Senior Moments: Ice, Ice, Baby
by Kathleen Wilson
Feb 04, 2012
Anyone who has lived in Oklahoma for very long knows that severe winter weather can lead to the temporary loss of electricity. Approximately 70% of power outages are caused by weather-related events. Widespread or severe damage may result in outages lasting extended periods. Power outages are an inconvenience, no matter how long they last. Electric companies work hard to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.
There are things you can do now to prepare for power outages in wintertime.
- Develop a list of emergency numbers; include the number of your electric company and your account number. Remember that a cordless phone doesn’t work when the power is out; keep at least one corded phone.
- If you live alone, have life-support equipment, are homebound or live in a secluded area, arrange for a nearby friend or relative to check on your well-being during severe weather.
- Assemble a “storm” kit that contains items such as a battery-powered radio, flashlights with fresh batteries, and a wind-up clock. Keep the kit in a location you can access easily.
- Stock a supply of shelf stable and canned food items and bottled water. Have a hand-operated can opener available.
When a winter storm is approaching our area, be sure to fill your bathtub with water.
If your electricity does go out, consider the following steps:
- See if your neighbors have electricity. If they do, the problem may be a tripped circuit breaker.
- If your neighbors’ lights are also out, immediately contact your electricity provider. Don’t assume that someone else has already called.
- Food will stay frozen in a fully loaded freezer for 36–48 hours, if the door is kept shut. Try not to open your freezer or refrigerator when the power is out; this will speed up the thawing process.
- If you venture outside, stay away from downed power lines as they could be live or energized. If a person or object is in contact with a power line, don’t touch the person, object or line. Always assume that downed power lines are live.
Other winter outage tips
- Don’t use an unvented kerosene space heater; these heaters require proper ventilation.
- Keep extra blankets handy.
- Wear several layers of light clothing; it is better than a single heavy layer.
- At night, cover windows with drapes or blanket to minimize heat loss.
- Never use a gas range to heat your home.
- If candles and portable heaters are used, never leave them unattended.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages because they increase loss of body heat and risk of hypothermia.
At Aging Services Inc. of Cleveland County, we provided all our home-delivered meal recipients with two shelf stable meals at the beginning of the winter so that they will have lunch on hand in case the winter weather causes us to close our kitchen. Our closing policy is to close our meal sites and kitchen if the public schools close.
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