CHARLOTTE, N.C. - If you don't have time or money to buy a bunch of supplies in preparation for hurricane Irma, there are some do-it-yourself hacks that can help you.
I. HEADLAMP ON A MILK JUG
You can strap a headlamp or flashlight on a gallon jug to diffuse light across a room.
II. QUARTER ON A CUP OF ICE
Fill a cup with water and place it in the freezer until it's frozen solid. Then you put a quarter on top of the cup and put it back in the freezer.
When you come back:
- If your quarter is still on top of the cup, this means your electricity (and therefore your refrigerator) did not go out for a significant amount of time during the storm, and your food is safe to eat.
- If the quarter has sunk to the bottom, that means the power was out for a significant time and you should probably empty your fridge to prevent getting severely ill from eating spoiled groceries.
- If the quarter is somewhere in the middle, you may be safe, but the freshness of your fridge contents is iffy.
III. WASHING MACHINE AS A COOLER
If need be, you can use your washing machine as a makeshift cooler. Just add ice. Benefit: you don’t have to worry about drainage!
IV. FROZEN BAGS OF WATER
You can fill gallon bags with clean water, then freeze them. If your power goes out they’ll work as ice packs to keep things cold for a while. After they melt, they can be used for drinking.
Finally, if you’re a Duke Energy customer and do experience an outage, you should:
Text OUT to 57801
Or call the Outage-reporting line at 800-769-3766 (800-POWERON).