What You Can Do When The Power Is Out

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I have a few ideas today about what you can do when the power is out. We have crazy weather going on everywhere, and that reminded me that all of us at some time or another will be without power. It could be for 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months or longer. I have some fun ideas of what you can do if your power is out. That’s all good, but I also have some serious ideas you may want to consider as well. I was honored to be asked to speak about food storage and water storage last night to a large group in a subdivision here in Southern Utah. When you see a large group like the one last night who want to learn new things about being prepared, you know people like this group will for sure work together should a disaster hit their neighborhood. Please be sure you have a light source, here is one I really like Goal Zero Lantern.

Now there are some fun things you probably have in your closet or cupboards to help distract people from the stress of an extended outage. The first day without power we will check with neighbors to see if they have power or not. The second day, we will start checking on all of our neighbors to make sure everyone is okay. The third day without power we need to have some playing cards, board games, bingo cards, and a few of our other favorite games ready to entertain people and help relax a crowd.

My cute niece, Maralee survived Hurricane Sandy and let me know that she had food, water, and popcorn during the devastating storm. She invited people over to watch a DVD on a television and served popcorn and hot chocolate to as many friends and neighbors as she could.  They had no heat, so everyone huddled with blankets to stay warm. After the storm and heavy clean up in the yard, they invested in a wood burning stove. She was one of the few that still had electricity, but zero heat. I’m a proud aunt and loved hearing she was prepared and opened her home to others.

Where Mark and I live the HOA has so many restrictions we could not have a wood burning stove. Yes, we could have an electric fireplace that blows warm air, but it wouldn’t work if the power is out. Plus, it isn’t designed to cook meals or boil water. Luckily, we live where it rarely gets really cold, as in freezing weather. I have so many blankets and quilts we could bundle up and layer our clothes to stay warm. Spray bottles filled with water can help keep us cooler, we use them when we go to parks to cool us down.

Here’s a simple way to have light and charge your cell phone: Sunbell Solar Lamp & Cell Phone Charger

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You know I keep seeing the news and it seems like the weather everywhere is rainy, windy, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc. I want to know that I can have some solar power to use, like for my 20-inch TV with a DVD player. Without electricity, we will not have our “Dish” or “Cable” available. But even a 32-inch TV works great with a Goal Zero YETI 400 solar generator as well. I keep my Goal Zero generators plugged in all the time with surge protectors to keep them charged, and I have solar panels to charge them outside if I need to.

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I put my Goal Zero YETI 400 on the kitchen counter and plugged the hand mixer into the unit. Yep, the hand mixer worked great with the solar power. I basically plugged the mixer into the front of the YETI 400 and pushed two buttons….and it powered up!! Of course, we can use a wooden spoon or Danish whisk, but this gives you a few possibilities to use this unit. Yes, it can power up our laptops, cell phones, and IPads.

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I wanted to test my NutriMill L’Equip Wheat Grinder which has 1200 WATTS. All you do is plug in the item you want to use in the solar power unit that matches a number of watts needed. Today I used the Goal Zero YETI 1250 because the wheat grinder has 1200 watts.  It worked great. I actually ground about 16 cups of hard white wheat. No problem. It hardly used any of the stored solar power. Yay!

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I also wanted to power up my Bosch Universal Bread Mixer which has 800 WATTS. I plugged in the Bosch Universal Bread Mixer in the plug outlet on the front of the Goal Zero unit and turned on the bread mixer. I ran it for ten full minutes (my whole wheat bread recipe). No problem. After finishing the wheat grinding and the bread mixing (14 cups of whole wheat flour) I had only used 20% of the solar power. Yep, that was a cartwheel moment. I am totally self-sufficient. I can grind my wheat by hand as well, but I wanted to know I could use my FREE solar power. How easy, no instructions…just plug it in and it works. I will tell you this….I keep all my Goal Zero Solar Power Sources charged at all times with power surge suppressors. Gotta love solar! I can make bread in my huge silver bowl as well, here again, just giving you the heads-up how to use solar units.

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I have been very concerned for some of my friends, family members, and neighbors who use a CPAP machine at night for sleep apnea issues. Here’s the deal, I needed to check to see which solar powered unit from Goal Zero would work for the people that need a source of power if we lose power in our communities. I am totally excited to tell you this new Goal Zero YETI 400 works like a champ with my son-in-law’s CPAP….even if it has a humidifier. I learned that when a CPAP has a humidifier it uses more power than one without the humidifier. Here are some pictures of Nate, my son-in-law using his CPAP with a humidifier built into the machine. He used it for 8-1/2 hours one night and it still had power left. He could then recharge it with wall outlets if the power were to come back on, or with his solar panels outside.

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This is Jenna below with her mouth-piece attached to the nebulizer which is being powered using zero electricity from an outlet, just solar power from the Goal Zero YETI 400. This is critical for her if the power is out.

I asked their mother, Elaine, to explain how a nebulizer works:

“My girls use a nebulizer whenever their asthma flares up, or when they have any respiratory problems restricting their breathing. This could be something as simple as a mild cold, but for someone with asthma, it can quickly turn into pneumonia because their lungs just aren’t as strong and can’t clear out the obstructions. The nebulizer works by delivering liquid medication (Albuterol is what we use) in vapor form directly into their lungs and it helps open up the airways so they can cough easier and breathe more naturally. When we need it, it takes about 10 minutes to disperse the medicine and is repeated every 4 hours. We typically are doing this every 4 hours for a few days when we are doing it.”
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This is Avery using her mouthpiece with the nebulizer. All solar power from the Goal Zero YETI 400! Here is the nebulizer in action using only solar power.

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Please keep in mind a high-speed blender uses about 1800 watts and I didn’t even try to use it with one of my generators. Yes, I love smoothies, but if I lose power a smoothie and ice will not be on my list of must have menu items. I hope this post gives you some ideas to be prepared when the power goes out, and it will. May God bless you for your efforts in being prepared for the unexpected.

Janet (reader), reminded me that people can have a generator installed by a licensed electrician if you can afford one. Mark and I have a few friends that had them installed complete with permits and a licensed electrician. Great reminder, thank you, Janet.

Survival food storage by Linda

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  1. Hi, it’s been awhile since i’ve even checked my emails. I’m glad I did today. The Goal Zero sounds great, But as I’ve recently been given an oxygen consentrator, for my 24 hour/ daily usage, how would that work? It is suitcase sized, and has a compressor. Do they come in sizes to handle that?

    • Hi Jonnie, I would call Goal Zero directly, they have great customer service. If I have a question on any of their products. I need you to look at the back, the bottom or wherever you see the wattage. If you can’t find it, call the company where you bought it. When you call Goal Zero you will have the wattage ready to ask them which one will work. You keep it plugged in all the time with a surge protector. You can also buy solar panels to go with it. Here is the Goal Zero phone #888-794-6250. It’s critical you have some power, good luck, my friend. Linda

  2. A raging hurricane is going on here. I’m in central FL (Polk Co) and for some miracle, we still have power. I can’t imagine how, but we do. So we have our preps ready and topping off charging everything. We have over the air TV, which doesn’t come in great and our battery op radio is plugged in for now So much devastation I see on the tv. Hoping for the best for all. We’re doing well and I heard that the hurricane has weakened! We plan on watching a movie tonight on battery DVD player because it’s supposed to get noisy. Hey, maybe we’ll still have power. I’m all for that! Will check in when it’s all over!

    • Well, it’s all over. We were without power for a few days. The hurricane went right through our county, but we were fine. Afterward we had great family time until the clean up work had to be done. We’re still picking up the yard. One thing we were surprised at is the lack of gasoline to buy. We had back up gas cans that we rotate to keep it fresh. There were huge long lines for gas and we were so thankful for our supply.

      We even used gas to power the fridge with the generator.
      So with the Luci lights at night and the generator that was run every so often to keep the fridge cold, the lack of electricity was hardly missed. In our location I have seen NO RESCUE SERVICES with food or ice or water. No Red Cross, No Fema, no nothing. I don’t know exactly where they went, but I have no evidence that help made it here. There were a lot of people in our county in bad shape. I heard on the radio of all the money raised to help people, but where it it? It serves to help remind families that self reliance is the only way to insure a best outcome. Oh and by the way, we lost the roof off our screen room. We’re rebuilding it with building supplies we laid by.

      • Oh my gosh, Debbie, this is awful! Are you in Florida or Texas or where? NO RESCUE SERVICES, see this is why we MUST be self-reliant. I wish I could shout from the rooftops I have a friend Debbie that is self-reliant!! Oh my goodness, you make a preparedness person smile from ear to ear! I’m glad you have the supplies to rebuild your screen room roof. I love hearing you are okay, and the Luci lights came in real handy! I better start saving for a generator, you are a rock star in my book! The money collected BETTER be disbursed or things could get really ugly. I saw one young man that was so emotional standing in line on the TV asking for help, his home is gone and everything in it. Here’s what I’m wondering how are people able to drive if the police are not allowing some of the people back into their neighborhoods to get their food and water. Who has the money to eat out every single meal….I will never forget the look on that’s guys face. I would love to hear from some people that were given food and water. I hope we hear how some people were helped. Glad, you’re okay. Linda

        • We are in central FL, in Polk Co., FL. It appears from the TV that the reporters and the aid went to the southern part of the state, but here there are people with needs. That hurricane went through our county. There are leveled homes here. If you save for a generator, make sure it’s not a whole house generator. The authorities got on the radio and said that they were hampering efforts of the line workers. I don’t know how but the live wire power from them can harm the workers. They said if they didn’t go off, they would be destroyed due to a power surge that they would send through first to make sure it would be safe for the workers to work on the line. They also take a lot of gas and they are noisy and smelly. But it kept my daughter’s insulin cold, so that’s good.

        • From the TV, it looks like aid went to the southern part of the state. It went through central FL too, and I haven’t seen anything here and there are leveled homes here. My aunt’s development looks like a war zone and when the wind blows it “snows” pink fiberglass. Some people who left the state haven’t returned yet. Very sad, but good opportunities to help others and to show how preparedness helped our family and can help theirs as well.

          • HI, Debbie, oh my gosh, the leveled homes. I think the hardest part for me is seeing the damage and realizing it’s going to take a very long time for some of these people to rebuild. It breaks my heart. Hopefully, people are using masks or scarfs to keep the fiberglass out of their noses and lungs. It really is nice to see the people working together. I hope your aunt comes out okay with her home in her development. Linda

  3. Rita Saumweber says:

    Hi Linda, thanks for these posts and your great hints on what works for you. It reminds me though how inadequately prepared I am in the no power area and here in MN that will be crucial in the winter. Better get planning.
    My best to you Debbie O. I hope all goes well for you.

    • Hi Rita, here’s how I see preparedness if we understand the need to be prepared, we can start with one gallon of water and one can a week. I hate the dark, I need a lantern or two at night. I can turn it off when I go to sleep. It’s the 7:00 to 10:00 P.M. I need some light. Yes, flashlights work, but a lantern in a room lights up the room. May God bless you for planning now. Linda

  4. If you can afford one, I suggest a whole house generator, or at least a plug in to your house. It is costly, but it could save your life. Make sure it is done by a licensed electrician.

    • Hi Janet, I have two friends that have whole house generators and the fuel to support them. It’s not in my budget, but I don’t live up north where it’s freezing cold in the winter. I totally agree people must get the permits required and hire a licensed electrician install one. Great reminder, thank you, Linda

      • Over the radio after Hurricane Irma they said that whole house generators were NOT to be used. They were slowing down the efforts to restore power to others and they were dangerous for the workers on the lines. To make sure people heeded this, they said that whole house generators would be ruined with a surge when they go to work on the lines. I don’t know how that was, but down in FL, they were seriously unhappy about whole house generators. Plus I noticed with our small generator that it sucked a lot of gas when gas was hard to get. We had a supply of gas cans with gas that we rotated, but you can’t just store a lot of gas and let it sit too long. Even with stabilizer, it’s not going to be good gas if it sits waiting for the next hurricane. The last one before this one went through 13 years ago.

        • Hi Debbie, wow, whole house generators were NOT to be used. So you are in Florida, okay gotcha. How would you compare this Hurricane to the one 13 years ago? I need to understand the whole surge thing with the generators. I’m picturing the surge would be through the power hooked up to the generator, right? Mark and I got hit by lighting a couple weeks ago. I didn’t write about it yet because that was nothing compared to what all of you have gone through. Hugs, Linda

  5. One thing I wanted to ask. Do your solar power generators give out a loud alarm when the battery is going low? We have an electric version of a battery jump pack and after being plugged in for a time, it emits an annoying continuous beeeeeeeep that you cannot ignore. Also it will do this after just discharging 25% of the power. So when it gets down to 75% charge left, it gives off the annoying alarm. We ran a fan on low and it took no time at all before we heard that beeeeeeep. Maybe we need another kind. Can you run the cpap all night without an alarm going off?

    • Hi Debbie, my son-in-law ran his for 8-1/2 hours and it still had more power to use and no alarm went off. I have never heard a beep but I never let my solar generators get down before charging them. That would be irritating if it still had 75% power left to have it beep. I have run several things and never had an alarm go off.

  6. Carolyn Steel says:

    Hi Linda, I too was in central Florida during hurricane Irma (Sumpter County) probably about an hour west of Debbie O. We used a portable generator and gas which I store with an additive (STA-BUILT) and I rotate it once a year into my son’s van and then refill the gas cans with fresh gas. No problems at all with stored gas. I have considered getting a whole house generator also and did not hear about any problems for the workers trying to restore service. My nephew is a supervisor for Sumpter Electric and has been a lineman for over 20 years. He has been working 16 hour shifts around the clock since the hurricane. I will try to get an answer from him on the use of whole house generators. It doesn’t seem feasible that they are sold for the purpose of emergency use and could still pose a risk for electrical workers restoring power.

    • Hi, Carolyn, I read or heard where they asked people NOT to use their whole house generators because of the danger to the workers like your nephew. I would love to hear what your nephew’s thoughts. I will pray for his safety and health to be able to get what needs to be repaired or fixed. You know these last few storms were a wake-up call for so many people. I live in Southern Utah, our biggest threat is flooding, fires, and earthquakes. I’m so glad to hear that so many people were prepared for these hurricanes but I’m worried about the people who need food and water and a place to live. My biggest concern is how quickly SOME people will soon forget the devastation the families involves in Hurricane Harvey and Irma had to endure. Great comment, thank you! Linda

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