[At the time of publishing I heard about the QLD and NSW fires currently happening. Reminder to look here no matter where you live. If you are in areas right now that are close, get off this page and listen for emergency service instructions. Have leaving procedures in please for yourself and remember your pets. Please stay safe out there.]
It’s 40C here and I’ve been out today, so I’m hot, prickly, swollen and grumpy. Let’s make a post!
We’re actually going to do something very relatable to this gross weather; how to prepare for the summer blackouts predicted for this summer season and into the foreseeable future until we go extinct.
Another reason why I’m doing this post is that I see a lot of posts getting ready for winters (especially US-based) and not many for hot summers, which makes people hallucinate Snoopy and, yanno, die. People forget how bad heat is on the body.
Below will contain tips your phone and in general, plus food ideas and what to aid to your first aid/emergency kit. I’m sure I’ve missed obvious things so this will be constantly updated.
Wee teeny-tiny disclaimer: This post is for scenarios where power will resume within 10-12 hours as that is what I’m used to currently (thank goodness I don’t live in the middle of nowhere anymore!). To truly be ready for food/water shortages and longer blackouts, make sure you calculate how much water you need for each day using something like an online calculator, keeping in mind this should be the minimum for hot days.
Okay, so, it’s getting warmer, people are getting a bit more erratic because patience and kindness melted away at 5am than morning: it’s time to prep for blackouts, especially if it’s coming up to extreme weather season. The most important things are usually lumped into
- Keeping temperature happy; in our case, we want to stay cool.
- Be able to hydrate, followed by being able to eat.
- To be contactable and be able to contact others.
- Being able to see in the dark.
Here’s a little list of items that you might think about purchasing for the future that are really good to have year-round, so they don’t have to be just for emergency situations, but a relief to have when you need it.
Solar LED Lights and/or Outdoor Lights
Above is a picture of a little outdoor party lantern I bought from IKEA last year when it was one of those end-of-season sales. I actually initially bought it so we have a no-fuss light for the backyard table but it was a godsend in the last couple of blackouts that we have! It was ready to go from being charged out in the sun, it’s stupidly bright and because it doesn’t emit any heat, kept inside cool.
Torch/Flashlight and Batteries
I don’t think I need to elaborate on this, it’s an obvious essential, and if you can get one that’s hand-cranked or solar, even better.
Manual Can Opener
Again, obvious, and annoying, but eating is better than annoying.
Duct tape, super glue, Blu-Tack.. it’s all good to have for a multitude of things. Sure, Blu-Tack softens and melts in heat (hello posters sliding down the walls) but it can still be handy.
Portable Charger for Devices
I talk about some phone tips before but I think if you can get your hands on a working solar charger or a power bank that’s been charged up and ready to go, it really helps. Also great to have even if your bag for concerts and events, so it’s a good investment to make.
Ice Packs and Ice Blocks
Again, wanted to address it separately from the food part below but have these in your freezer ready to go for dunking in the bath to cool it down further, wrap in a cloth to cool your body directly or to shove in a little cooler bag or Esky. Also, having nice flavoured ice blocks and some of the electrolyte variety help immensely.
[Random note but blackcurrant Zooper Doopers were and still are the literal embodiment if evil.]
GET A BATTERY OR SOMETHING-POWERED FAN IF YOU CAN EVEN IF IT’S A FACE SPRITZER FAN I AM SERIOUS.
On that note-
I assure you that if you have a spray bottle filled with water you will be at least 67% better off. Lemme tell you. Even if you don’t have a fan, even if you have the most humid breeze blowing – or no breeze at all – spraying your head, the back of your neck and your feel will make it so much more bearable, including whatever surface you lay or sit on.
Next, get off your phone and try not to use if you don’t have any way to charge it and make sure it’s only used to contact others.
Some tips to keep the charge are:
- Turn on low power mode
- Close down any apps and switch off unnecessary notifications
- Turn off Bluetooth and WIFI
- Dim screen
With that out of the way, it’s time to the emergency kit. It helps to have this in an easy place to get to and to leave it out somewhere anyone can get to, like the dining table or kitchen bench. This is also going to be your very basic “to-go bag” or bug-out bag of sorts if something goes wrong.
- Non-perishable snacks
- a. Medications (including painkillers), sunscreen, bug spray
3b. Like your daily medications, if you use mineral supplements like magnesium, try to have backups. Not really an essential unless you really need or want them.
- First Aid Kit yes have a FIRST AID KIT THEY CAN COME IN TINY LITTLE BOXES NOW THERE IS NO EXCUSE. KEEP IT IN THE BLOODY CAR IF YOU HAVE TO.
- Different sources of light- solar or battery powdered lanterns, torches/flashlights, glow sticks
- Face masks and gloves
- Duct tape because .. I mean.. duct tape helps in any situation
Let’s talk about food because even though you might have water and you’re staying hydrated, you’re going to get hungry, and eating with no electricity to cook with is going to make you very creative. More so if you have little mouths to feed, so the best tip I can give you is this:
- Don’t have kids.
- Refer to no. 1.
If you’ve gone ahead and had them or there are other people in your home, much more planning has to go into it, but this house has two people so things are much easier. A portable gas stove or something along those lines can give you heaps more choices, but if you can’t afford that, here are some ideas.
Food, If You Have Time to Prepare:
Salads with a good portion of protein
Bacon or any variation you like
Cooked plain pasta or as plain as you can get it so it doesn’t spoil (you can add to it later). Also, cooked pasta that’s eaten once cool seems to lower blood sugar spike and acts more like fibre in the body, which could come in handy for anyone that needs to watch their glucose and blood sugar levels. The structure change happens in white rice and potatoes.
Cooked plain rice/quinoa/couscous or as plain as you can get it so it doesn’t spoil (you can add to it later)
Mashed sweet or white potatoes
Food [you SHOULD have already]:
Peanut butter or some other nut butter
Fish pouches or tins. Salmon and mackerel are great, but if you can only afford tuna, best to grab it.
Apple sauce cups (or make your own)
Beef jerky or twiggy sticks
Crackers and anything cracker-y
Dried fruit if you’re gross
Any ‘to-go’ ready-made snacks
Power bars or gels
Electrolyte drinks, tabs and/or gels
Liquid-based foods, like soup pouches.. although I doubt you’ll want to eat something hot
The biggest and most obvious tip when it comes to food is to eat your perishables first. Milk, yogurt, tuna casserole, have a damn feast.
I’m not going to leave you with some parting tips that I help really help you or at least get your mind ticking in terms of what works for you and your loved ones. Again, if you have kids.. sorry?
- Keep head, back of neck and feet cooled with spritzers, wet rags and hats
- Have a radio. It sounds archaic but it’s really not and still a handy thing to have
- Utilise your bathtub, extra sinks and washing machine
- INVEST IN SARONGS! Sarongs are the ultimate “it’s too hot and I can’t move but I don’t want my balls out to my kids” clothing. And don’t give me that crap that ‘men can’t wear sarongs’, it’s hot and NO ONE CARES, JOHN.
- If bugs, especially mosquitoes, are a concern where you live, think about investing in net sheets or hang extra light-coloured sheets in doorways or open windows.
- Stay close to ground-level to avoid rising heat.
- Make as much ice as possible, if you can’t make it have a bit of cash to purchase ice.
- BBQ anything you possibly can. Yes, it’s going to be hot but you’ll have BBQ’d FOOD.
- Don’t. Use. Candles. You have no idea how quickly just one candle in a small room can heat it up so quickly. Now’s not the time to do the candle ~aesthetic, Jenny. Stick with the lights I mentioned above.
- If you HAVE to use candles, stick with a tealight or two in a larger area, or keep them outside if anyone needs to go out. Citronella or any that deter insects is best.
- If you can shove it in the freezer, shove it in the freezer.
- If you have kids, implement the 2-second rule on fridges and freezers; if they can’t remember where something is in the fridge they want to get out, they have two seconds to get it. If you have more than one kid wanting to do this, I guess… just be the fridge police? I don’t know, children seem so much worse when it’s hot and I couldn’t care less.
- This last one depends on the humidity in the air and what kind of flooring you have but I’m very sure that if it’s humid to close windows and doors to rooms that aren’t occupied. These days windows are great at deflecting a lot of heat by themselves in the day and if you have tiles they will help your house stay cool without any fan or air-con running. This is actually something I’ve done in multiple houses and something I do every day in this one. I suggest trying it out if you can, especially if it’s humid.
I think we’re done! I hope this helps anyone out there and if there’s anything I’ve missed, I’ll amend this article.
I hope you stay safe out there and remember, kids are tiring and climate change is real!