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Sunday, June 20, 2021

 Preparing for Light and Fuel Needs in an Emergency

There is a lot of talk on the news about rolling blackouts, fire danger, and of course record heat and drought conditions.  These things are a bad combination!  If a fire comes through your area you will most likely lose power and will be handling that in the middle of an extremely hot and dry time.

You need to:

1. Store items to provide light in a power outage

2. Store fuel for a power outage

3. Learn how to heat and cool your home without power

4. Safety with an open flame in your home

In a power outage, hopefully you have stored items that will work without power.  The main one we will miss is light.  Some options for light:

  • Candles
  • Oil Lamps
  • Solar Powered Lamps
  • Propane lanterns/lamps
  • Kerosene lanterns/lamps
  • Wood fire
  • Flashlights
  • Chemical lights
It is wise to store a variety of options that you can use if you lose power.

Fuel to store:
  1. Many of these alternate light and heat sources use fuel. Fuel is an expendable resource, meaning once it’s gone, it’s gone. You need to store fuel if you plan to use it for your heating and lighting needs. Most fuel pumps require electricity to run, so you will not be pumping fuel in a power outage situation. This is often forgotten on preparedness lists, but will be sorely missed if you have a lighting or heating need and no fuel.

    What needs do you have for fuel?

    There are many reasons you might need fuel in an emergency. Here are a few:

    • Run a generator.

    • Use a chainsaw to cut wood or downed limbs.

    • In your car in case of evacuation.

    • To cook

    • To heat your home

    • To have light during power outages.

  2. Options to store:
  1. Gasoline - with a stabilizer
  2. Two-Cycle Fuel
  3. Firewood
  4. Propane
  5. Coal/Charcoal
  6. Kerosene
  7. Camp Fuel
  8. Lamp Oil
  9. Butane
  10. Batteries
Again, store multiple options and make sure you know how to store these items safely.

During these kinds of record heat days, we are not thinking about heating our home, but if a power outage occurs in the winter, it could be a life or death situation.  Staying cool in high heat is as well.

Eliminate Heat Loss
  • Avoid opening and closing outside doors. If you need to go outside, go through a porch or garage that can act as an airlock to prevent colder air from entering the home.
  • Close all the inside doors in the house. This keeps unused rooms from cooling your main living/survival area.
  • Block drafts – Place rolled up towels at the base of outside doors to keep heat in or cold out. Hang blankets over windows and doorways.
  • Insulate windows – Close your blinds/curtains to reduce heat loss.
  • Consider moving to the basement. – Even though basements are normally colder, they can be “warmer” because the ground below a certain level never freezes. It stays at around 45 degrees, and that may be warmer than your air temperature. 
Cool your home
  • Move to the coolest room in the home.
  • Don't cook indoors to avoid heating the house more
  • Hang a wet sheet or towels from an open doorway that has air movement.  The air moving through the wet sheet will cool down.
Three very important rules when using an open flame in your home:
  1. Never leave a candle, lamp, or anything with a flame unattended, especially if you have children! If you have small children, DO NOT purchase glass-based lamps. They are too dangerous and the fire danger is high.

  2. Blow out lamps if you are going to fall asleep. Use a battery-powered flashlight for light in the night.

  3. Remember that all flames need oxygen! If you have an air-tight insu- lated house (many of our modern homes are built this way), you MUST crack open a window or two if you are burning ANY flame in your home. Otherwise, you risk carbon-monoxide poisoning. If you must use light in an airtight space, use a battery or chemical light source. 

Get ready for what may be a problem very soon this year.  Let's get prepared!

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