HT Home & Garden

What to do when your power goes out in storm

By Mary Caldwell

Troy Warren #homegarden-all

Severe weather can cause power to go out over widespread areas for an extended period of time. This frequently happens during wind and ice storms, which can down trees and power lines.

Here’s what you need to know:

How to stay as warm as possible

The University of Georgia Extension suggests the following ways to stay warm:

– Wear extra clothing, and snuggle in bed under extra blankets to trap heat.

– Find a safe alternative form of heat. Start a fire in the fireplace using logs, or use tightly rolled newspapers and magazines. Stack them to allow air to circulate between them. You can also use a non-electric space heater, but make sure to use it only in a well-ventilated area.

– Close off the room you’re heating so it gets as warm as possible. If you have an open floor plan that doesn’t make this possible, hang bedspreads or comforters over entryways.

– Make sure your home is ventilated if you’re using an alternative form of heat.

– If you’re using an alternative form of heat, assign one person to keep watch – especially at night – to make sure a fire doesn’t start or spread.

– Keep a fire extinguisher close by in case of fire.

– Hang bedspreads, comforters or blankets over doors and windows.

– Invest in a generator. This can be of particular help if there are older or very young family members. Make sure to operate your generator safely and according to directions. If you’re using a portable generator, never operate it indoors, even if you open windows and doors. This also applies to garages, carports and basements. Deadly carbon monoxide can build up in your home, and you won’t be aware of it.

How to protect your home and belongings

– Unplug electronics and appliances. Leave only one light on so you can tell when the power is back on. Turn off all appliances. When the power comes back on, it could cause a surge that destroys expensive electronics and appliances.

– Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. This helps keep the cold air in and makes your food stay unspoiled longer. Plan in advance what you’re getting out of the fridge or freezer, and close the door quickly when you’re done. You can also help your food stay colder by partially filling plastic containers like milk jugs and placing them in the empty spaces in your fridge or freezer.

– Cook over the fireplace or with a camp stove or grill outdoors.