FEMA Tips (plus one more) for dealing with blackouts

Yes, it’s a rough winter but a blackout can happen any time of the year, as some of us found out about 10 years ago in the big Northeast summer blackout. It was no fun. Here are some tips from ready.gov to remember *before* it happens to you:

1. Follow energy conservation measures to keep the use of electricity as low as possible, which can help power companies avoid imposing rolling blackouts.

2. Fill plastic containers with water and place them in the refrigerator and freezer if there’s room. Leave about an inch of space inside each one, because water expands as it freezes. This chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold during a temporary power outage, by displacing air that can warm up quickly with water or ice that keeps cold for several hours without additional refrigeration.

3. Be aware that most medication that requires refrigeration can be kept in a closed refrigerator for several hours without a problem. If unsure, check with your physician or pharmacist.

4. Keep your car tank at least half full because gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps.

5. Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it. Garage doors can be heavy, so know that you may need help to lift it.

6. Keep a key to your house with you if you regularly use the garage as the primary means of entering your home, in case the garage door will not open.

I will add one more here. During the northeast blackout, landline phones still worked – until their batteries ran out. We were fortunate enough to have held on to an old rotary phone and I was able to call in to work for information on closures. Those old phones don’t take up much room in a cabinet, so if you have one, don’t toss it! ^MARH

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