5 Tips for Weathering a Winter Storm
I grew up in central Ohio but moved to Atlanta in 1970. We don’t have many of the kind of storms here that I grew up with, but the lessons I learned all those years ago are never forgotten. We had a large fireplace and plenty of firewood. Mom always cooked with cast iron and those cooked a lot of great meals in the fireplace. We also had lots of oil lamps. I take care of my 96 year old dad. He’s no longer ambulatory and we rely on an electric Hoyer-type lift, a battery powered wheelchair, an electric lift chair and an electric hospital bed. I’ve been very worried about power outages affecting his equipment. Last year, I invested in a portable solar generator from Generac. With conservative use of this generator, I can keep Dad’s equipment charged and running, power my refrigerator and chest freezer, charge computers and cell phones, power an electric blanket, coffee pot and microwave. We also have a gas cooktop Mom used for canning, a wood stove in the kitchen and oil lamps. Some of the best things are it doesn’t require gas to run, it’s quiet, non polluting, and doesn’t produce carbon monoxide. I can set the solar panel in the garage and charge it anytime during the day. I never have to worry about dangerous carbon monoxide, gas cans or the going to the gas station. I can stay off the roads. Georgia had an ice storm/snow event two weeks ago, and I wasn’t worried about power outages with this generator in hand if trees fell on power lines. This isn’t a commercial for the company and I’m being paid for my comments. I’m just a very satisfied customer.
After surviving Super Storm Sandy in 2012, we were without power for 9 days, we have learned quite a few survival tactics that kept us comfortable. We have a smaller generator that kept freezer and fridge running. This is a gas generator. We always keep gas in cans on hand since then. I've purchased quite a few on yard sales since then so now we have 6. If a threat of any large storm is in the forecast we fill them all. Our well runs on electric which doesn't have power so we always keep our above the ground pool up all season and never take it down. That's our supply for water for toilets, and washing. We have a wood stove in basement that was going during the storm and I have learned to cook on it. I have purchased cast iron pots and a tea kettle for that wood stove to use during power outages. Made some excellent meals on that stove while we were without power. I am now going to have my husband and son build an outdoor pizza/ bread oven this spring. We have a large supply of firewood since the storm from clean up of downed trees for years to come. You'd be surprised at what you can do when your in a disaster situation. And that storm was a disaster.
I'm trying to get away from using fossil fuels, so rather than having a gas guzzling generator (they're more sophisticated today so you don't necessarily have to go outside to get them started), when I had solar panels installed, I invested in battery backup. I live out in the country and power outages are fairly frequent. Last winter one lasted for 4 days. When the power goes out, the only way I can tell is that the clock on my electric range goes out. Major heating appliances don't run on the batteries, like the water heater, electric range and the heat pump which heats my home. But with a wood stove and frugal use of lighting, etc., we got by nicely. I was pleased that my home's insulation must be pretty good because it didn't get below 60 degrees- with heavy socks and sweaters, we were fine until the power came back on. It's a fun challenge to cook with the microwave and on the top of the woodstove and make toast and boy scout stew on the coals, too.
Mary Thorpe , you were commenting about the challenges one faces during a power outage. I am wondering how you managed to use a microwave during a power outage since they do require electrical power?
Stock up on plenty of food, water, medicines and bandages, personal hygiene supplies, batteries, clorox bleach for disinfecting. Always have a hand held can opener or two. I use battery operated candles because they can't cause a fire, otherwise be careful with candles and matches and lighters around children. It is also nice to invest in a Sub-0 degree sleeping bag.