When the power goes out in your home, your first concerns are likely making sure that you have flashlights, candles and cell phones ready so that you can see and stay connected with friends or family.
However, there are other things to reflect on if you want to be properly prepared for a longer outage. By considering the big picture, you will be able navigate through an outage with far greater success.
The first thing to deal with is food and water safety. When the power goes out for more than four hours, there are some ways to preserve your food longer. For instance:
- Keep the doors to the freezer and refrigerator closed as much as possible.
- Pack highly perishable refrigerator goods like dairy products, meat and eggs into an ice filled cooler.
- A freezer that is half full will maintain its contents safely for 24 hours. Food in a full freezer will last safely for up to 48 hours.
- Keep a food thermometer on hand to test perishable food before cooking or eating it. Food that is warmer than 40 degrees should simply be discarded.
To enjoy safe water, use bottled or boiled.
You can also treat your own water by filtering it through a clean cloth or coffee filters. To disinfect water using bleach, add 1/8th teaspoon of unscented household bleach per gallon of clear water or 1/4 teaspoon per gallon of cloudy water. Let it stand for 30 minutes or more before using it.
You will need to stay comfortable in summer or winter extremes. In the summer, try to drink some water every 20 minutes, stay out of the heat as much as possible and wear light, loose clothing. In winter, keep layers on, wrap yourself in a heavy blanket and keep your body moving to prevent hypothermia.
If you can afford a generator, this would be a great way to help preserve your quality of life during an outage. There are both gas and solar generators available. Either will allow you to keep at least some appliances and light sources going.
If you need more advice, call the experts at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning. We have been trusted by those in the Route 495/128 area of Massachusetts for 80 years.
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