How my family survived a Four Day Power Outage

Well it was not fun. Everything took a lot longer to do but I know our family can survived like the pioneers of colonial times (okay not that bad). Here are some tips on how we “organized” for the impending storm, Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 29, 2012, knowing that we would lose power for several days as we normally do in any kind of storm

1. Plan ahead – We bought food, but the kind that doesn’t need to go in the refrigerator. We also bought water bottles and three bags of ice to leave in the two refrigerators so they could act like a cooler for a day or two if necessary. We checked flashlights and batteries, charged our cell phones and laptops and had everyone in the family take a hot shower on the day the storm hit. Candles and matches were at the ready.

2. Connect with neighbors – Our neighbors are a life line especially in times where we are stuck indoors or at least in neighborhood.  One year I hosted an impromptu blizzard party for 9 families a week before Christmas. Following suite, one neighbor texted me minutes before the power went out and said “Bring the kids for a Hurricane party at 7 pm.” School had already been cancelled for the next two days so what else are you going to do when the lights go out? We all brought drinks, food and candles. The kids watched a movie on someone’s laptop and played cards. So the first night went fast. We hoped for the best.

The next day neighbors with whole house generators offered to let us take showers, wash our laundry and store food in their freezers. We began to appreciate how good it feels to be clean and warm!

3. Decide your priorities – For each of us it was different. My husband needed a place with power and Wi-Fi to work. I needed a hot cup of coffee and a hot shower to feel human and get my family through. The kids needed entertainment to keep them sane. So once the coffee was found on day 1 and 2, I could think clearly. My husband ventured out to work at a nearby Starbucks. By the end of day one, my boys went to friends’ houses which had power. I decided to forgo the shower and just don a hat for day one.

4. Stay on top of the utilities – Make sure you contact the utility companies if power is out. Don’t assume they know, or assume that if your neighbors power goes back on, yours will too. Who knows how these “grids” work? All I know is that our whole neighborhood could be lit up and six houses, including mine will be out.  One summer I drove up to our electrical workers in the neighborhood, offered them lemonade and a swim if they promised not to leave until my power was back on. Keep calling and getting the update on when power will be restored, so you literally have a light at the end of your tunnel!

5. Count your blessings and remain calm – Living in the dark ages is stressful. Remind yourself and your family of what you did not lose. In natural disasters I would venture to say there are usually more people worse off than you are. Make sure everyone has what they need and then just be patient for others to do their part. Re-locate if necessary; farm the kids out to friends’ houses; live simply even if for a few days. Make sure your basic needs are met and then be thankful your situation is not worse.

How did your family survive the Hurricane? Please leave a comment.

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