So we all know that Hurricane Irene swept the East Coast this week leaving MANY with out power (us included) and many were unprepared. Who would have a thought a hurricane would come our way? Not me and not most of us. Winter is coming soon for those of us who are up north and with winter brings lots of snow, so the chance of power going out is likely and being prepared is important. Yes somethings can be expensive to be prepared for but others are very budget friendly and will make the world of a difference if needed.
A generator is a great thing to have, we had one running to keep our sump pump working (so the basement did not flood) and to have the TV and DVD player going and to keep the deep freezer running. We did not have an cable or internet because the lines were down as well but being able to have a few things made the stress a lot less. They are expensive, especially if bought during the treat of bad weather, so getting one during the off season is when you will get the best deal. On Amazon the price ranges from $199 to over $1000 for a generator and if you are wanting one just to run your fridge and a small tv then you should be able to get one for a pretty low price since you won’t need to much power.
However I do know that generators can be expensive to have when there are other items that you need to purchase to be prepared but the past few days there were many inexpensive things that greatly helped us cope with the loss of power.
The past three days our life saver was the grill, ours has a burner like the Char-Broil Propane Grill that has a side burner($129 on Amazon) Having the side burner on it means just about anything can be cooked on it. We made eggs, bacon and toast on it for breakfast every day. We made tea and veggies on the burner and there are so many other things we could make using just the grill alone. If you do not have space for a large grill there are plenty of small ones that are portable and easily stored like the Weber Propane Gas Go Anywhere grill.
In the winter worrying about keeping food cold is not a problem, just stick it in the snow, but in the summer time that is a concern. We used our Drink cooler and filled it with ice, the one we have is stainless steel and we use it all summer long however I found the Suncast DCC3000 Cooler which would work just as good. Drinks stay cold in it all the time no matter how hot it is and we can normally go a few days with out having to put more ice in it. You do not need a stainless steel one, but you do need to make sure it is insulated and can hold things like a gallon of milk, butter, cheese ect so that it will not go bad sitting in your fridge.
Flash lights are VERY important to have, candles(look for deals like the Yankee Candles for .41 each shipped deal on them, it doesn’t matter what they look like as long as they give off light) can also be used but with small children I prefer flashlights when they are awake. Small LED Lamps like The Coleman Battery Powered Lantern are perfect for the kids to carry and they let off enough light that we could put it down on a table and have enough light to see what we were doing in a room. We also have LED Tap lights, that stick on the walls around the house just in case we lose power.
One thing we do not have, but we really need to get is a corded phone, Yes I know who uses these anymore? But when the power goes out phone lines still work most of the time but a portable phone won’t so it is important to have a corded phone. You can get them pretty cheap, Amazon has them starting at around $10.
I found this Self-Powered Emergency Radio/Flashlight/Cell Phone Charger, which I personally think is awesome. If you are a household that only has cell phones then something like this could really help you if the power goes out. It is self powering and can charge your cell phone!
During the summer months worrying about staying warm is not a problem, but when it is cold and there is a blizzard you need to worry about staying warm, there are many different types of battery operated heaters that on top of bundling up in the house will also keep you warm. Make sure you have plenty of blankets to keep warm with as well. We have also used Grabber Hand warmers, which work well in gloves to keep warm.
We have a well so no power means no water for us, so if you know a storm or bad weather is coming fill your bathtub up with water. You can use this to flush the toilet, just flush the toilet as you normally would and then take water and fill the tank back up. Make sure you have wipes and hand sanitize on hand since you can not wash your hands.
Of course make sure you have plenty of batteries on hand in all sizes so that no matter what you need them for you have them.
If you are using and AC/DC adapter or a generator make sure you have extension cords that are long enough to reach where you need them too.
Propane is needed to run a grill, make sure you always have an extra filled propane tank readily available.
Gas will be needed to run your generator so make sure you have a filled gas container readily available to use for your generator.
Make sure you have at least $50 in cash kept in a safe place in your house. When power is out some stores will be open but their debit and credit card machine will not work with out power. Having cash will give you the ability to buy things with out having to worry.
Food to have on hand just in case you lose power:
- Bottled water, keep 2-3 gallons per person in your house
- Shelf Stable Milk such as Horizon Milk Boxes
- canned fruits and and veggies
- Granola Bars
- Energy Bars
- Pasta (you can boil water on your burner of your grill) and Pasta sauce (heat sauce in a pan on the burner of your grill)