Summer is just around the corner, and with it will come a strain on our nation's electricity supply. Hopefully, we'll have plenty of juice to keep our air-conditioners running, but it wouldn't hurt to prepare for an outage.

Stock up on:

  • Candles and/or batteries.
  • Bottled water, if your water supply depends on electricity to purify it.
  • Battery-operated radio.
  • Recharger cords, to recharge your cell phone and other personal electronics from your car battery. Solar or hand-crank chargers might also come in handy.
  • Canned food. In hot weather, an unopened full freezer can usually endure 48 hours before food begins reach a dangerous level of thawing. If necessary, open just long enough to grab ice with which to pack the perishables from your fridge in a ice chest. Canned food helps you avoid dipping into the freezer. Be sure to have a non-electric can opener.
  • Thermometer, to check for heat stress. A body can shoot up to 106 degrees in severe heat and dehydration.

Things to do:

  • Disconnect your PC to avoid damage from a power surge.
  • Disengage your garage door from the opener track, if you intend to park your car within.
  • If you have reason to fear criminals might take advantage of the dark, talk to your neighbors. Make your presence evident. Candles in windows or luminaries like you would see at Christmas could be enough to send burglars looking for an easier place to burgle.
  • If you have elderly neighbors who have no-one else checking on them, check on them.
  • Know beforehand who might be able to store your frozen foods for you in event of a prolonged outage.
  • Make sure your windows will open, and that each has an intact screen.
  • Stay out of the noon-day sun. Take a siesta instead, and work after the sun sets.
  • Move into the basement, if you have one. Temperatures there can be 10-15 degrees cooler.
  • Sleep outdoors. Pretend you're at camp.

What to watch out for:

Heat can be deadly. The CDC suggests

  • drinking a glass of water every 15-20 minutes during very hot weather.
  • wearing cool, loose clothing.
  • taking cool baths (I've found that filling a kiddie pool with water on a hot day and just soaking my feet in it cools me off wonderfully).
  • Opening windows in the house.

Or do what we do. Keep a mental list of all your friends that have guest rooms and air-conditioning, and make sure to keep them in your debt.


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