In the heat of summer, a power outage can be more than an inconvenience — that’s why it’s important you have a plan to keep cool and minimize risks. This list of tips can help you create that plan, stay safe and maintain your sanity. Print it out and keep it handy for those hot summer days ahead.
The best offense is a good defense. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. You’ll also want to avoid alcohol and caffeine; they can cause dehydration. If you feel overheated, dizzy or weak, rest in the coolest part of your home and wipe yourself down with a cool, wet cloth. Seek medical help if you don’t improve quickly.
Minimize physical activity as much as possible. If you must be outside, use sunscreen, wear protective items such as a wide-brimmed hat, and stay in the shade. And don’t forget your pets! Animals need plenty of water, too, and shaded areas if they go outdoors.
Cool showers (or better yet, a dip in the pool, if you’re so lucky) don’t just feel good in the moment. When you get out, the water on your skin will evaporate and cool you even more. Applying cold water or ice cubes directly on your wrists can also have a wonderful cooling effect.
Wear loose-fitting, light-colored cotton clothing or a damp shirt, and add a wet bandana around your neck. Use silk or satin bedding if you can — it will feel cooler than other materials.
When the sun is out, keep windows and blinds closed. At night, if it’s safe, open as many windows as you can to create a cross-breeze with the cooler air.
Open your refrigerator and freezer as little as possible. It’s tempting to open the freezer and stand there, we know. But that will accelerate the spoilage of perishable food (24-48 hours for the freezer; about four hours for the fridge). Remember to unplug your electronics and appliances. This won’t keep you cool, but you don’t want a surge to fry your computer when the power comes back on.
Finally, one of the best strategies for getting through a summer power outage is to distract yourself. How about reading that book you’ve been meaning to get to? Or writing a letter to that old friend? Try to relax, because the power will be back soon — along with your normal, hectic life!