December 2, 2012

Be prepared for power outages

When Hurricane Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, N.J., on Oct. 30, east coast electric utility companies from South Carolina to New York reported power outages effecting well over 8 million homes and businesses, including 2.1 million customers in New York. More than a week later, nearly two million customers were still waiting for their power to be restored.

I went to bed that night expecting the worst. Fortunately, it never came.

Nonetheless, North Country residents are no strangers to harsh, dangerous, unpredictable weather. Snowstorms, blizzards, hammering rain, hail, sleet, flooding, prolonged periods of sub-zero temperatures, heat waves, drought — we’ve seen it all. Yet, many of us still remain unprepared.

The simple truth is that our electricity can fail at any time. And, for much of the year, short interruptions in electric service can be tolerated. But, as storms like Sandy (or the Ice Storm of 1998, which was the weather event of my lifetime) so frighteningly illustrate, power failures can leave homes without heat, lighting, water or a way to cook food for prolonged periods of time. And winter weather conditions, like ice, can make getting out (or in) difficult or even impossible.

What’s more, during an emergency community-service organizations such as police and fire departments may be unable to respond in a timely manner.

Preparing now for power outages can make it a lot easier to keep your family safe and warm during an extended winter power failure. You should have an emergency survival kit with provisions stored where you can readily get to it. It should contain emergency lighting; i.e. flashlights and/or lanterns with spare batteries and bulbs, candles and/or kerosene or oil lamps (which are generally brighter than candles and easier to read by), and matches or lighters.

If you have outdoor solar lighting, you may be able to bring those lights inside during the evening. Even if they don’t provide very much illumination, they can help you find your way around in the dark.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Gast_Richard.jpg Bee balm a beautiful garden herb

    Not only to the flowers add color to the summer landscape, the plant has a long history of medicinal and herbal use, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Drip irrigation has many benefits

    The system targets the correct amount of moisture directly to plants while not washing away nutrients, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    July 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Climate assessment a cautionary tale

    Major impacts of global warming will have a profound impact on the region's future, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Be a locavore

    Farmers markets offer easy way to support local agriculture, maintain a nutritious diet, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    June 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Raised-bed gardening workshop offered

    Cooperative Extension may have a better way to conveniently grow vegetables, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    May 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Asparagus offers a taste of spring

    Cultivation of widely grown delicacy goes back to ancient times, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    May 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Maple sugaring season is underway

    Climate change has generally pushed back the season, but this year has been an exception, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Seed-starting workshop offered

    Cooperative Extension offers everything you will need to start a successful garden from scratch, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Addiction to energy has costs

    Damage to environment, climate change just two of the problems caused by runaway energy consumption, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    March 9, 2014 1 Photo