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Superstorm Sandy survival tips

A customer tries out the new Apple iPhone

A customer tries out the new Apple iPhone 5 at the Manhattan Fifth Avenue flagship store on the first morning it went on sale. (Sept. 21, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

Many of us on Long Island are struggling without power in the wake of superstorm Sandy. Aside from the obvious inconveniences, there are also some serious discomforts and dangers we may be facing.

Here are some tips to help keep you safe and happy while waiting for LIPA to get you back on the grid.

For those without heat

If you have a fireplace and stocked up on wood, keep the fire blazing. If you don't, dress in layers and limit how often you open entry doors as temperatures drop. If you're taking care of the most susceptible — small children and the elderly — sit them in the car and run the heat for awhile to warm them up. Make sure the car is out in the driveway, not in your garage.

For charging phones

Use a car charger to charge your phone if you have one. If not, head to an open store, mall or restaurant. Some, like the Apple Store at Roosevelt Field, are allowing access to outlets to charge devices.

Finding Wi-Fi


PHOTOS: LI damage | Then and now | Aerial views
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DATA: Federal aid to victims | Storm damage | Infrastructure proposals | LI storm damage | How LI reps voted on Sandy funding
MORE: Year after Sandy interactive | Complete coverage


For Wi-Fi, most Panera Bread, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks and Apple Store locations have service. The Apple Store at Roosevelt Field, Panera Bread at Broadway Mall in Hicksville and Starbucks at Sunrise Mall in Massapequa also are open and have Wi-Fi. Some hotels, McDonald's restaurants and bars, like The Nutty Irishman in Bay Shore, also have electricity and provide free Wi-Fi for customers.

Rationing cellphone power

If your mobile device still has some juice left, adjusting the screen's brightness to its lowest setting, eliminating unnecessary automated notifications, changing settings to "Airplane Mode" and using Wi-Fi or data only when necessary can help save battery life. In any event, a car charger can be a savior. Pick up more tips about this in newsday.com's Warp Pipe blog.

Boredom busters

Board games that make you think, like Scattegories and Clue, help make time pass faster. Getting more people to participate can be more fun, too. Invite friends or neighbors over and start an Uno tournament.

Some libraries are open today. An outing in search of a new book will break the monotony and give you something to do later.

Roosevelt Field in Garden City, Broadway Mall in Hicksville, Sunrise Mall in Massapequa and the Tanger Outlets in Deer Park and Riverhead are open today for business. That means shopping, food courts and people watching.

Chances are, your dog is as bored of being cooped up inside as you are. Take your furry friend for a walk, and check on your neighbors and the damage while you're out. Just be careful of walking under trees or fallen power lines.

To find out what to do with the kids, check out our Long Island Parent Talk blog.

Food concerns

Our food writer Erica Marcus advises us to "keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. There are probably a number of items in your refrigerator that do not require refrigeration. Open the door once and take out these foods that can be safely held for a few days at room temperature: Butter and margarine, hard and processed cheeses, fresh fruits and vegetables, pasteurized fruit juices, dried fruits, breads, cakes (except cream cheese, frosted or cream-filled), open jars of vinegar-based salad dressings, jams, mustard, ketchup and peanut butter."

You might also host a neighborhood potluck. Pool your resources and gather at one house for a meal and some company.

Creative cooking

Without power, your stove and microwave are useless, but an outdoor grill serves the purpose very nicely. If yours has a stove-type burner, even better. No matter the weather, don't be tempted to move the grill indoors.

If you have a gas stove with an electronic trigger, start it with a match.

Remember that French press coffee pot you received as a gift but never used? Dig it out and, as long as you can use your stove, you can keep the caffeine flowing. Otherwise, boil water, add a tablespoon of ground coffee per cup, and steep for 3-5 minutes. Strain.

Outdoor safety

Stay away from trees as much as possible when you're outside walking or driving. Even trees that are still standing might have been weakened by the storm, so they could pose a threat. Stay clear of hanging power lines, too.

When driving in areas without traffic lights, use extra caution and always slow down and look both ways at every intersection before proceeding.

If roadways are flooded don't take any chances. Turn back.

Beauty tips

Don't have hot water for a shower? Use dry shampoo, or, if you can't get to a drugstore, apply 1/2 cup of cornstarch or baby powder to your roots. A headband is a better option than a ponytail, because dirty hair will stick to the scalp when pulled back and can look even greasier.

Workout clothes you might already have were designed to keep you dry and allow air to circulate through their fabric. These are your best bets when you can't shower. Stay away from moisture-retaining cotton clothing.

Use disposable body wipes to stay clean and oil-free.

If you don't have too much to deal with at home, no power is a good excuse to finally take some time for yourself. Many area nail salons are open, and a warm foot bath with your pedicure will feel extra relaxing right now. Dashing Diva salons serve free hot tea and coffee while you're getting a manicure. The Garden City (953 Franklin Ave.) and Great Neck (30 Middle Neck Rd.) locations are open.

Tags: Sandy , superstorm , Long Island

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