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Preparing For an Extended Power Outage
The storm may blow through in a day, but the lights may stay out for a week — or more. An extended power outage can mean shivering — or sweating — in the dark and, in some cases, can be a threat to your health and safety. The key to staying safe and comfortable during an extended power outage is preparation and knowing what to do when the lights go out. And stay out.
Before the lights go out
Every household should already have an emergency preparedness kit that will meet the needs of you and your family for three days. Much of what you need to make it through an extended power outage will be on hand with the gear on the checklist found at www.Ready.gov, the emergency preparedness Web site of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Northeast Utilities, New England’s largest utility system serving more than two million customers in three states, recommends putting together a “Lights Out Kit” that includes a flashlight for each family member, extra batteries, battery-powered radio and clock, bottled water, canned food, manual can opener, first aid kit and Sterno or a similar alcohol-based cooking fuel.
Because cordless phones won’t work when the power is out, you should include an old-fashioned corded phone in the “Lights Out Kit.”
Should anyone in the house use electrically powered life-support equipment or medical equipment, be sure to ask your physician about emergency battery backup systems.
Clearly label fuses and circuit breakers in your main electricity box. Make sure you know how to safely reset your circuit breaker or change fuses. Keep extra fuses on hand.
When the lights go out
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.
Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. You may want to your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings in advance of the storm. Just remember to reset the temperatures when the storm blows past. Food in the freezer can stay frozen for two to four days, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. During an extended power outage, you can use blocks of dry ice in the freezer.
Use extreme caution when using alternative heating or cooking sources. Never use camp stoves, charcoal-burning grills or propane/kerosene heaters indoors. Don’t use a gas stove or oven to heat the house. They all pose the risk of fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. More than 400 people a year die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
If you use a portable generator, plug appliances into the generator. Connecting the generator directly to your home’s electrical system can send power up the line and kill a utility repairman working on the power lines. Generators produce deadly carbon monoxide, so be careful when placing it. Never refuel the generator while it is running.
It's cold and flu season again!
But do you have the flu or just a cold?? An estimated
1billion colds are caught annually in the US. 5-20% also catch the dreaded flu. The flu
season generally ranges from November to April. While many blame illness on cold
temperatures, it's your immune system that will either catch or fight off a cold. Be sure to
wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating. Wipe down
shared surfaces immediately after use such as countertops, keyboards and phones. Most
of all, maintain healthy eating habbits, stay hydrated and excercise on a regular basis. This
will ensure a good healthy immune system to fight off illness.
SYMPTOMS TO LOOK FOR FLU: high fever(102-104°), headache, extreme fatigue, dry cough and a sore throat,
runny/sniffy nose, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
COMMON COLD: sore throat, cough with chest discomfort, mild fatigue, and a runny
nose. Fever and headache are rare.
STAY HOME! Everyone wonders if they're too sick for work or if the kids are too sick for school. The
cold and flu are the most common contagious diseases in the workplace. If you have a
fever, you're very contagious. It's best to stay home and rest. Also if you're unable to
control your coughing and sneezing. If you really don't know. Call your physician. They'll
coach you over the phone or even squeeze you into the schedule to be seen.
KEEP IN MIND
The common cold can become a very serious bacterial infection and flu can quickly turn
into pneumonia. So let's keep on track, eat healthy, stay hydrated, wash, then wash some
more and we'll see what this winter has in store for us all.