Waiting for the Hurricane

Concept Art from the movie Haeundae
Concept Art from the movie Haeundae

With all this talk about Hurricane Sandy, the FRANKENSTORM, and all the possible outcomes I thought it was important to collect a few tips to share with you. Please feel free to add your tips in the comments section.

Locally the concern is focused on power outages that may come about should there be a major outage on the grid or if power lines are downed by high winds and fallen trees.

Remember to stay away from downed or sagging power lines, and do not touch anything that is on or near a power line (i.e., trees or tree limbs, cars or ladders). Maintain a distance of at least 10 feet from downed wires and anything they are in contact with, including puddles of water and fences. A power line that touches the ground can shock or kill you even if you do not touch it. The electrical current can travel through the ground and into your body.

And once thoughts turn to cleaning up after the storm, remember before removing tree debris, carefully check the debris and surrounding ground for downed wires. Look overhead for dangling or low power lines as well.

Power outages are common during large storms such as this, if a power outage lasts for two hours or less, there is no threat to perishable food items, but there are steps you can take to minimize food loss and keep all members of your household safe and comfortable if an outage is prolonged.

Coolers and ice can keep food cool for extended periods of time, and a thermometer can help you ensure that your food is at a safe temperature for consumption.

An emergency preparedness kit with the following items is also suggested for prolonged or widespread power outages:

Water (4L per person, per day)
Food (non-perishable and easy to prepare)
– Flashlight
– Battery or crank powered weather radio
– Extra batteries
– First aid kid
– Medications (one week supply)
– Multi-purpose tool
– Personal hygiene items
– Copies of personal documents (deeds/leases, birth certificates, insurance policies)
– Cell phone (fully charged)
– Emergency contact information
– Extra cash-debit machines and banks may be closed for an extended period of time.

Once a power outage has begun to affect you, one thing to do is ensure food safety.

To keep food as safe as possible, refrigerator and freezer doors should be kept closed as much as possible to preserve cold air.

An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for approximately four hours while a freezer will keep food cold for up to 48 hours.

To ensure that the most food is utilized, it is best to use non-perishable food items last and first consume those foods that have the potential to spoil sooner.

Electrical equipment is also at risk during an outage.

Unplugging any appliances and electrical equipment that was in use before the outage will ensure that possible power surges and spikes do not damage electronics and appliances when power is restore, but keeping one light switched on will help let you know when the power comes back on.

Pets are members of the family who require extra care during a power outage.

Prepare a Back-up Plan for an Aquarium

Fish need oxygen and, in colder weather, a tank heater. Here are power outage aquarium tips:

* Wrap the tank in blankets if the temperature drops.
* Fish can survive for about 12 hours in 60-degree water.
* Withhold food to reduce activity in the tank too much activity will deplete oxygen.
* In extreme cases, most fish can survive about 48 hours if placed into a plastic (not metal) bucket, which is filled with tank water and set near a heat source such as a fireplace.

How to Keep Pet Birds Warm

Many exotic birds thrive in tropical climates with humidity. It is important to keep indoor birds in an environment that is not too dry.

* Fireplace smoke and space heaters can irritate a bird’s respiratory system.
* Cover bird cages with plenty of blankets.
* Move bird cages away from drafts, exterior doors and windows.
* If necessary, take your birds to a friend’s home who has not been affected by the outage

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