves/Hats: Use these items to keep you warm. If you buy a set that match, you can stay cute and warm at the same time!

Step 3: Do these easy tasks before you lose your power!
Turn the heat way up: One of the worst things you have to survive is living in a cold house. Once your power is gone, there is no way to heat it, and the temperature starts dropping. This is why it's important to turn up your heat before a storm so when you lose the power, your house is nice and hot. It will stay warmer longer.
Put flash lights and candles around the house: Put one flashlight in all the important rooms (each bedroom, the kitchen, family room, living room, foyer, garage, anywhere else you need light), and put candles and lanterns around the house for rooms that will need light longer.
Do laundry: When the power goes out, you will not be able to do laundry, so make sure you wash all your clothes and have enough clean underwear, sweatshirts, leggings, etc.
Clean the house: Clean your house before the power goes out so you won't have to worry about doing so when there is no light. This will also help you avoid tripping over stuff in the darkness. And who wants to worry about doing dishes in a cold, dark, house?
Gather wood for fires: To keep warm, my family and a lot of other families light up their fireplaces. You need to have enough wood to keep the fire going, so pile up a lot of wood in your garage, or somewhere that you will have easy access to. My family has had a fire going non-stop for all 7 days of the power outage, and we have a big wood pile in our backyard, so we bring a lot into the garage so it's easier to get when needed.
Wash your hair: If you know the fire is going to go out, wash your hair before it does so you won't have to deal with wet hair when it gets really cold.
Cook a nice meal: Once there is no electricity, you won't be able to cook, so make yourself one last home-cooked meal before you lose the chance.

Step 4: Keep warm!
When the power goes out, there is no way to heat your house, so you need to find other ways to stay warm. I light fires in my fireplace, use tons of blankets, always wear layers of clothing and socks, and have candles all over the place. You should also close all your doors and windows to keep in the heat, and when you leave your house, go through your garage because it acts as a buffer to the outside air. When you open the garage door you let in less heat than you would if you opened a door that lead straight outside. When you are outside, wear gloves, hats, scarves, warm boots, and a warm coat to keep your body heat.

Step 5: Find somewhere to go during the day!
This step is easy to do for those of you who go to work, just go to your work! If your work is closed, or you don't have a job, this is harder to do. If you can, stay home and keep a fire going, but if you can, find somewhere else to go. For three days, I went to my old high school where my sister goes now, because I have friends there and the school has a generator. It's a boarding school, so they serve all three meals, have heat, internet, and many buildings to go. I spent time in the library doing homework so I wouldn't have to worry about it later. For two of the days, I went to my dad's work and basically used my computer on their internet all day in an empty office. If you can find places like these or a library to go during your day, it will be much more enjoyable.

Step 6: Once you have all of this done, just occupy yourself until the power comes back!
Some things you can do are:
-go to work
-read books
-do homework
-get ahead on homework
-learn how to cook in your fireplace
-read my blog :) (if you have access to the internet)
-make s'mores in your fireplace

These are all the things you need to do to survive a power-outage comfortably. Of course the best thing to do is buy a generator, but if you don't have one, or can't afford one, following these instructions is the best way to go! I hope this helped you all, and stay warm!

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