This past week many of us experienced lights out and power flickers. With the cold temperatures and sporadic outages, we’ve all checked to make sure we had a backup heat source, matches and flashlights ready for whatever nature throws at us. But there are a few extra steps we can take to be ready for when the lights go out.
Be Prepared for Lights Out
Have entertainment options on hand.
Most kids, teens and even adults rely heavily on technology to keep us busy and entertained. When the lights go out, it’s easy to hear the words “I’m bored” from all ages. We have a package of glow sticks in the cabinet that is perfect for these occasions. Kids may not be comfortable in the house when the lights are out, so a glow stick necklace can give them a light source that is safe and fun.
Card games like UNO, Pictionary or Jenga are great family options that don’t require a lot of light.
Another great option for family entertainment is the game called Heads Up available on most mobile devices. From naming celebrities, to singing, to silly accents — guess the word on the card that’s on your head from your friends’ clues before the timer runs out! Draw a new card simply by tilting your phone. Keep videos of your hilarious game play for your own amusement, or share them when the lights come back on. Diverse categories let you challenge your friends and entertain your kids for hours, all from one app! The app is only .99 on itunes.
Don’t go dark.
Most people have traditional flashlights on hand for power outages, but another great option to light your room is the headlamps that are available in the sporting goods department. These headlamps are perfect for outdoor activities or house repairs where you want to keep your hands free and still have light, but they are also great for emergency situations. When the lights went out this past week, we pointed one toward the ceiling and let it be our room light while we played games. You can get them in various brightness levels for under $20.
Most people use candles when the lights go out, but then there is the fear of an open flame. Consider purchasing a battery powered candle. These often look just like a candle but are operated by AA batteries. We keep one on hand so the bathroom will have a steady light source without the fire hazard.
Clear the floors and counters.
When the lights went out this past week, I knew we had about 20 minutes left before the dark of night set in. The first thing we did was pick up toys and random papers. We didn’t want to end up stepping on LEGO bricks in the dark or having a valuable piece of paper get lost in the mess. Not only does this make it easier to navigate with a flashlight but also lessens the risk of a fire.
Save the Hot Coffee.
One of the most comforting things when the lights are out is a hot cup of cocoa or coffee. Sometimes the power will flicker many times during ice or snow emergencies. One of the first things I did after getting the flashlights and candles ready was to set the coffee pot and prepare a pot of water ready to boil. That way I was ready as soon as the power came back on to make a hot drink. Once it was ready, it could be transferred to a thermos and will stay hot for several hours even if the power goes out again.
How do you get ready for when the lights go out? I’d love to hear!
This article was published in the Sunday edition of the Advocate Messenger, 1/12/14.It is reprinted here for those of you who don’t subscribe to the Sunday paper.