Island Senior: Surviving Winter Storms

Posted January 15, 2020 at 5:47 am by

Island Senior is a reg­u­lar col­umn on the San Juan Update writ­ten by Peg­gy Sue McRae…

Icy Island Road - Keli Kilpatrick photo

We islanders enjoy what is nor­mal­ly a mild cli­mate but every once in a while we get blast­ed with a win­ter storm. If you’ve lived here for a while you have sto­ries to tell of pow­er out­ages, frozen pipes, even hur­ri­cane force winds blow­ing out docks and knock­ing over trees. Rarely is it that dra­mat­ic, but all the more rea­son to be prepared.

The San Juan County/Town of Fri­day Har­bor Depart­ment of Emer­gency Man­age­ment web­site has a wealth of infor­ma­tion. As a first step they rec­om­mend being pre­pared to stay home, pos­si­bly with­out pow­er, for two weeks. That means hav­ing food, drink­ing water, bat­ter­ies and books. This is not just good advice for storms but rec­om­mend­ed for all kinds of pos­si­ble emer­gen­cies includ­ing earthquakes.

When antic­i­pat­ing a wind­storm, before it hap­pens anchor down items that could blow away. Fill your gas tank. If you use life-sus­tain­ing equip­ment reg­is­ter it with your util­i­ty. If you have a land­line phone this is when you will appre­ci­ate it and it is one rea­son I have kept mine. They work when the pow­er is out.

Dur­ing a high wind­storm avoid dri­ving if at all pos­si­ble, stay away from pow­er lines. If the pow­er goes out dis­con­nect heaters and appli­ances and unplug your com­put­er to pro­tect it from a pow­er surge when the pow­er comes back on. Con­serve water and be very care­ful with can­dles and kerosene.

When the weath­er dips below freez­ing drip your faucets and leave cup­boards below fix­tures open to give some house­hold warmth to your pipes. If your pipes do freeze know how to shut off your water in case when they thaw out they are dam­aged. If using a fuel fed heater be sure you have good ventilation.

A stack of tor­tillas, a block of cheese, and a few cans of beans are my go to emer­gency food. It is easy to make a sat­is­fy­ing meal out of these ingre­di­ents on top of a wood stove. Fruits and nuts, trail mix or oth­er foods that require no cook­ing are also handy to have around. I used to won­der what to do with all the Yan­kee style can­dles in jars that I often get for Christ­mas. I’ve dis­cov­ered they are the best thing for a pow­er out­age, heavy enough not to tip over eas­i­ly and with the safe­ty fea­ture of being con­tained with­in the glass.

For more infor­ma­tion check out these links. 

Link to: The San Juan County/Town of Fri­day Har­bor Depart­ment of Emer­gency Management

Link to: OPALCO Win­ter Storm Checklist

Link to: OPALCO Gen­er­a­tor Safe­ty Tips

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Categories: Island Senior, Safety, Weather

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