Weather happens all year ’round. (I know, I have such a grasp for the obvious!) But with our society’s increased dependence on electronics for communication and entertainment, and even work, it is important that we take a few minutes to plan ahead for how ad weather impacts our electronic world. In all bad weather conditions, the biggest concern is a power outage. When you realize bad weather is on the horizon, there are a few things you can do to prepare for a temporary world without electronics.
Cell Phones and Devices in a Power Outage
When bad weather is on the way, charge up every electronic device you have. Turn them on settings that use the least amount of battery. That way, you can get as many days out of the batteries as possible. If you can go 72-hours on the batteries, you will be in good shape. That will require you not using them except to call for emergency assistance. No status updates. No calling mom every hour. No Candy Crush! Gasp!!!
But think about it. It’s easy to get a false sense of security. You think you have charged everything to the max and reduced the energy use to the minimum, so you maintain your normal electronic routine. And then, when you least expect it and when it is the least convenient, you NEED to call for emergency assistance. But now you can’t. You’ve used up the batteries. Yikes!
Preparing to Cook Without Power
Most modern gas cook stoves now have electric or electronic ignitions. Assume these will not work during a power outage and plan 3 days worth of meals and snacks that do not require cooking or heating. Choose meals and snacks that the family enjoys so that they will not be as unsettled during bad weather. Or really plan ahead and have a secondary source of cooking. For just a few days of a power outage, a small Coleman camp stove will work. Always check your ventilation – you may need to cook outside during this time. If you are going to be home during this entire time, and you want to have some fun, plan meals that you can cook outside over an open fire! You can turn this bad weather into a fun camping experience.
Family Entertainment Without Electronics
Most games today are electronic. In fact, most of our entertainment requires electricity. To stave off cabin fever as long as possible, plan ahead to have non-electric games. Do you remember those? Chess. Checkers. MONOPOLY. Risk! Don’t forget the little ones . . . Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. I really like Sum Swamp for pre-school and early elementary. And check out Presto-Changeo for those learning about money. It isn’t hard to plan games and activities that continue the learning process. And of course — plain, old playing cards! If you get tired of losing M&Ms in the impromptu poker games to come, you can always build a house of cards.
If you have a generator, you can plan on watching maybe one DVD per day of power outage. This will also help to reduce cabin fever, and give the family something to look forward to each day. But select some videos especially for this purpose, videos nobody has seen before (or at least for a long time) and put them away. Don’t let anybody watch them until the power is out! This will make the outage more fun.
It is also a good idea to stock up a library of books and magazines for all ages. If you are planning for only 3 days, one book per age group reserved for times like this should be easy. If you are planning for a long period without electricity or electronics, it is important to have books that can be enjoyed repeatedly You might have to read through your library multiple times.
Have some non-eletronic toys for the little ones that they only get to play with if the power IS out. This, too, will reduce cabin fever and keep the little ones from getting restless. And don’t forget a new box of crayons.
You will have a power outage at your house eventually. With a bit of thinking ahead, these power outages do not have to be terrible. You can actually make them quite fun!