When the weather man’s predictions are for an ice storm with a half an inch of freezing rain, the best thing to do is to call the airlines and start packing. However, most of us can’t afford to do that.
The things you need to think about are heat, water, food and toilet. If you’re a city dweller, your water and sewer may not be affected during a power loss, but in the country, it goes out with the electricity. Fill a couple of buckets with water for flushing the toilet, and fill pitchers for drinking water. Don’t worry about keeping it cold–it’ll bring up the temperature in your refrigerator every time you open the door for a drink. Keep the freezer closed unless you want all of your frozen foods to slowly thaw. If you have a gas cooking stove you are all set for preparing meals, but if you have an electric stove you’re going to be eating sandwiches and cereal.
Conserve heat by closing doors to all rooms and staying in one of them. If you’re fortunate enough to have a woodstove and know how to use it safely, light a warming fire and gather in that room. Bundle up with warm clothes and quilts and have a quiet reading time or a family game night. If you have a heater that you use for camping, don’t try using it indoors unless it specifically says that it is approved for that use.
Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and that you have flashlights and candles before darkness falls. Have a large cache of unscented tea lights on hand, which are very inexpensive and light the way for hours.
Of course, the best and handiest thing to have for these times is a generator. You can plug in just a few things with a long indoor-outdoor heavy duty extention cord, or have an electricial wire your home for it. In times of extended power outages, you can turn off your house power at the main electrical box and turn on the generator to run your refrigerator, heating system and a burner or two on your stove. A generator is a good investment, even if it only gets used once a year. An extented power outage can ruin everything in your freezer causing a larger expense than a generator’s cost.
If you’re prepared for an ice storm, it will only be a minor inconvenience instead of a catastrophe.