Author Update: Operation Ornaments is in the process of sending ornaments to survivors of typhoon Mawar affecting military and local families in Guam. We will ship to Alaska now and the military will fly them to Guam for distribution in late November. Each box of ornaments will bless 20 families. If you would like to help and sponsor a box you can Venmo $24.38 to   when it asks for a confirmation phone number enter 9346.     If you would rather write a check please message me for an address. Now it’s on to serving Lahaina Hawaii, Clarksville Tennessee, Rolling Fork Mississippi, and Ohio. Thank you to all who are helping make emotional healing and bringing love and encouragement to disaster survivors. For more info visit us on Facebook:  or our website 

Recently Pacific Gas and Electric announced to its customers in California they will be shutting off power for up to five days whenever weather conditions such as high winds could cause damage to lines and ignite a fire. You may not live in California but how soon will this be the norm for power companies everywhere seeking to protect themselves?

“The North American Electric Reliability Corporation report highlights regions of North America that could face grid reliability issues, thanks to too little supply of or too much demand for power. The US falls under an elevated risk of energy shortage and blackouts during unexpected extreme heat events.

These areas could face blackouts “under an event that is on the caliber of a once-per-decade heat wave,” said Mark Olson, manager of reliability assessments at NERC.

NERC says much of the Midwest, New England, and the region from California to Louisiana (and every state in between) are at risk during higher-than-normal peak demand. British Columbia and Saskatchewan in Canada have a higher risk as well.”*

You know or should know if you have been reading here or following us on Facebook, that the government is encouraging every family to have a minimum of a month’s worth of food in their homes.

The Department of Homeland Security is warning, in a report titled: Surviving a Catastrophic Power Outage, that the electric grid is now the “prime target” of terrorists, and Americans need to be prepared for power outages of up to six months. The report says that “People no longer keep enough essentials within their homes, reducing their ability to sustain themselves during an extended, prolonged outage. We need to improve individual preparedness.” *

HOWEVER, Inflation is killing many of us with huge price increases, 21% overall with energy costs up 35% since January 2012. This summer is projected to be a hot one. We are already seeing higher than normal temperatures across the country.

Two weeks ago, we concentrated on preparing for an outage. Review those ideas and prepare.

Following are a few steps you can take to help make a summer power outage a little more bearable when it happens and to save you money now:

Stock your freezer now! We have talked about this in the past, but have you done it? Place bags of ice or blocks of ice, or plastic containers or freezer bags filled with water, in your freezer to fill all the empty space.  When the power fails you have now extended the time your foods will remain safe to eat and you now have safe drinking water when the ice defrosts. You may have heard you should place a coin on a cup of ice in your freezer. Please do not do this. It is not an accurate evaluation of how long the power has been out or if your food is no longer safe. Different areas of a freezer maintain different levels of cooling and thus the food in one area may have defrosted and refrozen while other areas may never have defrosted at all. Filling empty spaces saves money as it stays cold longer and thus runs less often. Money saver.

Make signs reading: DO NOT OPEN and place on the refrigerator and freezer doors. Make a list of items needed before opening the door so you can grab and close quickly. Again, a money saver every day as you aren’t lowering the temperature as you stand and stare wondering what you want. Every time you raise the temperature the motor comes on to keep the foods inside at a safe temperature.

Keep your laundry caught up. Nothing is quite as miserable as a hot day with no power and no clean clothes to change into. To save money hang clothes to dry, this also prolongs the life of the garments

Find a cooling center by calling the police department or fire department. They will know the plan.

It’s O.K. to raid your emergency kit… That’s right, 120-hour kits are not just for earthquakes and hurricanes but for any emergency. Your kit should include Instant Cold Packs.  Place them on the neck or forehead for the best results.

Mylar Blankets from your kits placed to cover the sunniest windows will cut down on the heat entering your home. These blankets are large enough to cover a sliding door without piecing. You will be amazed how quickly the temperature in a room will drop when you cover your windows with these blankets.  A few years ago we had three days with temperatures over 100 degrees. Naturally, this is when our air conditioner failed. We placed mylar blankets in all our east and west-facing windows and the temperature inside our home remained around 80 degrees at the hottest part of the day. If you don’t have mylar blankets get them now and when the power fails, you will be able to keep your home cool longer. Money saver now.

Create shade. Remember not only do the sun’s rays create heat in your home but so do all those hard surface areas such as patios, walkways, and driveways. As these heat up the heat they emit raises the temperature in your home. Shade those areas to keep your hard surfaces cool. Money saver now.

Get wet. Take a shower and don’t dry your hair, take a dip in the pool and don’t dry off (if the pool is in the sun don’t stay in too long), run through a sprinkler, keep a spray bottle nearby and mist your face (also great for your complexion), use wet compresses on your neck or head, keep a wet washcloth by your bed to cool yourself through the night, wrap your head in a wet bandanna, or soak your feet.

Drink lots of water, lemonade, or juices, but never anything with caffeine or alcohol as these will raise your body temperature. Sodas will only increase your thirst. Popsicles are a great way to stay hydrated, eat them first before they defrost.  If you are thirsty, you have waited too long to drink.

Eat cold foods. This is the time to eat sandwiches, salads, and other foods that are not heated. Avoid large portions of protein foods as they will increase body temperature. Eat smaller, more frequent meals.

Cook outdoors if you feel you must have a hot meal or when cooking meats before they defrost during an outage and are no longer safe to eat.  When you have to save money place the crock pot outdoors to cook a meal keeping the house cooler.

Keep blinds and curtains closed.

Move activities, including eating and sleeping, to the coolest room in the house. This will normally be on the lowest level of your home and in a room with an exposure that does not receive direct sunlight.

Play board games or read, but don’t be too active.

If you don’t have mylar blankets place your outdoor umbrellas outside the windows receiving direct sun. Outdoor canopies, tarps, and dining flies also work well. Do it now to save money and when the power fails it’s already done and you are ready.

Wear loose, light-colored clothing.

Sit next to a battery-powered fan. Remember fans do not cool the air, they only move it so don’t leave fans running when you leave the room. You become cooler as the moisture on your skin evaporates. This is the reason you want to stay wet! Now is the time to purchase a battery-operated fan if you don’t have one.

Skip the exercise routine and delay working outside until it cools down at night.

Go Shopping! No kidding. Go to the grocery store or mall and window shop. Taking in a movie or going bowling are also “cool” pastimes if they have power. To save money go to an air-conditioned place and raise the thermostat a degree or two while you are away reducing the number of times the air conditioner comes on.

The elderly, young children, pregnant women, and those taking diuretics are most vulnerable to heat-related emergencies. If a member of your family is taking any medications, check with your doctor or pharmacist to determine if they are more susceptible to the effects of the heat.

Check on housebound and elderly – neighbors and friends – and get them to a cooling center. Be sure there is a plan for their care when the cooling center closes. Many centers close for the night. Nighttime can be the most dangerous time of the day. We assume the temperature will be lower at night, but this is not always the case – especially in the city. All roads and sidewalks retain heat during the day and as they release it at night the temperature remains high. Same thing for suburban congestion – several homes on an acre of land with homes just a few feet from each other is a bad idea but a reality.

Visit a friend or relative out of town. The temperature in the city is usually several degrees higher than the temperature in a country setting.

Watch for signs of heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

When it cools down at night, if it cools down, open all the windows. Close them again mid-morning as it starts to heat up. To save money raise the thermostat a few degrees at night.

Remember your pets. Bring them inside or place them in a shaded area that catches breezes. Be sure they have plenty of water available.

If you need to go outside, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen.

Heat-related emergencies are very serious. Add a power outage and the results are deadly. Protect yourself now by accumulating items that will help you get through the emergency and learn how to use them. Teach your family members the dangers and warning signs for medical emergencies now.


For help in meeting all your self-reliance goals join Carolyn at or her blog at Help with weekly challenges for preparing and storing food and disaster preparation are available on both sites. Carolyn’s Totally Ready Emergency Binder is available to purchase and download at and can be purchased complete or one section at a time. Message Carolyn at the Totally Ready or Operation Ornaments Facebook page.