Life almost off the grid can be a little frustrating at times to those who’ve spent their lives in “the Flatlands.” In rural areas, distances, and minimal conveniences can compound to make an emergency situation seem even more surreal. Our posts on the historic wind storm and Winter Storm Stella prompted us to create this list for you, especially if you’re vacationers/renters. These might save your stay.
Never let your gas tank get less than half full, especially up here. That’s just good general advice.
Get ice as quick as you can at the Vale, Laporte General Store, or Nittany’s in Sonestown. This isn’t the city and opportunities are scarce. The Vale sells block ice. It lasts longer but may not fit in your frig/freezer/cooler. Check if these places are on before you go.
Speaking of being “on”, the Borough Hall is on a generator. If you desperately need to use your computer, they might be able to help.
If you’re a renter, your freezer is probably pretty empty. Turn it into your frig by moving meats and other perishables in there along with a big bag of ice. We saved a gallon of milk and other stuff doing that. Give it up after three days, though.
If it’s winter, stockpile your front porch with firewood. Otherwise it might get snowed under. Likewise, put your snow shovel by the door.
If you’re in a rental, you won’t know your way around in the dark
and it gets dark REAL early without power. If it’s still light, pick up the floor to avoid tripping after sundown. Lay out the bed clothes and diapers. Distribute the alternative light sources (below) throughout the house now.
Flashlights are okay, but here are some other sources of illumination. Those battery-operated decorative candles are a terrific, safe lighting source and can serve their original purpose later. Available in sets of 5-7 for around $15 at Michaels and Walmart. Don’t forget the batteries!
Solar path lights from Walmart or Lowes can be recharged during the day and offer 8 hours of light at night. For the most light, buy the strongest ones you can afford, usually $3 +/- each. Plan on at least 3 per floor. Scatter around the house in drinking glasses. Don’t forget to recharge in the AM.
One of us is not a fan of oil lamps, but if YOU are, oil was available at Bill’s Ace Hardware in Dushore when everyone else was sold out.
Try to remember what was running when the power went out and flip the switch, so you’re not blasted by kleig lighting and blaring TV at 2 AM when Penelec works its magic.
When you’re on a well, you lose water too. Minimize flushing. Tie a rag around the handle to remind everyone not to flush.
Eventually, you have to. Keep a bucket or two on hand for toilets and gathering water. Collapsible 5-gallon containers are available at WalMart in the camping section. They contain a spout. About $8. Really handy for Little House Dishwashing!
Gather said water for toilets from the Lake or Pond. Or your hot tub. We do not recommend drinking, cooking, or dish-washing from these sources. Arguable, but we’re playing it safe here cuz….
Potable water can be had for free from the generator-driven Borough Hall spigot or at the famous bathtub outside the Barn Restaurant. Don’t be scared off by the tub water. You are filling from the hose.