Being in a power outage can be very frustrating. Here is some advice that may help you the next time there is a storm and you lose power for a few or more days.
To avoid darkness:
- Attach a strip of glow-in-the-dark tape to your flashlights to make them easy to find.
- Invest in headlamps. You will have your hands free and can even read a book in bed while wearing one.
- Stock up on kerosene lamps (visit secondhand stores and flea markets), lamp oil, and wicks before the next storm.
- Buy candles when they are on sale (after-Christmas sales are great!). It doesn't matter if they are all red!
To stay warm:
- As soon as the power goes out, drape all windows with blankets or whatever you have. Uncover south-facing windows during the day to let in the Sun's warmth.
- Select one room in which people—and pets—can spend most of their time together. Close off the doorway and try to let the collective body heat accumulate in that room.
- Call shelters and hotels to see if they will allow pets, in case you need to leave your home and bring your pets.
Cooking and eating:
- Have potluck dinners with your neighbors and take turns hosting. You'll be eating better and getting to know your neighbors at the same time.
- Use your outdoor grill for cooking, but only outdoors. Never use one indoors. Look for great recipes in our database.
To avoid damage:
- Protect water pipes from freezing by wrapping them with layers of newspapers and then plastic wrap.
- To avoid damage from falling branches, don't park your cars under trees.
- Open your refrigerator or freezer door only when absolutely necessary. Plan ahead to minimize the time the door is open.
- Fill clean plastic milk jugs with water and put outside to freeze solid (if the weather is cold enough). Put these jugs into coolers, which can serve as temporary refrigerators.
- Take your houseplants to your workplace or a friend's house.
For folks who lose their water when the power goes out:
- Fill up your bathtub with water when a storm threatens (for washing and flushing).
- Pack snow in buckets and bring indoors to melt.
Do you have any helpful power outage tips? Please share them below.
Mare-Anne, our senior editor, joined The Old Farmer's Almanac in 1992. In her spare time, Mare-Anne loves to garden and always plants a large home garden with a variety of flowers and vegetables. She also enjoys cooking and traveling to Sweden, where she was born.