This time of year can mean winter power outages. CampSafe Coalition has prepared a list of "must have" items to ensure safety during long power outages.
* Battery powered lighting -- When evening rolls around, battery powered lights and lamps provide a safe and reliable light source. Flashlights are handy for temporary uses, but battery powered camping lanterns can be used to light rooms, hallways and stairs without the fear of an open flame candle.
* Bottled water -- Don't wait until the last minute to buy bottled water. Having several cases of bottled water on hand for drinking and cooking is a smart safeguard. * Propane stove -- While crackers and chips may fight hunger for a short time, alternative food will be necessary. Propane stove is an excellent way to boil water and prepare hot meals. Portable propane stoves also use one-pound propane cylinders and are easy to use.
* Canned food and high energy snacks -- Keep a stock of canned food and items that are easy to cook on a portable propane stove. Also, keep a variety of energy bars and snacks available to eat throughout the day. This ensures hot meals for the family.
* Portable propane heater -- When it comes to having an emergency heat source, it's best to have a portable heater that is indoor safe approved. Portable radiant models such as those made by Mr. Heater, feature an oxygen depletion sensor, which automatically shuts the heater off when air circulation is reduced. The Coleman Company offers a line of catalytic heaters that can be used safely inside. The catalytic material provides a low burning surface that generates heat without rapidly using the surrounding air. Both types of heaters use disposable one-pound propane cylinders. Whether radiant heaters or catalytic heaters are used, the CampSafe Coalition warns never to sleep overnight in an enclosed space while any fuel burning appliance is operating due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
* Sleeping bags -- They keep your body-heat inside while keeping the cold air out. Some sleeping bags are designed for colder temperatures than others. Be sure to wear a stocking cap to prevent losing body heat. Having a sleeping bag combined with a head covering is a sure way to keep warm at night.
* Cell phone -- In cases of emergencies, a cell phone is good to have for contacting emergency services, relatives or calling for information on weather, roads, etc.
* Weather radio -- Having a weather radio helps for planning ahead. It broadcasts alerts for emergencies, tornados, thunderstorms, blizzards, etc. Knowing what the weather is expected to do can help plan for how to use supplies of food and fuel.
* Gas-powered generator -- This is a good investment to have during long power outages. A generator can be used for recharging batteries and keeping the refrigerator cold, just to name a few. However, running the generator conservatively will save on gasoline.
* Gasoline and propane supply -- Having the necessary amounts of fuel to run the generator, snow blower, propane heater, propane stove and other small appliances is important to keep in mind. Many small propane appliances can run five to eight hours on a one-pound propane cylinder. Generator fuel use varies from one to four gallons of gasoline in about a 15 to 20 hour span. Never use a portable generator inside.
Always think safety.
Portable propane and gasoline powered products burn and consume oxygen for combustion and give off carbon monoxide, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
This can result in the loss of consciousness and death. Make sure to read all product packaging and manufacturer's operating instructions before using any fuel-burning appliance.
Propane cylinders should not be stored indoors and it is against most fire regulations to use a 20-pound barbecue cylinder inside.
Check the manufacturer's instructions for proper use and storage information.