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Emergency! Crank it up. August 27, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, pets, wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. Like everyone on the East Coast, our friend Ben and I have been obsessing about the imminent arrival of Hurricane Irene and the potential damage it could inflict. In our case here in scenic PA, flooding, wind damage, including falling trees, and prolonged power outages are the most likely consequences of the coming storm. Let’s just say we’re not looking forward to them.

Yesterday, we posted some emergency preparedness tips (read our post, “Be prepared,” by scrolling down or typing the post title in our search bar at upper right). And readers contributed more great tips in the comments on that post.

But this morning, I read another simple preparedness tip that should be obvious, but that I’d never heard before, so I wanted to share it with all of you who are bracing for the hurricane and/or storm: Turn your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings now, before the storm hits. That way, the food in them will stay cold longer if the power fails.

Great idea! Then you just have to remember to turn it back down to its normal setting when power is restored.

I think it also makes sense to put refrigerated items you’re likely to want to eat during a power outage, like cheese, butter, and salad fixings (and salad dressing), in a cooler well-stocked with pre-frozen reusable ice packs. If you’re able to heat water to make coffee, keeping milk, half & half, or whatever in the cooler makes sense, too; ditto sodas if the kids would be cheered up by them. That way, you can get to the stuff you need without having to open the fridge and suck out the cold air that will hopefully keep your perishables intact until power is restored.

A second cooler with an actual bag of ice would give you the option of putting ice in beverages, chilling beer or soda, and keeping more food cool. But I have to say, our experience has been that ice melts awfully quickly in our cooler during our road trips, usually turning to water overnight. So its best use might be to chill extra cold-packs to cycle back into the main cooler as the first ones lose their cool. And don’t forget, you can use that melted ice to give the dog a cool drink or flush the toilet!

             ‘Til next time,

                         Silence

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