10/28/2005

Some Tips for Floridians

These tips are intended for those in South Florida who are coping without electricity. They can be used by anyone but they are some things that I have learned in my experience after Hurricane Katrina. Being without power for twelve days has taught me a lot.

1) Open all the windows in your home that you can. That way cross breezes will be created and makes coping with 90 and above temps easier

2) If you have water but are still under a boil water notice, place two capfuls of bleach in the water when you are washing dishes. This will cut down on using your precious drinking water

3) It is possible to make a clothes line with twine, a basketball goal post and a oak tree. That comes in handy for all the hand washed clothes. And again, put bleach in the water and let it sit for 15 minutes. That way it won't ruin your dark colored clothes

4) Trying to use charcoal to cook is not very effective. It's best to have a propane grill or a Coleman camp grill with propane. You can cook oatmeal, eggs(before they spoil), spaghetti, and being very creative, Spam with blackeyed peas. In other words, you don't have to have Raviloi and soup all the time. A word to the wise about MRE's, most are very good but stay away from the beef terriayki

5) Take your shower in the late afternoon. That very cold water will cool you off and make it possible for you sleep at night

6) Spend a lot of time outside in the shade. You'll meet your neighbors and be able to stop all the various utility trucks going through your neighborhood and get updates. Also, if it looks like some of them are just passing by, you can stop them like I had to do with the tree trimming guys and get them to do the work at your house before they move on

7) Walgreen's has this neat little all world radio. That radio runs on two AA batteries and I ran it constantly and I did not have to change the batteries at all when I was without power

8) Cell phones may be virtually useless as was the case in Mississippi. They did not come on line until almost two weeks after Katrina hit. Land lines may also be very unreliable. If you can call out of the area, you can get friends in say, Mobile AL to leave a comment at your web-site to let everyone know you are okay. There is really no solution to the communication problems we faced down here and are still facing. It was just persistence and a matter of luck on who I was able to contact. At one point, the only people I could reach were my ex, my ex in-laws, the 800 number for FEMA, and the 800 number for my insurance company. All were very courteous and the people at FEMA and the insurance company didn't seem to mind letting me ramble

9) Choose a very good book to read. I made the mistake of trying to read Chaim Potok's In the Beginning, which is a very good book but I needed something that would take my mind off things and not make me think too much. So a good choice would be something light on the lines of James Herriot's All Creatures Great and Small

10) If you try to read at night, I have found the best solution for light is one large hurricane lamp in the center of your reading area and two 8 inch taper candles, one placed to the left and one placed to right of your reading area

11) Conserve your battery powered lights as much as possible. Batteries will still be almost impossible to find even when stores start to reopen

12) When after the third day without power you have to start throwing away the stuff in your refrigerator, place a least two cups of bleach in your garbage cans. This will keep the stench down because it may be awhile before garbage pickup can resume

13) After everything is cleared out of your refrigerator, wipe it down with bleach and water. After it dries, wipe it down again with bleach and water. Make sure to leave the doors open

14) Don't be too alarmed if you get electricity back before you get mail service back. It just means the bills will be delayed!!

15) Conserve the gas in your car. If you filled up before the storm hit and don't go sightseeing, you will be able to get around for the important things like ice, water, and food before the gas stations begin to reopen. It was almost two weeks before the gas stations where I live reopened. I still had enough gas to last another two weeks if necessary

16) As you probably have realized by now, you need more than a 3 - 5 day supply of food and water. Stock up on canned goods and keep at least a three week supply on hand at all times. As for the water, I learned my lesson the hard way. I was down to my last 12 8-oz bottles of water when the FEMA trucks came in. Never again. I buy water now even when I know I have enough to last a week. Got to the stores too late the Saturday before Katrina hit. Also, when the grocery stores do re-open, the supplies they have will be limited

17) Give to your neighbors. It builds a good sense of community and will keep the trouble makers out

18) Go out at night and look at the stars. You'll be amazed at how many there really are once you don't have the interference from city lights to block them

2 Comments:

Anonymous Felis said...

Incredible.
I can imagine how difficult it must be without all these things we take for granted.
Yesterday we had a blackout.
My wife wanted to call Electricity Commission and ask them how long it would take to fix the problem.
Well, the modern digital phones do not work without electricity and we coudn't find out their phone number because we had no Internet connection either.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous seawitch said...

felis,

It's the little things like that will trip you up. I don't have a digital phone and was fortunate. It so people kept asking how I had phone service adn I told them if they just had a regular plug-in phone to check their lines, theirs might be working as well.

3:42 PM  

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