Hi everyone, I come back for a PSA.
After last year’s terrible power grid failure in Texas and seeing some of the damage, I just wanted to share some things that I have learned over the years living (and winter camping in BFE) in Michigan. This is aimed at areas that don’t have the road-clearing capability or where homes are not specifically built to withstand freezing temperatures for an extended period of time. I am sorry for the weird spacing, I’m writing from my phone and am not entirely sure how to format it better.
-Wear your seat belt.
-Roads get slick. Stay home if possible. If not possible, rethink the impossibility. If truly not possible, drive like someone riding a unicycle is balancing faberge eggs on sticks on top of your car and stay away from steep hills.
-Increase your following distance by a factor of at least 3. 5 is better.
-If you get stuck, don’t spin your tires. You want traction, spinning is the opposite of that.
-My dad always told me that 4x4 can get you out of being stuck, but it will get you stuck worse if you don’t know what you are doing. I have learned the hard way that this is true.
-If you own a truck, jeep, or some other ORV, your vehicle is still subject to the laws of physics. Ice is slippery.
-Unpacked snow can be less slick than the packed stuff that turned into ice but you still have to be careful.
-Keep a bag of sand or kitty litter in your trunk or over the axle with the least weight. You can also rip it open and use it for traction as a last ditch effort to get unstuck.
-Remember, that even seasoned veterans lose it in icy conditions when they overestimate their abilities or underestimate mother nature.
-let your water trickle from the faucet furthest from the source, if not all of them.
-if your pipes freeze and you are worried about bursting, turn off your main. It’ll hopefully limit the damage to the area where the pipe burst. If comfortable doing so, turn it back on when things thaw out and monitor closely for any irregularities (water pressure at faucet, water where it should not be.) Alternatively, call a plumber.
-Hang blankets over windows and doorways (if you don’t already have window plastic) to keep warm air from escaping. Do your best to seal them all the way around in the case of windows. Do not seal off methods of egress in the event of an emergency.
-If worse comes to worst and you lose power, open fire is bad. Smoke and other particulates can kill. All fueled heaters need to be properly vented and kept a safe distance from flammable materials (read the instructions). Get a battery operated carbon monoxide detector or better yet, an air quality tester if you know how to calibrate and use one.
-If you have to resort to a fueled heater, read the manual about runtime and get at least a week worth of fuel. Propane is preferred because it does not go bad or separate like other fuels and it doesn’t turn to a gel until approximately -44F (-42C).
-This one isn’t north-specific, but I’ll add it anyways. If you have generator and do not have a transfer switch (if you have to ask, assume you don’t have one), absolutely do NOT plug into your house. The electricity will back-feed into the grid and could kill someone working on the power lines. Use it for specific appliances.
That’s all I have time for right now. I’ll stick around and add if I think of anything else. If you have anything to add, feel free. This can apply to any state or country.