Full Show Notes:
Hello, I’m Janet Davis and welcome to Food Plus Freedom Podcast. Today is January 23th, 2024. Happy Tuesday!
This is Episode 15. What’s your power outage IQ: Be Prepare – Practice – Overcome? If you’ve never had a power outage, you need to be prepared anyhow. If you have had a power outage, you might know some of what I’m talking about, but there might be some other things you may need to learn or have never thought about.
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Now on with the show.
What’s your power outage IQ: Are You Prepared – Do you Practice – If So you’ll Overcome?
Now when I ask about your power outage IQ as in not what you know you need to do, but what you’re already doing. If you live in an area that has power outages for seconds, hours or days due to weather, then you’ve created your own drill, whether you realize it or not. When the power goes out you react in a certain way. Instead of reacting, you need to get a plan and you need to be prepared.
Depending on your family, size, ages of people in your family, where you live, is going to depend on your preparedness plan.
When we lose power in the middle of June, we aren’t concerned with warmth, because it doesn’t get that hot yet. But we are concerned with things like our animal and keeping frozen things frozen. We also watch to see if it’s raining because that could help us with the animals and the watering. When we lose power in freezing cold weather, we aren’t concerned about our food going bad. Because we can throw it out into the snow bank if we need to. We are more concerned about staying warm. Making sure we have light and heat and food. So you need to be prepared depending on your own situation.
So how do you prepare for a power outage? As I’ve said, that depends, but I want to start with safety first. When the power goes out, make sure you know where everyone in your household is or a main area where you need to meet. It doesn’t matter if you have a 5-year-old or a 15-year-old or a 55-year-old. Everyone needs to be physically in the same place as soon as the power goes out for safety. If you need to get your kid and drag them to the area, then that’s what you need to do. If you need to go convince grandpa who’s 84, to come down to the right area, that is what you need to do so you can physically head counts and know where they are until you’re ready to disperse. Because it’s safe, the power has gone on, the power is off but everything’s cool and everyone can do their own thing.
You also need a plan on how to get everyone home, who’s not at home. Are they at work, are they at a friend’s house, are they at school, are they down the road? How is everyone going to get home? Is it safe for people to walk home? Is it safe for someone to drive and go get them? Is it safer for them to stay where they are until someone can go get them? These are all things you need to think about and plan for before it happens.
Now that you have your people plan, you need to know how your house works without electricity. You need to check everything. If you have other power sources like gas, propane, oil, check with your service providers on what to do if the power goes out, how to be safe. And if there’s any type of safety issues you must do in case of an electric power outage.
Make sure you locate your breaker box. Make sure there is nothing in front of your braker box and that you can see if it’s dark when you go to your breaker box. Like keep a flashlight there. You want to know where any other on or off switches, main switches are like electric, gas, propane, in case you have to turn something off for the entire house you know where they are.
When the power goes out, what’s the first thing everyone does? You look out your windows to see if your neighbors have power or not. Depending on where you live, you could be out of power and your neighbor could have power because you’re on different transformers of the electric grid.
The next place we look is on our phones to see what’s going on. Unless everything has lost power, you should have cell service. It’s not guaranteed, but most likely you will especially if your phone is charged.
If you live in our area, we get a text message from our power company. The text says due to high winds, or due to rain or snow or whatever their due to is you might be losing power, but we want you to know that we have people working on this ahead of time, so hopefully you wont. My question is how do they know where the power is going to go down, so they can be working on it ahead of time? We take our message as we will losing power at some point in that day and we just go with it.
Since you’ve walked around your place you know where the tvs are, the computers are etc. Any electronic device that is plugged in the wall all the time should have some kind of surge protector. If it’s the kind you plug into and then plug into the wall and you can put several items on it. Or if the type that plugs into your outlet and you plug into it directly. That way when the power comes back on, a surge in power doesn’t ruin your devices. Do not unplug your refrigerator, do not unplug your freezers, these should always be on some sort of surge protectors.
If you need to make sure you can keep working on your computers or wifi, you want to get something that is called a UPS, an uninterruptible power supply. Basically, it’s plugged into the wall, your computer or Wi-Fi plugs into it, and it is always charging. It’s a battery, so when the power goes out you have x amount of time where you can still do things. They aren’t meant for you to be able to work for hours, but to make sure you can save what you’re doing so you don’t lose anything. They last from a few minutes to a few hours depending on the model and the load you have on it.
Hopefully, you wrote down everything you that will be affected by a power outage. If it’s dark one of the first things you’ll need to be able to do it see. This means flashlight, batteries, rechargeable batteries, more batteries, rechargeable units or lanterns that recharge from the sun or from a wall plug. You just lean them on your windows and they will charge, unless you’re not having any sun. Get creative, so you have light when it is dark. I’ve heard of people who have those solar paths lights, so if the power goes out, they walk outside and grab one because they are usually charged.
You might want to start thinking about things like possibly a generator, but when using a generator you also have to have a means for storing a generator and storing either diesel or gasoline. Unless of course your generator is powered by the sun, which is another possibility. And what happens if you live in an apartment, you can’t bring a generator inside? You can bring a solar powered generator, but then you have to have enough sun. There is just a lot of things to think about when you’re planning for a power outage, especially when you don’t know how long it’s going to be. Again, you must look at your situation and where you live.
So go through your house and check everything that has to do with electricity. Figure out all the supplies you need to get, get all those supplies into one area. So when the power goes out everyone knows where to get it. Make sure you know where everyone is and create your plan for what you’re going to do when the power goes out.
Now that you have all your supplies, or at least you think you do, you’re going to practice.
Where I live, practicing is easy. We just have to wait a few months and we will have a power outage. It’s not that simple, but we get them in high winds, in the summer, in the winter. Sometimes it lasts 5 seconds, sometimes it lasts a week.
Even if you’ve never had a power outage, you need to practice, just in case you do. If you need to go shut off the main breaker to your house so everyone takes a power outage serious then do it. It’s the easiest way to see if your plan works. If you need different supplies, it gives you real world knowledge of what might happen instead of guessing. Sure, it won’t be exactly a real power outage, but then no two power outages are the exact same either. And practicing with your power out will give you insite what it will be like if you don’t have any power at all.
One thing I did not mention in your supplies, make sure you have things for people to do. And I don’t mean on your phones. Your phone is something that will stay charged or one will stay charged for safety, not for playing games unless you have unlimited generator power or solar or something else.
You’ll want things like card games, coloring, books, games, if it’s nice enough to go outside. Because not going bat crazy is a safety issue as well. So now practice. Practice different scenarios. Make adjustment to the supplies you need, make adjustments to the power outage and its outcome.
As you practice and as you have power outages, you’ll learn more and more about the situation. You’ll learn when to pull out your supplies and which ones you are going to depend on first. Last week, Yep last week we had our power go out. We got one of those warnings on our phones that said your power might go out. And we take that as our power is going to go out, which I know sounds funny, but we’ve been right 99% of the time. Since it’s cold and windy outside when we received the text, we started the indoor wood stove.
With a very quick evaluation, we knew the power outage would be because of high winds and rain. We weren’t getting snow and everything wasn’t frozen. Which is a good thing on one sense because we didn’t have to worry about water. Our animals would have water and we would have water from outside containers we would have water as well, if needed.
When the power went out, we needed to feed the animals. This meant headlamps, and of course mine was missing, but we knew this because I hate wearing a head lamp. My husband wears his headlamp every single day. I on the other hand when it’s dark and we go to the barn, I use my phone, then turn on the lights. But when there is no power, I can’t do this. I grabbed one of our rechargeable lanterns, which is a pain in the rear to carry and feed animals. Yes, I’ve ordered a new headlamp, if nothing else, to sit in the drawer in case the power goes out.
Once we were done with chores int eh barn we went to the house to see how long the power outage would last. Our lights are inside a kitchen cupboard, so we could quickly grab them. I like lighting our oil lamp for light in the main area, so we don’thave to worry about batteries. If the power was going to stay out through the night, we would bring out the generator in the morning to run the water pump and freezers if they needed it. We weren’t concerned with immediate food because we had already eaten dinner. Plus, there was plenty in the cupboards we could grab. I did need to take out a couple gallons of water for us to wash up and for drinking if needed. And we did get the famous empty bucket of water by the toilet, just in case. This water came from a water collection container outside. Then we sat down to read a magazine. And to be honest, I was slightly bummed that the power came back on several hours later. There is something about the quietness of enjoying the moment without all the outside noise coming in.
So you have your plan, you’re practicing it, you’re tweaking it. And you should be able to overcome whatever that power outage is.
A few things you need to think about.
If you are in hot weather, you need to know when it is too hot for you to stay and a place to go. You need to know in cold weather if it gets too cold where you need to go if you can’t stay. Everything has to revolve around that safety issue.
Supply list. I am always being asked about supply lists. If you look online there are supply lists everywhere. My rule of thumb that I tell people is make sure you have what you need for weather, heat or cold. Extra blankets, indoor heater, propane heater. Do not bring your BBQ into the house to heat anything that is just really dangerous. Disaster could happen very easily. If it’s very hot, can you open windows for a draft and keep the shades down so you’re not getting the direct sun?
You need to have water, filter bottles to filter out water if you have a source. If it is raining, collect water. And food. And if you have animals you need to think about the food and water for them. If you have babies, you need to think about diapers.
So you need to think about whatever you do every single day that you’re doing with comfort and break it down so you have the same level of comfort manually. No, you’re not going to be able to turn on the TV if you’re a TV person or on your computer. I am talking about safety comfort. Food, water, shelter, health. And things for you to do so you don’t go bat crazy.
I hope this has helped a little bit to get ready for your next power outage. And pray you actually never have one, but you will be prepared. Because being prepared is knowledge and knowledge is something that nobody can ever take away.
Remember, homesteading is a peace of mind, not a piece of land, and everyone can do it.
This is Janet Davis from Food Plus Freedom. Thank you for listening. Please subscribe to our podcast and newsletter. And hang tight for the quick tip of this show on PLU codes.
PLU code, do you know what that is? That’s the code on your fresh fruits and vegetables at the stores. It’s either a 4 digit or 5 digit number that has allowed for industry to be able to mainstream whatever that fruit or vegetable is. Like all banana codes are 4011. If it’s an organic item, it’s 5 digits because there is a 9 in front of the number, so an organic banana would be 94011.
How is this important or why can it help you?
If you’re going to the grocery stores and you’re buying fresh fruits and vegetables and they are loose and you pick up an onion and it doesn’ have that 9 in front of the number. You know it was conventionally grown. There is not a number change for non-gmo. It’s only organic, which is always non-GMO or conventionally grown. Nothing else.
So if you’re buying from a store or a farmer’s market and you see that PLU code. It’s that sticker And no, the sticker is not biodegradable. Don’t eat it, don’t put it in your compost bin. But if you see it, it means it has gone through the regular system of tagging.
Small farmers do not have the time, money, or inclination to tag with the PLU code. Even if they are sending food to large stores, the stores normally take care of it themselves. Even though they are trying to push small farmers to do this in order to be in large stores.
If you want more information about the PLU go to the IFPS website here. http://www.ifpsglobal.com/ It will be in the show notes/
If you want to make sure you’re buying organic at the stores. Look for that 9 in front of the number on the PLU code.
Now you know. Until Friday!
Grow Food – Buy Local and Gain Freedom