Don’t let a windstorm power outage leave you isolated or wondering if the food in your freezer is safe to eat.
Here are three "who-knews" you'll be glad you learned before Mother Nature's next big blow:
Freezer full of … food poisoning? You know to keep the freezer door closed during a power outage to hold in the cold, but just how long can the food safely last? Here's how to tell. While the power is still on, freeze a clear plastic cup of water (no lid). Then, place a quarter on top of the ice. In a power outage, the ice will slowly melt, allowing the quarter to sink. If you find it halfway down the cup, the food is still safe to eat, since it stayed partially frozen. However, if the coin is at or near the bottom, throw away the food. That means it thawed and may have spoiled. The video shows more.
Make your cell phone last. Ideally, you'll have a car charger to give your cell phone a boost when you can't charge in the house. But if you need to preserve precious battery life for emergency use, make sure you switch your phone to low-battery mode and close unused apps. Then, put it in airplane mode. Low-battery mode shuts down power-gobbling features like mail fetch, and it dims screen brightness. Airplane mode disables your cellular voice and data connection and, depending on your phone, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Just remember to switch it back when you need to make or receive calls and messages.
Escape your garage. Without power, your garage door opener can't respond to the button on the wall or your remote. However, you can open your garage door by pulling the manual-release cord, which hangs directly above the door when it's down. It usually has a red pull knob. Depending on the model you have, you'll pull it straight down or slightly inward (toward the garage) to release the door. Then, you can lift the door by hand. Use caution. It may be heavy. Once you're out, close the door and lock it with a key or an interior slide latch, located on the side of the door.
Once the power comes on, you can unlock it and re-engage the automatic opener. Pull the cord down or slightly outward (toward the garage door). Then, push the button and it should reconnect itself. If you have trouble, consult your garage door opener owner's manual since the technique can vary from model to model.