Helpful ideas to add comfort in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy
This storm took many of us by surprise, especially since the damage was in most places in are area wind rather than water related. Many of you who prepared well with full tanks of gas, filled gas cans, generators but no electricity are likely more comfortable than those who did not prepare in advance. Unfortunately, even if you had batteries, gas and the like, eventually you need more supplies such as gas to run the generator.
We are all in this together, and sharing resources until our essential resources such as electric, streets and essential infrastructure is essential so we grow out of this disaster. Sharing ideas is also essential, and there are some ideas I can share with you based on my storm experience.
1. Warm up a cold house with boiling pots of water. If you have gas, you can run your stove. Last night boiling four large pots with water was very effective at improving the temperature in our home. Just fill them up, manually light the stovetop and boil away. Within an hour or two, your home will warm up nicely.
2. Keeping the water running if you have a well rather than municipal supply. Generators are quite helpful, but burn gas quickly. Most of you are using it to power essentials but in a home like mine, the 220 line is giving us running water, since we have well water. If you have well water, it is a good idea to have an alternative hookup for the electric which can be powered by the generator. If you have gas hot water, it will stay hot as long as you have water pressure.
3. Conserve gasoline. You do not have to have the generator running constantly to keep your refridgerator that is packed cold. You can conserve gas by running it for two to three hours at a time and the food will stay cold if it is packed in the fridge. Since the loss of electricity for most of us will be for just a few days, your food will be fine and safe to eat if you use your generator power wisely, and you will need to make fewer trips to get gas which is best for everyone, as supplies are likely tight. While the infrastructure will improve with each passing day, the fewer trips you need to make will help you avoid the gas lines and the crazyness that ensues.
4. Keep your home phone live. Many of us found out that cell service as well as data is spotty since the storm, but when we lost power, if you have fios or even comcast phone, you likely lost that too. Most of these systems need electric to operate and then the backup battery will give you another 6 hours or so until your home phone phone dies again. By then, your generator will again be on, and people can reach you, and you can also reach others who may not be able to be reached with spotty cell phone services.
5. Use the home BBQ. The food in the fridge should be eaten, especially your frozen meats. While you are keeping it frozen, or frozen sort of, you may as well use it, after all, going out to crowded restaurants gets old after a while. Use the BBQ, and the gas either in the tank or from the house to cook outside. If you are lucky to have gas, you can cook other things that may have been cooked in the microwave on the stove top. For those of us who have electric stovetops, BBQ is a natural.
6. Share and share alike. If your friend has no power and you do, most generators will also charge their cell phones, and other devices with the same amount of gas you are using. Why not BBQ with a friend. Misery loves company but sharing helps us forget for a while that we are miserable. This is even better when your power comes on and your friend or family member is still in the dark. This is a great way to show you care and share the karma of helping others.
These ideas are working now, in my home. In your community, if you share with others, they will likely be there for you when you could also use a hand. If you get a tip that gas is available somewhere and the line is short, share the tip with others. They will be grateful you were there to help.