Staying Cool Without Power

Funny Dog drinking cocktail on the beach

Staying Cool When the Power Goes Out

Ahhh…summertime. Fireworks, green lawns, Labor Day, all kinds of great stuff, right? Wait, I forgot to add Thunderstorms and Hurricanes! In the heat of summer, a power outage can be more than an inconvenience — it can be downright dangerous, especially if you don’t have a game plan to keep cool and minimize risks. We all remember last year and what a sweaty few days (or weeks in our case) it was so the team at Goodlad & Swank Insurance thought it would be a good idea to share some helpful ideas.

This list of tips can help you create a game plan, stay safe and maintain your sanity. Doesn’t matter if you’re in Naples, Fort Myers, Cape Coral or Labelle. Print it out and keep it handy; after all, if the power’s out, you won’t be able to fire up the computer for help!

Personal safety

  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine; they can cause dehydration. I know, “What about my hurricane party?”. Listen, we aren’t the fun police. Go ahead and have fun but be sensible, too. Throw in a Gatorade or two every once in a while.
  • If you feel overheated, dizzy or weak, rest in the coolest part of your home and wipe yourself down with a cool, wet cloth. Seek medical help if you don’t improve quickly. Cell phones actually worked and were one of the few post Irma bright spots. Keep them charged in case you need to call for help. This thing saved my bacon for phone recharging.
  • Minimize physical activity as much as possible. Perhaps now is not the time to mow the lawn.
  • If you must be outside, use sunscreen and wear protective items such as a wide-brimmed hat and or/a Columbia type long sleeve shirt.
  • Don’t forget your pets. Animals need plenty of water and shaded areas if they go outdoors. Interesting side note: Throwing a tennis ball in 70mph winds is exciting for both you and your dog. I’ve never seen a tennis ball go backwards after I’ve thrown it until Irma. Good times.

Staying comfortable

  • Cool showers (or better yet, a dip in the pool, if you’re so lucky) don’t just feel good in the moment. When you get out, the water on your skin will evaporate and cool you even more.
  • Applying cold water or ice cubes directly on your wrists can have a wonderful cooling effect. If you know a storm is coming fill up those coolers with lots of ice.
  • Wear loose-fitting, light-colored cotton clothing or a wet shirt, and add a damp bandana around your neck.
  • Use silk or satin bedding if you can — it will feel cooler than other materials. Added bonus: you get to feel cool and fancy at the same time!

Home matters

  • When the sun is out, keep the windows and blinds closed. At night, if it’s safe, open as many windows as you can to create a cross-breeze with the cooler air. Beware of exhaust from generators. Exhaust + breathing is no good.
  • Open your refrigerator and freezer as little as possible. It’s tempting to open the freezer and stand there, we know. But that will accelerate the spoilage of perishable food (24-48 hours for the freezer; about four hours for the fridge).
  • Unplug your electronics and appliances. This won’t keep you cool, but you don’t want a surge to fry your stuff when the power comes back on.

Finally, one of the best strategies for getting through a summer power outage is to distract yourself. How about reading that book you’ve been meaning to get to? (During Irma I read Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu. Fascinating sci-fi written by a Chinese author whose writing style brings a different cultural perspective to his book. I highly recommend it if you are into sci-fi.)  What about writing a letter (yes, an actual letter) to an old friend? Or bust out a board game? Monopoly rules! Owning a railroad or two will always brighten things up. Having Reading Railroad totally makes you forget that you’re sitting in the dark. Try to relax and make the best of it because the power will be back soon — along with your normal, hectic Florida life!


Butch Swank

Goodlad & Swank Insurance, LLC