Weathering the Winter Storm

snowgirlPreparation is never an all-or-nothing proposition. Even if you didn’t have time to put together a complete Ready kit before the snow and ice set in, you can still make some last-minute preparations and take safety precautions for what lies ahead.

If you currently have power:

  • Juice up. Make sure all electronics are plugged in so they can be charged to full capacity. If it is safe to go to your vehicle, make sure the car chargers for your devices are accessible so you can utilize your car as a source of power, if needed.
  • Keep a flashlight handy. Be sure to have flashlights at the ready, and look around the house now for extra batteries to power it if needed. Flashlights are the safest light source during a power outage, but if you opt to use candles, check out these safety tips to reduce your risk for a house fire.
  • Locate your power company’s number and store it in your phone. If and when the power outage occurs, you will need to inform them. Do not call 911 to report a power outage.
  • Plan for fun. Having a ready supply of board or card games to play with your family or friends is a great way of avoiding boredom and staying positive in the event of a power outage. There are thousands of suggestions online for activities to keep kids entertained. Check those out now and gather supplies so you’re ready to go if the lights go out.
  • Do some baking. While you still have electricity, go ahead and cook a few foods that will be easy to store and eat later. Muffins, fruit breads and other treats like brownies and cookies will be especially welcome if you are without power long enough to tire of canned food items.

If you lose power:

  • Generate electricity safely. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, use generators, grills and portable cook stoves outdoors only. Use extreme caution when using alternative heating or cooking sources. Click here for more tips from the Georgia Poison Center.
  • Pull the plug. Pull the plug on motor-driven appliances such as refrigerators and electronic gear such as computers and televisions to prevent damaging electrical overload when power is restored.
  • Water safety. Check with local authorities to be sure your water is safe for usage.
  • Layers, layers and more layers. During cold weather, wear multiple layers of clothing, which helps to maintain body heat.
  • Utilize your freezer. A freezer that is half full stores food unharmed for up to 24 hours. A full freezer, however, keeps food preserved properly for 48 hours. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.
  • Also utilize your refrigerator. To preserve refrigerated items, pack items such as milk, other dairy products, meat, eggs and spoilable leftovers into a cooler enclosed with ice. For this purpose, inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are efficient. According to the Georgia Department of Agriculture,  refrigerated food should be safe as long as the power was out for no more than four hours and the door was kept shut. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs or leftovers) that has been above 40°F for two hours or more.
  • Preserve your light sources. Open up blinds and utilize daylight in order to save the candles and flashlights for the night.
  • No-power cooking. There are plenty of recipes of recipes for meals that don’t require electricity. One of our favorites: “No-cook Soft Tacos” from Power Outage Picnic.

For more ready tips, be sure to visit