The Crazy Hat Box

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Safety Saturdays

on September 13, 2014

Welcome to our first Safety Saturday post! Safety Saturday posts are here to help you and your family keep all kinds of safety in mind. We will be sharing tips on how to prepare you for emergencies and general  safety tips.  If you have safety topic that you would like The Crazy Hat Box to research for you, please comment below.


 

Power Outages

We recently had a 12 hour power outage at our house! During that time I came to realize that with two little ones in the house now, I need to be even more prepared.  Since the power outage, I have started researching to make sure that our house is ready for the next time. I really hope that the next time isn’t for a long time! In my searching I found that the American Red Cross has a wonderful website full of tips to help you get your family prepared.  One of the first steps to having your family prepared is to have an emergency kit. Watch for a post on this in the future. Today we will just touch on things that will help you with a power outage. Here is a list of what I have gotten ready for our family for the next time that we are without power.

1.  Flashlights with working batteries. Check these often and try to have them in every room. Make sure that everyone knows where they are and how they work. We also have a few little flashlights that have magnets on the side of our fridge. Candles are not recommended due to the fire risk. This is especially important if you have small children or pets.

2.  Extra batteries! Having extra batteries in all sizes that go with your flashlights and other emergency supplies

3.  Food that is non-perishable and that can be eaten/ prepared without power.

4.  A battery powered weather radio. We have a NOAA weather radio that plugs in but has a battery back up. This is extremely important if the power outage is caused from severe weather. You need to stay informed if the weather is getting worse or if new warnings are issued in your area. If you don’t have power you can’t watch your favorite weather man. You also can’t count on hearing the tornado sirens. Tornado sirens are designed to give notice to people who are outside! I hear people all the time say that they didn’t hear the sirens in their house. Repeat after me “Tornado sirens are for outside warning, weather radios are for inside warning!”

Here are some supplies that you need if you have small children in your home.

5.  Disposable diapers. Now this might seem like a no brainier but I did not have any of these in our house when we had our power outage. We use cloth diapers so I didn’t think that I needed any disposables but as the hours ticked by without the power coming back on I realized this was a mistake. I saw my stash of clean diapers getting smaller and smaller. Having no idea when I could wash them really added to the stress of the situation.

6. Activities to keep the kids busy. This is more for your sanity! Board games, cards, and coloring books are a great way to have some family fun.

7. Feeding supplies for babies. If you are a formula feeding mom do you have a way to prepare the formula without power? Are you a pumping mom? Do you have a battery pack adaptor for your pump? Or maybe a manual pump as a back up? This is one time it was really handy to be a breastfeeding mom. I didn’t have to worry about warming up a bottle.

8. Cash! If your whole area is with out power you will not be able to pay with a credit card.

9.  Know how to open your garage door without power so that you can get your car out.

10. Does your family have any special needs that you need to look at if you lost power? Medical issues? Pet issues?

11. Keep your cell phone charged! You will feel a lot less panicked if your cell phone will work and you have more than 5% battery life.

12. Keep your fridge and freezer closed as much as possible to help keep the temperature at a level to keep your food safe.

13. If you use a generator make sure that you know how to safely use it! Never set the generator up in your house or garage!
After you have managed to stay sane though the power outage and your power has come back on you will need to start checking your food to make sure that it has stayed safe to eat. If your power outage was less than 4 hours you shouldn’t have to much to worry about. A fridge that has been unopened should keep food at a safe temp for 4 hours.  A freezer that is full will keep food at a frozen temperature for about 48 hours, 24 hours if it is half full, but you have to keep the door closed. We moved our milk and cheeses to our freezer to help them keep the temp longer when we had our power outage. Here are the tips from the America Red Cross on how to check your food and know if it is safe. (http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/power-outage)

  • Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria causing food-borne illnesses can start growing quickly. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.
  • If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
  • If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer. Throw out any foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture, or feels warm to touch.

If you have to throw out your food, you should check with your insurance company. Some homeowner policies have a refrigerator rider and will pay you some dollar amount to help cover the cost of your loss.

Being a breastfeeding, working mom I was really worried about my stash of breast milk. I was glad to know that the freezer would keep things frozen so long! I still wanted to make sure that my milk was safe for my little one so I went over and visited Kellymom.com. This a a wonderful website recommended to me by my lactation consultant. Here are the tips from Kellymom.com: http://kellymom.com/bf/pumpingmoms/milkstorage/frozen-milk-power-outage/

Some ways to keep your milk frozen:

  • If you have access to a generator, use it to operate your freezer during a power outage.
  • If a neighbor or a nearby store has power, ask if you can store your milk in their freezer until power is restored. Make sure your milk has contact information on it!
  • In your freezer (with no power): Open the freezer as little as possible. Food will stay frozen longer if the freezer is full: if you know ahead of time that you may lose power, fill empty spaces in your freezer with containers of water so that there is extra ice instead of empty space. Keep your expressed milk in the middle of the freezer, away from freezer walls. According to the USDA, “a full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.”
  • In a cooler: Pack the cooler as full as possible, to slow thawing. Crumpled newspaper is a good insulator if there is extra air space in the cooler. Covering the cooler with blankets will also help to keep it cold.
  • Extra air space in your freezer or cooler can be filled with dry ice, Techni Ice, “blue ice,” containers of water or ice, or snow.
  • Are you in an area with snow on the ground? You may be able to store your milk in a snow bank, out of the sun, or use snow/ice to keep your milk cool in your freezer or cooler.

I was making plans to move my freezer stash just to be safe when our power came back on.I was so happy that all my milk was still frozen and safe.

As a result of our power outage we did have to throw away a lot of the food that was in our refrigerator. Better safe than sorry. I also learned that I needed to be more prepared with my little ones. If you need more of more information I recomend checking out the American Red Cross website: http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/power-outage and for more information on stored breast milk safety check out KellyMom.com here: http://kellymom.com

 

Stay safe!

 

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One response to “Safety Saturdays

  1. Athena says:

    The weather radio is a great idea! I’ve know of several people who live outside of the area that even have sirens, please please don’t rely on them.

    One other thing I might add is to have a well stocked first aid kit ready and if you have to take shelter, have one in the shelter or take it with you. I live in the Southeast and in 2011, when the Tuscaloosa tornado outbreak occurred, we were fortunate to be safe after sheltering for a long time at work, once we made it home, our pup had a good cut on her head, it was pretty minor but could have been worse. If we would have been in the worse hit areas, our pup would have been worse, or it could have been one of us, who needed medical attention. The power was out all across the region, the power company actually told us the power wasn’t coming back on and there was no good way to get supplies, had we needed them, and in some settings people had trouble getting even an ambulance.

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