Coping With A Hurricane Irene Power Outage: Tips For Living Without Electricity

Posted by erik devaney

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You really don’t know how much you depend on electricity until it disappears and you are thrown back into a colonial-era New England existence.

Hundreds of thousands of New Englanders are without power following Hurricane Irene’s romp through the region. I happen to be one of those powerless New Englanders, and as such I was forced to leave my apartment — without a home-brewed morning coffee — in search of a functioning electrical outlet and an Internet connection.

Unless you’ve spent an abundance of time living in the wilderness, or in an Amish community, you are likely freaking out at the prospect of having to survive for up to a week without power. Fortunately, there are several Hurricane Irene power outage tips that can help.

Eat Safe

If your power has been out for longer than two hours, be weary of the foods in your fridge and freezer. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a full freezer can store food safely for 48 hours, while a half-full freezer can store food safely for up to 24 hours. Instead of throwing away milk, eggs and other perishable items from your fridge, pack them in a cooler with some ice. If you are wondering whether those now-defrosted meats are safe for the grill, stick them with a food thermometer: 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower? Get grilling.

Get Grilling

Your stove doesn’t work. Your oven doesn’t work. Your microwave doesn’t work. Your toaster doesn’t work… It is time to get grilling. Apart from the fact that a charcoal or gas grill does not require electricity, a grill is the perfect cooking appliance during a power outage because it allows you to salvage all of those frozen burgers, steaks and other meats that would otherwise go bad in your non-functioning freezer.

Let There Be Light

Filling your home with candles can be great a way to generate light while also creating that old school, colonial New England-atmosphere. Unfortunately, if you knock candles over or forget to put them out before you go out or go to bed, a power outage will no longer be your primary concern. Remember, a home without power is still better than a home that is on fire. Instead of candles, use a few battery-powered camping lanterns. To keep things safe — and sanitary — keep one of those lanterns in the bathroom at all times.

Stay Entertained

You can’t watch TV. You can’t use your computer… Wait, no TV or computer, what else is there to do? Get back to basics. You’d be amazed at how much fun you can have with a few friends and a deck of cards. Board games are also electricity-free sources of fun. Need music? You can grab that old guitar from your closet and finally learn how to play it or you can turn on a battery-powered radio.

Stay Connected

The Internet is a business and/or personal necessity for many New Englanders, myself included. If you have a 3G or 4G smart phone, you shouldn’t have any trouble checking your email or surfing the web. However, it is only a matter of time before that battery dies. To stay connected, you’ll have to bring your smart phone, laptop or other mobile device to a place where you can steal some electricity. If your parents’ house isn’t a feasible option — as it was in my case — head to a friend’s place, a local coffee shop or the public library.

Related posts:

  1. About 70,000 Without Power in Conn. Ahead of Irene
  2. Social Media Storm: The Best Online Sources For Tracking Hurricane Irene
  3. Power outages, flooding from Irene in Mass.
  4. Hurricane History Repeating Itself In New England? A Look Back At Irene’s Most Ferocious Forbearers
  5. Power Outages Rise as Irene Approaches Bay State

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Posted by erik devaney on Aug 29 2011. Filed under Lifestyle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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