We never really think about it… until the power goes out. We had a couple of tornadoes rip through the area last night. It was a wake up call to check our emergency preparedness.
If you plan on riding out the storm at home and have not been asked to evacuate, make sure you are prepared to lose power and be stuck at home for several days. There are things you can have on hand that will make life easier while you wait for the power to come back on.
Make sure you have plenty of clean drinking water and food stored.
Have a large bottle of hand sanitizer on hand.
It helps to have food that’s ready to eat if the power goes out and you can’t cook outside because of the weather.
In other words, stock up on some canned goods and things like crackers, peanut butter and bread.
Keep a battery operated weather radio handy so you can continue to monitor the situation.
Make sure all your cell phones are charged.
Give yourself some peace of mind by thinking ahead…
Access to clean drinking water should be your first priority. Keep a supply of at least one gallon of water per family member per day on hand. At the very minimum you want to have a 3 day supply on hand.
So, why shouldn’t we store plastic water barrels on concrete? The following statement is from preparedness lecturer, Kenneth Moravec:“Concrete attracts fluids and ‘bleeds’. Anything that has been on or in that concrete will find its way into your plastic water barrel. This includes the lime in the concrete, any hazardous materials (i.e. gasoline, oils, kerosene, or anything a contractor used in construction), algae, etc. Usually, it is not enough to make the water toxic, but it will taint the water enough to make the taste unbearable. And no amount of pouring it from container to container will take that taste away.”This is also the reason why we are cautioned about placing plastic food storage buckets directly onto concrete.
Notice that these barrels were placed on top of 2X4 boards.Using 2×4’s or plywood under barrel and buckets is an easy solution to the leaching problem.Water stored in plastic containers should not be stored near gasoline, kerosene, pesticides, or similar substances. Vapors from these substances could permeate the plastic and affect the water.Empty, clean-disinfect, and refill large water storage containers at least once a year.Keep water containers away from heat sources and direct sunlight.
FEMA recommends a supply of food to last for up to two weeks if you’re preparing for a natural disaster.
Dry rice, canned or dry beans, and various canned goods are good staple items with long shelf lives to keep around. So is peanut butter, bread and crackers. Instant oatmeal, cereals, granola, and beef jerky are also good short term choices.
When disaster strikes and the power goes out, you want to start by consuming any fresh food in the fridge. Start eating anything that you know will spoil quickly. Don’t open your freezer at this point. Food will safely stay frozen and cold in a closed freezer for at least 3 days. Once you’ve consumed everything from your fridge, start eating what’s in the freezer. Save shelf-stable foods for last.
If you have an automatic ice maker, start filling coolers with ice. You can store some food on ice for a couple of days.
It is also helpful to have tools and strategies in place to cook food during a power outage. Make sure you always have a full tank for your gas grill on hand, or a big bag of charcoal and lighter fluid if you have a charcoal grill Camping and grilling gear will come in very handy here. Make sure you have all the supplies you need and your equipment is in good condition. As a last resort the things you picked up in your Boy Scout or Girl Scout days about cooking over a fire may come in handy as well.
Have Emergency Contact Information Handy
Create emergency contact information including numbers for the local police department and emergency services, your insurance company, doctors and of course all family members. Having these numbers with you will come in handy when you have to leave at the spur of the moment. Don’t rely on electronic devices. Power may be out and a good old fashioned index card with important numbers on it will come in handy.
Make sure your car has gas in it.
Sometimes when we get upset, we might forget the simplest things.
Candles, lighters, matches,
Put these all in secure plastic bags to keep them dry. Camping gear would come in handy too.
First Aid Kit
A small first aid kit that includes bandages, alcohol wipes, Band-Aids, scissors and some basic pain meds is another must have. Make sure it also includes any medication you take regularly.
If you have family members with severe allergies, antihistamines, or even an epi-pen may be an important and potentially life-saving addition.
Keep Imodium in your kit. It will help in less than clean conditions.
Radio, Flash Light, and Cellphone
Next, let’s talk about small electronics, or electric, hand-cranked devices. You want to be able to get the information you need and see where you’re going. A good flashlight with long battery life is a must, as is a small weather radio. This can be battery operated or hand-cranked. If you’re using battery operated devices having a spare set of batteries in your kit is always a good idea.
Last but not least, when disaster strikes, grab your phone and charger, if possible. You want to be able to get in touch with loved once as soon as possible.
There are various tools that may come in handy in an emergency. A good knife is a must and can come in handy in a variety of different ways. A wrench or pair of pliers is handy if you need to turn off utilities in an emergency. Last but not least, consider adding a whistle and flashing light or emergency flares to your tool kit so you are able to alert rescuers to your location.
Have a bag packed and ready to go
Make sure you have any prescriptions next to the bag and ready to throw in if you need to leave. You may want to include insurance documents as well.
Make sure your pet carrier is standing by an that you have enough food for your pet for a few days, minimum.
Blankets and Rain Gear
Have plenty of these on hand. If you have plastic paint tarps, those can come in handy too.
Hey, you’re going to need it. Kleenex and paper towels will probably be handy too.
If you are in the potential path of a coming storm, you need to be prepared. Keep your wits about you and get going!
Hopefully you started securing your home as best you can. There isn’t much time left. If the weather is already getting bad, don’t put yourself in danger.
Speaking of Toilets
I know it seems impractical, but if you can find somewhere to keep a 5 gallon bucket of water to scoop out to flush the toilet, you will be very happy. Yes, been there – more than once!
Evacuate If Needed – The Earlier The Better
If you are asked to evacuate, don’t hesitate to pack up and head out. Seriously, get out of dodge!
Things can be replaced, people can’t. The earlier you leave the better. You don’t want to be stuck in a lot of traffic with a huge storm at your back.
Make sure you know your evacuation routes well ahead of time and have alternate routes planned as well. Head to a shelter if you must. These places quickly get crowded though, so if you have alternative options like staying with a family member or friend, take advantage of them.
You never think it will happen to you
You know, I always figured the worst that would happen is that I’d be out of power for a few hours. Yeah…
From flooded basements to power outages, to a 100 year old oak tree falling on the house – guess what? It can happen to you!
And there’s always blizzards.
Its always a good idea to have supplies on hand to carry you over for at least a few days. Its better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Take it from me. I learned the hard way.
Here are some additional articles I found if you have flooding –
I hope you won’t need any of this.