What To Do If (When?) Sandy Knocks Your Lights Out

The email from Applegate Farms arrived announcing they have a large supply of dry ice on hand to keep perishables cool. Good to know, I thought. And, sigh…another reminder of the possibility that it may be lights out sometime soon.

By now I hope everyone has their battery operated flashlights and radio ready to go, candles on hand and some ideas about what to do if (or is it when?) there is a power outage. But do we really know what to do, besides playing Monopoly by candlelight while experiencing the symptoms of tech attachment disorder dysfunction?

So maybe now, while the lights and internet are still on at our houses, may be a good time to brush up.

Many folks purchased a generator after the storms of 2011, but if it hasn’t been used yet, need to brush up on the safety criteria, beginning with operating it only outdoors, a safe distance from doors and windows.

The Center for Disease Control has posted important information about power failures and the safety of food, water and home environments. CNN offers additional advice for managing medications and other issues, and here’s a wiki with a simple 8-point prep plan.

Here in our area, PSE&G offers practical guidelines at their website. The utility is also maintaining an interactive map showing power outages statewide.

The Montclair Office of Emergency Management reminds us: “If your power is out, do not assume PSE&G knows about it. For power outages call PSE&G at 1-800-436-7734. Stay away from all power lines. Assume they are live and dangerous. If you have a downed power line call PSE&G: 1-800-436-7734.”

In Montclair, the township manager’s office re-emphasized this last part, noting that by calling PSE&G directly and providing your address, PSE&G can trace the source of the outage; but warns “PSE&G says they’ll usually wait for the wind to drop below 45 mph before sending crews.”

In Glen Ridge, the township administrator’s office asks that in addition to calling the PSE&G number above, that residents also call the police department — 973-748-5400 – so that the borough can keep track of power outages in twon.

Remember, if you have at least one land line telephone that is not cordless, you can make and receive calls even during a power outage.

As for me, I’ve stopped teasing my husband about that clunky, heavy old rotary dial phone he keeps in his basement workroom — and which is now plugged in to a phone jack in our dining room; it’s not much for aesthetics, but that won’t matter when we want to check on his elderly parents.

Top photo: Flickr via Creative Commons

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  1. I have a 1200W inverter in my car, which will power my fridge and my coffee machine. It will help me keep internet going too, assuming the cell towers stay working…

  2. My palatial Estate in UPPER Montclair is prone to electrical outages. For us, we hold these “light-less days” as reminders of those who go without (i.e. never say those of us in the “43” can’t “relate” to those in “LOWER” Montclair.)

    Still, we lost power a few hours ago, I sent the staff home, and rather than try to make it through like last year, we bugged out to a local hotel.

    Hope everyone is safe.

  3. I have an extra 1200 watt inverter for a car that I will sell for my cost. It is brand new – I ended up with 2 of them. You can power lights and small appliances. I was able to power a refrigerator as well, but it depends on the type of fridge that you have. Email me at robzplanet@gmail.com.. I live near Upper Montclair station. My cost for the inverter and cables was $110.

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