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Tips on how to live without Electricity - Unexpectedly
By Patty Brooks Sure, if you knew the electricity were
going to be lost, then you could run out
and buy everything you need, What
can you do if you don't have money, access
or time to prepare? Here a few tips.
Downed Power Lines : Your safety is our first concern. If you see a downed power line, assume it is energized and keep yourself and others away. Call 911 immediately to report the location of the downed line then call your locate service provider. In Northern, Call 1-800-743-5002, PG&E's 24-Hour Emergency and Customer Service Line, Here is a link to Utility Companies List by State
During and after a storm, keep away from flooded areas and downed trees, as these areas could be hiding an energized power line.
*When the power is out, unplug or turn off all electric appliances to avoid overloading circuits and fire hazards when power is restored.
* If you have a standby generator, make sure that it's installed safely and inform PG&E to avoid risking damage to your property and endangering PG&E line workers who may be working on nearby power lines. ONLY USE GENERATORS OUTDOORS
* Avoid the risk of fire by not using candles. If you must use candles, keep them away from drapes, lamp shades and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
If you do not have bottled water, use 16 drops of chlorine bleach to one gallon of water to disinfect water before drinking and this includes even before brushing your teeth. Contaminated water can cause serious illness only adding to your already difficlut situation, You should not take any risks.
If your dont own MRE's use your BBQ, BUT ONLY DO SO OUTDOORS, it may become your best friend if you have no other way to cook. Dig out the old propane camp stove. (Keep a small propane bottle on hand, and then save it even when it becomes empty, because there are adaptors available that will allow you to refill the small bottle from the large propane tank you may have around the house for your BBQ).
If you have a fireplace, you could put bricks or rocks on a circle, place a rack over the top and build a small fire in the middle, use this to cook with using all metal or duch ovens only, (no plastic handeled or glass top pots) the plastic will melt and create toxic smoke). the bricks / rocks will also hold heat for a while so you won't need to have a burning flame for heat while you sleep. Never leave a fire unattended, this means even while you are asleep..
Eat the parishable foods in your refridgerator first, then move on the the contents to the freezer, save the canned goods for last, things like tuna and other canned foods can be eaten cold. Eating food in this order will reduce the amount of food spoilage.
If you have a gas stove, it may still work as long as there is no damage to the gas line, Check for visual damage, listen for hissing, and use your nose, if you can smell gas, (the odor of rotten eggs) see damage or hear hissing You Must Evacuate Immediately.
Consider eating rice, oatmeal or top ramen, boil eggs, eat cup a noodle, foods that only require hot water, its alot less work to create hot food if all you need to do is boil water.
My neighborhood has lots of fruit trees to gather fruit. If season and weather permits.
Drink hot water, tea, hot chocolate or instant coffee to keep warm. preferrably caffine free drink as caffine causes dehydration. Drink lots of water, during times of stress your body will need alot of fluids.
If you do use a BBQ, look around for large rocks or bricks to throw into the coals after you are done cooking, Once they are hot the will retain some heat and can be transfered using a shovel to a large metal cooking pot and brought into the house to act as a heater. some heat is better than no heat. Be careful with this if children and or pets have access. Use a fireplace if you have one, consider adding rocks / bricks, they will contain heat once the fire goes out at night during bedtime.
Use flashlights and batteries sparingley, remember to dig out those camping lanterns, If you have an emergency power set up be sure to turn it off to save the power for when you really need it, (example: my power went off in the middle of the night causing the emergency lights to come on, I woke up and turned them off saving the stored energy for night time.
Simply leave a single lamp on to alert you when power returns. Turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
Please be very careful with candles, they can easily tip over and start a fire, Personally I would not use candles for safety reasons. * Avoid the risk of fire by not using candles. If you must use candles, keep them away from drapes, lampshades and small children. Do not leave candles unattended.
Fill up containers and place them in the freezer at first notice of an impending storm, once frozen and after the power goes out, move them to the fridge and it’ll help keep that cooler & then becomes a source of water once it melts.
Once your refridgerator is warm empty all the contents and dispose of them quickly in to garbage bags and do not open the fridge again. IF YOU DO, IT WILL SMELL UP THE HOUSE, DO NOT USE THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL, IT WILL NOT WORK. If you do, then you will render your sink useless for dumping water.
Use ice chests if you have access to ice. If you dont have ice chest but do have ice, use rubber maid bins.
Go to bed at dusk and wake up at dawn. If the weather is cold, and If possible, have everyone in the house sleep in the same room. Personally, if the power outage is going to be long term (more the 48 hours) I would move all the large furniture aside or out and lay down just the mattresses in one room if necessary, Sleeping like puppies (all together) will help keep everyone warm, keeping all the body eat in one room will make the room warmer for everyone. Choose the smallest room you can fit everyone into, with the least amount of outside walls and windows, it will be easier to warm up, (you might bring your bucket of warm bricks/ rocks into this room)
You may also consider covering the windows with plastice and duct tape to prevent the heat from leaving and the cool from entering. Dont forget to include the family pets, not only do thet need to sleep warm and safe, but they generate alot of heat when they sleep.
Get used to cold showers, but it’ll feel good after spending days with no a/c in the summer. for winter: Boil water and use the bath tub for a warm bath or spnge bath, depending on how much water you have available. Disinfect water even before brushing your teeth.
Make sure you always have all your medications easy to find even in the dark, and ready to go in case you must leave in a hurry. Gather and store them into a purse or bag.
If you do not have a first aid kit for injuries, after cleaning an abraision with soap and water, you can use kotex pads, panty liners, or tissue paper for covering injuries, because they are sanitary and are intended for absorbing bodily fluids.. Tear strips of material to wrap and hold them in place. It is important to keep all open skin injuriues covered up. Wrap tightly to hold pressure.
Drink lots of water, during times of stress your body will need alot of fluids.
If your toilets wont flush, consider scooping out the water and line with plastic garbage bags. You may continue to use your toilet, (without flushing) once the bag is a little full, then tie the bag off and place it into a five gallon bucket, bag and all, once the power is back on hold the bag over the toilet and use a razor knife and cut the corner off and allow it to drain back into the toilet and then flush it down. Disguard the plastic bags into another bag and tie it off again and disgard it.
ATMs also need power, so dont count on them, Coins are good for pay phones sometimes payphone will continue to work if you are calling out of town or state, so dont give them away first, one 50 cent phone call can bring you far more valuable resources that 50 cents can buy you in a store.
Bartering items can also work in place of money, if your have canned goods and a neighbor has bottled water try bartering with each other.
Work smart with family members when standing in lines, rather than everyone standing in one line, split up into many line and the consecutively, another plan is this, if a process requires you to stand in one line to obtain a voucher and then move to another line to pick up the item, have one person start in the voucher line while another member starts in the pick up line, that way when you get your voucher, you can walk over and hand it to the person in the pick up line saving the time of starting over in line.
Work smart with neighbors, help each other out in a time of need. Share resources, Check in with all neighbors regularly. If you know of disabled or elderly folks watch out and check in on them often.
*Before calling PG&E about a power outage,check to see if other neighbors are affected.
This would confirm if an outage has occurred in just your residence or within the neighborhood area. Report a Power Outage: 1-800-743-5002 in Northern Ca.
Northern Ca can use the same number above to get a status report on your outage and the anticipated time your power will be turned back on.Check the list for status numbers in other areas at . If only your residence is without power, check circuit breakers and/or fuse boxes to see if the problem is limited to the home electric system. Utility Companies List by State
Use a battery operated radio or TV so you can keep informed. or listen to the radio in your vehicle if necessary to stay informed. Listen for updates on storm conditions and power outages.
* If you lose power overnight, you can call PG&E to request a wake-up call. We'll be happy to give you a wake-up call, as well as up-to-date information on your outage and time of restoration. Our phone lines may become very busy during major storms, so we ask for your patience if you are trying to reach us. Source
Untilize Your Car
I used my car heater once to dry my hair by closing off all the vents but one, at that one blow dried my hair as I used the brush as usual. It may use a little gas but it was was better that going to bed with wet hair and freezing all night.
Use your car charger for your cell phone – cell towers may be damaged, but it may come back before the power If you have a land line, use an old fashioned corded phone that doesn’t require electricity.
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