Power Outage Tips and Tricks
Living in Vero Beach, Florida also comes with living through power outages during storms and hurricanes. It sometimes can be brutal if there is a power outage in the summertime. A power outage is bound to happen if you live in Vero Beach and there are a few tips and tricks that can help you in a power outage. Being prepared can make a huge difference during this stressful and uncomfortable situation.
You should have a generous supply of batteries, flash lights and a radio. It is recommended to get in the habit of keeping cell phones and other portable devices fully charged.
If you live in a modern house, it is advised to have windows, doors and blinds closed during the morning and early afternoon to keep the heat out. In late afternoon, open windows and doors only if the overnight temperatures are going to be lower outside than inside.
A home that has no insulation, like many older mobile homes, it is recommended to have windows and doors open because they become hotter on the inside than on the outside.
Consider purchasing a couple of battery operated fans and misting fans. This can help cool you down when your air conditioner can’t be on because of a power outage. There are many makes and models available for any budget. If you have a pool, use it as long as it is chemically safe to do so. You can also go to any open malls, stores, or libraries to cool off.
Some may think that generators cost too much or they just don’t want to get one because of the things involved to run one. Generators can be a tremendous help in 90 and 100 degree weather during a power outage. A generator gives you the ability to have air conditioning in your home. It can also run a refrigerator and stop food from spoiling. There are many companies that offer propane and gas generators. If you don’t have enough money to purchase a new one, you can always look on classified sites like Craigslist and Facebook yard sale pages. Pawn shops, flea markets and garage sales are another great place to look. The best time to find a used generator is in November, after the hurricane season.
- You need to have an electric cord long enough to keep an outside generator at least 20 feet from any door, window or vent.
- NEVER use generators, outdoor heating or cooking equipment, such as a grill or camp stove indoors.
Food will stay frozen in a fully loaded freezer for 36 to 48 hours if the door remains closed. A half-full freezer will keep for 24 hours. There is a simple trick that can help you know how to tell if the food in your refrigerator is good after a power outage. Just take a cup of water and freeze it. Then place a quarter on top of it and put it back in the freezer.
- If your quarter is still on top of the cup, this means your power did not go out for a significant amount of time and your food is safe to eat.
- If the quarter is somewhere in the middle, your fridge contents is iffy. It may be safe to eat, but the freshness is questionable.
- If the quarter has sunk to the bottom, that means the power was out for a significant time and you should empty your fridge to prevent getting severely ill.
To keep your freezer goods for as long as possible, fill up plastic bottles, bowls and/or other freezable containers with water and place them in the freezer before the storm so they are completely frozen before the storm comes in.
When you don’t have any light, you can take a plastic gallon milk jug and fill it with water. Then tape a headlamp or point a flashlight directly into the jug and it will illuminate the light.
AAA batteries and aluminum foil can replace AA batteries if you run out of a charge. All you need is a AAA battery and a ball of foil. Stuff the foil where the negative battery terminals connect on your device. There just needs to be enough foil to fill in the gap to push the positive top of the battery in place. This method works great if a flashlight goes out during a storm. It’s not a permanent solution, but it works great for short periods of time.
A waterproof lighter can come in handy during a power outage. Especially if you do not have a way to light a grill. You can make a waterproof lighter with 0000 fine steel wool, a 12v battery, a waterproof Container and electrical tape.
It is recommended to practice igniting the steel wool. To do this you need to do the following:
1. Grab the steel wool and pull the threads so it opens up a little.
2. Next place one end of the battery on the wool and touch the steel wool to the other end of the battery.
3. You should instantly see sparks and the steel wool start to light. If not, touch the battery terminals again.
4. Once the wool starts to ignite it should just continue to smolder and burn. If not, just blow on it a little and it will blaze up.
1. Garb the steel wool and carefully unwind a piece. You can pull it apart if it seems thick. You want to end up with a small rectangle piece of steel wool.
2. To avoid the steel wool from igniting, wrap it in some electrical tape.
3. Take a piece of tape and wrap it around the ends of the battery terminals a couple of times.
1. Wrap the steel wool as tight as possible around the battery.
2. Trim off the ends so it fits into the waterproof container. It should be as tight as possible and the more steel wool the better.
3. Screw on the lid tightly
You can also make candles from crayons and vegetable oils. A crayon you can just light, place in a secured container like a can or plastic container and it can last for 30 minutes. To make a candle from vegetable oils, simply pour oil in a mason jar and use a floating wick. 1 tablespoon of oil can last 2 hours and most oils such as olive oil, sunflower oil, canola oil will work.
Some other things that you can do to be prepared for a power outage:
- Stock up on non-perishable foods like canned and dry food, gas and medications.
- Fill your bathtub and spare containers with water in case your electric water pump or the local water system goes out.
- Keep these items on hand like a manual can opener, paper products, cups and plastic ware
- A battery-operated or wind-up clock
- Keep a first-aid kit in your home and one in your car. The kit should include: Scissors, tweezers, safety pins, aspirin, eyewash, and rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide
- Keep one gallon of bottled water available for each person in the household for per day of outage. Again, having spare containers filled with water can assist with this.
- Homes with well water should have the bathtub filled with water for sanitation use.
- Check on older family members, friends or neighbors who live alone and make sure they are prepared.
These alternative tips and tricks can help you weather the next power outage in your neighborhood and can help make a difficult situation better.