Skymet weather

How to keep cool during a power cut

April 5, 2013 11:37 AM |

It’s common that in India summer makes way for power cuts much to often for comfort! And we are all used to them but power outages are more than just about sitting sulking in the dark. The refrigerator stops running and everything starts to defrost. ACs and fans are the first to shut off in the killing heat. Out comes the flashlight, and you impatiently wait for the power to return which at times doesn’t show face all night.

Our dependence on electrically powered air conditioning has put us in real danger when the temperature soars and the electric grid gets overloaded. High concentration of paved streets and buildings in our cities also create local environments that absorb more heat than normal. Here are some ideas to keep you cool.

Ice - Prepare ahead of time for power outages during the summer's hottest days. Freeze gallons of water in big blocks of ice if you have a large freezer. Refilling plastic water bottles and freezing them works. Blocks of ice can be used to cool you by placing on a thick towel and applying and re-applying on your forehead and armpits. Be extremely cautious not to allow the ice to contact the skin. Place several layers of material between the skin and ice to prevent frostbite and check every few minutes to make sure you are not freezing the tissue. You could chill by dipping your favorite head scarf in cool water and wrapping it around your head.

A cool house - Use an environment altering system of blocking the sun from your windows. Best solutions are to cover the window with aluminum foil and cover inside that with a thick layer of newspaper or hang a blanket to prevent the heat from getting into your apartment or house. Remember that inside deep caves or deep in a subbasement, the temperature will maintain at a pretty steady temperature. So turn your house, or at least a part of your house, into an insulated cave when the temperature outside is 40⁰C and above.

Drink truck-loads - Drink plenty of fluids. You may need as much as two liters every hour if you are working hard and sweating it all out. Replace a part of your fluids with electrolyte balanced sport drinks, glucose and part with plain water. Avoid drinks with sugar or caffeine because these ingredients increase metabolism and generate body heat. Avoid high carbohydrate foods and stick with fresh fruits and vegetables with a minimum of protein. Some experts recommend you drink fluids every 15 to 20 minutes during a power outage on a hot summer day.

Cool temper - Don't keep phoning the power company to find out how long you will remain without power. Once is really enough! Nagging them isn't somehow going to make the power come on any quicker, and can tie up phone lines in a true emergency. Keep some board games like chess, checkers, or puzzles in the house that keep you and kids busy when no video or TV is available. Read a book you always wanted to!

Escape - If this works for you - leave home early and go to an air conditioned place, in an AC bus to an air-conditioned space; a library, mall, supermarket, movie hall, a museum or an art gallery, or a maybe a bar. But, drink water, not alcohol, at the bar!! Even better, shop some literally cool clothes to add to your summer wardrobe.

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