Recently had a power outage during a wind storm. Caring for elderly parents in my home. What can be done if a power outage happens again? -

Recently had a power outage during a wind storm. Caring for elderly parents in my home. What can be done if a power outage happens again?


We recently had our power go out for two days. We have an all-electric house. It was freezing. I went out several times a day to get warm food for my parents. We are looking into getting a generator. Parents are bedbound so going to a hotel was not an option. How have you handled being without electricity for several days?



A few years ago we had 'black-outs' all the time. Harder to deal with once the light had gone.

Soooooo this is what we did.
Car battery (always charged) - tv for who ever but only for short whiles
Hurricane lamps (with batteries and some replacement leds)
Fondeau base with a saucepan for hot water etc.
You can fry an egg in the base of the saucepan, Fried bread or toast as well. :)

Lots of thin layers of clothes - I find them warmer than too many thick ones.
2 or three good blankets and a duvet. A warm hat, gloves and extra pair of socks.
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Reply to BuzzyBee

Generators for the house are 5 to 6 k and you need a gas source or big tanks. Zoning laws need to be followed. You need to weigh the cost benfits here and life expectancy. I worked in a hospital and many people on oxygen came back to the hospital for several days. I do not know if insurance covered them. Your local community services should have helped you with relocaton services. Once a large disaster happens and FEMA is involved, within 2 days services and supplies are ramped up.
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Reply to MACinCT

To be prepared in the future I bought my parents some survival kit at this site,

Here's what I got them:
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Reply to jo2a0507

Our generator is like Veronica’s. Its propane fueled and comes on automatically. We have a rather large house and didn’t put the entire house on the generator. It can be powered by zones so your kitchen, furnace and parents living spaces could be powered, if desired. Every house on our street has one due to snow and wind here. It’s really worth the security.
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Reply to rocketjcat

We have a heater buddy...propane heater safe for indoors. Our heat pump broke and we used it for a couple of months. Or winters are mild so I used it in mom's room during the night and the living room during the daytime.

We also have a small generator and a propane grill with burner. We manage okay.

If our electric went out in the summer, it would be more of a problem. ;-) Arizona summers when the power is out is tough.
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Reply to Grammyteacher

We have had a propane powered generator for several years now. It is quite big and sits ouside the basement plus two large propane tanks. it runs the essentials like fridge/freezers, well pump,furnace & water heater plus bathroom lights and some kitchen outlets. It was not a cheap addition but is fully linked to the home service and within 10 seconds automatically kicks in. Once a week it comes on automatically and checks itself. We have enough propane for 9 days in the tanks. We can't use the electric cook stove or the oven of the propane stove in the basement but can use the propane cook top. It is also very quiet to run
I would advise moving any disabled, elderly, sick people to a facility as soon as /or before a predicted emergency because those beds fill very fast. Mostly in our area snow is usually the biggest emergency and the county can be closed for a couple of days. Flooding is also a problem in some parts.
Portable gas or propane heaters are not a good idea because of the danger both of fire and carbon monoxide. If you have a regularly used wood stove that is not more unsafe than when the power is on. I do have a whole army of camping cookware that run on the tiny propane tanks and they work well. You can also heat things like soup in a fondue pot with candles or or fuel cans. If you use candles I have found the safest thing to do is to set them in heavy vases. I also have a  battery operated hand cranked radio that can also charge things like cell phones. Don't forget the ever ready BBQ sitting on the back deck.
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Reply to Veronica91

Forgot to address your original question. I've lost power frequently, usually in the summer. I keep thermometers in the frig and freezer, and move the frig food to the freezer when necessary, and freezer food downstairs to the basement freezer.

I eat a lot of foods that don't require that much refrigeration; don't do any cooking and just rely on staples.

Being w/o power forces me to think creatively, using up foods that are on store just for basics.

Sometimes I like to think of it as a tech break; I can't use the computer or tv so I don't have to worry about politics for a while.

I get a supply of books and magazines and indulge myself. If it's too hot, I can drive somewhere and get the benefit of the AC in the car.

Winter is harder; it's harder to keep warm than it is to keep cool. But I bundle up in fleece throws and heavy sweats with double knit socks, and out of necessary do some exercising to keep warm. As always, the car can offer a heated respite.

One thing I need to do is get some backpacking gear, such as a sleeping bag rated for frigid weather. And I need to make some heavier clothes....someday.
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Reply to GardenArtist

This happened to us last year. A windstorm knocked out power to my father's community and adjoining areas. Power was out for 5 days.

Complication was that he was on oxygen. He had a 4 hour supply in his portable concentrator before he ran out and had to use E tanks, which wouldn't have been easy for him because he'd have to lift them and insert them in the carrier, with one hand holding onto a walker and the other lifting an 8 lb (+/-) tank.

I have a list of all the places I called to find one that had an oxygen concentrator, or that could help: EMS, local hospital, Salvation Army (facilities, but no oxygen), senior centers for suggestions, and more which I've forgotten.

As the 4 hour window closed, my father's senior center came through for us with an arrangement at a local AL facility which would take him, but didn't have oxygen. The portable concentrator and back-up batteries were loaded up, but batteries would have to be changed every 2 hours as it was decided not to take all the E tanks. Dad didn't get much sleep at all that night.

It was discovered the following morning that the facility had a concentrator. My heart stopped racing and we could both relax.

Afterward, I thought of all possible contingencies and what we could do if it happened again, and I decided the easiest way for both of us would be to go to the local Holiday Inn Express, assuming it had a generator. If it didn't (and I have yet to do this), I would call facilities outside of the windblown area and see if they had rooms available.

I haven't figured out how to get the stationary concentrator out of the house (it's too heavy for me to haul out to a car), but I could fill the car with E tanks (of which I then ordered extra). Only difficulty would be that I'd have to stay there at the motel as well to change the tanks.

Buying a generator would be expensive, very expensive, and probably never used again. I relied on Windy's advice as an electrician and decided not to get one.
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Reply to GardenArtist

Those are cheap and reliable, CW, not hard to do. I agree it's essential to monitor.
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Reply to Countrymouse

I wouldn't want anyone to use any gas or propane - or even wood - appliance indoors unless they have a working CO detector, it just isn't worth the risk.
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Reply to cwillie