Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy- What To Do When The Power Goes Off

Hurricanes and storms in general are serious business.  Many people were hurt and some killed in the storm known as Sandy as it slammed into New Jersey on the evening of October 29, 2012.  Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers go out to all those affected by this terrible storm.  This is an actual picture of Sandy 24 hours before landfall.
On a lighter note, it is a bit of a mystery to us folks living in hurricane alley (Florida and the Gulf of Mexico region) why when a level 1 hurricane hits the North East it is the storm of the century, mass destruction, and Biblical horror.  Here we barely prepare for a level 1 at all.  Oh we drag the stuff out of the yard that might blow into the windows and buy a little extra ice and water and duct tape and such but unless its category 3, 4, or 5 most of us don’t get too upset about it.  Those folks who live right on the ocean need to leave of course but my home is a good 17 miles from the ocean inland and the grade school 500 yards from my home is a designated hurricane shelter so we just stay put. 
I have seen several online articles dealing with “what to do when the power goes out”, “how long will your food last without power?”, and “How long is your food safe to eat?”.  Some of this is good information for folks that don’t know anything about it but really it is just simply not that hard.
Before a storm buy as many bags of ice as you have storage room for them.  We keep 5 in our big freezer year round and rotate them in and out using them up for parties (and whisky on a hot day) and such.   When the power goes out you put a bag in the refrigerator, at least one in each freezer, and maybe fill up your cooler/ice chest.  Be sure to put  the one in the fridge in a pan to catch the melting water or you will have a big mess later. 
Your ice chest should be stocked with your favorite drinks, beer, wine, and drinks for the kids anyway.  You can even throw some snacks in there and that way you don’t have to open the refrigerator every time you want a drink which keeps the stuff in there good much longer.   Get your supplies early, keep what you need all year long if possible and avoid long lines and angry people fighting over the last bag of ice or jug of water at your local stores.  It happens.  For one hurricane I walked into our Wal-Mart to get some extra water the day before the storm hit and people were actually fist fighting in the isles over the water.  The store manager was trying to play referee and was throwing people out of the store for fighting.   I just turned around and left and went one block down the street to the drug store that had hundreds of bottles of water for sale and almost no one in the store.  Think, don’t panic.  Fill up your bathtubs with water and any big jugs and even buckets, as you may need flushing water for your toilets.
Here is what my wife and I do when the power goes out.  I get a glass of Highland Park 18 year old Scotch, she gets a dirty dry vodka Martini on the rocks with 3 Spanish queen olives, and we get a book or magazine, flashlight if needed, we light the battery powered fluorescent lamp and we set in our love seat with individual recliners and kick back.  Between us is a small 10” D cell powered fan that is placed on a TV tray so it will blow on both of us.  We turn on a battery powered radio to get latest storm news. 
It’s really not that hard to be comfortable and safe in a lower level hurricane.  We have a generator but we have to wait until the rain stops to use it safely and that gets the fridge and freezer back on line and a light or two and a large fan and the TV going.  So follow the direction of your local officials, prepare ahead of time with ice, drinks, water, and a good stock of your favorite whiskies and beer and just ride it out.  Get away from the ocean, get to a safe place, listen to and follow instructions from emergency officials and be safe.  Stuff can be replaced, people can’t. 


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