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OUR VIEW: Preparing for power outages

OUR VIEW: Preparing for power outages

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The Latest: Record lows seen in several US cities

Igee Cummings walks through the snow Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, in Houston. A winter storm dropping snow and ice sent temperatures plunging across the southern Plains, prompting a power emergency in Texas a day after conditions canceled flights and impacted traffic across large swaths of the U.S. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Anyone from Macon County who endured the winter 2006 ice storm is taking no delight in what's happening in the southern reaches of the country this week. Snow is piled high outside the doors of people who have no reason to own snow shovels. Even if they had shovels, they might not be able to find them because their power has been out for days.

Whether in Decatur or Dallas, 40 degrees inside your house is just too cold. The best way to avoid that circumstance is preparing for the worst. Lifestyle website Inhabitat lists a half-dozen vitals that should be part of your emergency kit:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Equipment supplies
  • Personal care items
  • First aid
  • Entertainment

Food is camping basics -- granola bars, jerky, packet and canned foods. Set aide a treat for yourself as well. Water, Gatorade, bottled or canned drinks and instant drinks. Snow can be melted, but should be boiled before drinking.

The "equipment" includes the sensible emergency supplies -- Swiss Army knife, candles, matches or a lighter, can opener, flashlight and batteries and items you know you'll need.

Personal care includes clean socks and underwear, a change of clothes and personal hygiene items for men, women and children. First aid kits are readily available for purchase, designed for individuals, couples and families and priced for most budgets.

Most important can be how we keep ourselves entertained. Recreation becomes a different experience when streaming services can't stream and when app use is an unavailable luxury. A deck of cards, a book, some time of hobby a person can do in the cold and by available light.

Some of the 'don't's are equally important. Some of the horrifying stories from states with little or no experience in dealing with no power and cold temperatures should have been avoided. Don't heat your house with a stove or a fuel-operated generator. Don't warm up in your car with the garage door closed.

Those who went days without power after that 2006 storm know there's little one can do during an outage that's been reported except wait for help. A bit of preparation now makes the dangers less fraught.


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