Winter is coming and it is important for us to prepare for such things as huge snowstorms, ice storms, loss of power and all kinds of natural weather problems. Are you ready? Here are a few things that should be at the very top of your list – this list could (and should) be a lot longer but these are the absolute essentials you need to put in place.
There is no reason for you to join those long lines of people emptying supermarket shelves – these are the folks who have FAILED TO PLAN. Don’t be that person!
Preparing for an Emergency
Candles are one of the simplest but most crucial supplies you can have. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast, power was lost in an astonishing 8.1 million homes as the storm ripped down power lines, flooded electrical networks, and even caused an explosion at a substation. Power outages are common to all disasters and, after being plunged into darkness, the glow of a candle is one of the first things you need to get other emergency measures put into place.
Of course, you will also need a supply of matches, or a lighter. You don’t want to be hunting for these in the dark, so keep them with the candles, somewhere easily accessible. Have a pack of 50 small tealight candles which you can place at different points around the house, as well as longer ones, for which you will also need candlestick holders.
Make sure your candle bases are wide and heavy enough that they don’t tip over. And of course, be sure to never place the candles near curtains or any flammable material.
Have you bought a windup lantern? These are great to have on hand, they are inexpensive and if you have kids, they never seem to mind cranking the handle to keep the lantern bright!
Your next concern may well be your water supply. Contamination of water supplies is common in serious disaster events, and shops may be inaccessible. To be safe, you should always have a supply of bottled water – 20 to 30 two-liter bottles is not too much to have on hand. Remember, if there is no water coming from the faucets, you may also be reliant on boiling water to cook with.
Given that electricity will be down, a small propane stove is an essential item to have. These can be picked up inexpensively from camping or outdoor stores, but you should make sure you have the correct size of propane cylinders to fit. If you are unable to boil the kettle or heat water on the cooker, you will quickly realize how important a hot drink such as tea or coffee is to calm the nerves during the stress of an emergency situation.
Are you a mother with children at home. Your first instinct will be to ensure your children don’t go hungry. For that reason, it’s always best to keep a stock of non-perishable foods, such as pasta, rice and tins of soup. If your pantry is full with home canned food you can easily provide meals (and know you are all eating healthily, too!)
Frozen pizzas may be easy and popular with kids, but remember you can’t cook them on a stove.
It’s always a good idea to keep your car topped up with fuel. In winter, it is even more important. For one thing, if there is a natural disaster, you KNOW there are going to be huge lineups at the gas stations.
For us, here is another very real reason to keep our vehicles full. We live twenty minutes from the gas station on gravel roads. Much of this twenty minute drive is isolated, meaning there are no or very few homes along the route. Since we get a lot of snow and ice, there is a real possibility that we could slide off the road, either over a bank or more likely, crash into the mounds of snow piled along the road.
A full tank means that as long as the vehicle is still running, we can stay in the car where we can stay warm. Note: If this should happen to you, be SURE that your exhaust pipe is not buried in snow. Use that folding shovel that you need to keep in your car, to dig out around the exhaust pipe!
Finally, always have a basic first aid kit in your house. In the immediate panic of a natural disaster situation, injuries such as cuts and bruises are common, and may need to be treated.
Prepare like this, and you should be far less likely to panic yourself if the worst happens. There is a great deal of satisfaction and peace of mind when you know you are already prepared for emergencies.
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