Now that most of us have had a little time to recover from the recent winter storms that hit much of the country, it’s time to make a list. Being suddenly left in the cold and dark really makes us aware of the items that we should have had in our emergency supplies. Even if we had items put away for just such an emergency, it is often not until one hits that we realize the things that were missing.
A good starting point to making sure you have the right supplies is to jot down all the items that you wished you had during the storm. For example, if you were stranded in your home for several days, would more lighting, in the form of lanterns or even glow sticks have made things easier, especially if you had young children? Once you’ve completed you’re, ‘Missing Items’ list, take the time to go over a more comprehensive list of items.
One of the best ways to make sure you don’t miss anything that would make it easier to ride out the next emergency is to break things down into specific categories. Everything you will need can be broken down into the following:
1. Long Term Food Supply – For those households that had put together a 72 hour supply of food, the reality of the storm may have found you without power for much longer than a few days. Others may have had guests during the storm, in which case, the food they did store was only enough for them. When estimating the amount of food you require, always remember to add a little extra just in case you find yourselves with more people than usual in your home.
2. Water – Do you have enough water for drinking, cooking, personal hygiene, and washing up? Going a day without brushing your teeth may be fine but more than that is certainly not recommended. How about being able to enjoy a cup of coffee or making juice for the kids? One gallon of water per person, per day is what is typically recommended for water storage.
3. Cooking Supplies – If you were lucky enough to have been able to stay in your home during the recent storms; you would have had the pots, pans and utensils necessary for cooking; of course without electricity there would have been no way of actually cooking a nutritious meal. Handy items for cooking without power include portable folding stoves and a handy ‘Stove in a Can’.
4. First Aid & Sanitation – Small accidents and injuries can happen anywhere – even, and often especially, in your own home. Make sure you have a fully stocked first-aid kit at the ready for any of those small mishaps. Sanitation is the other often overlooked component of emergency preparedness, especially with the elderly and those with little children. A portable facility or sanitation pouches that neutralize waste can be invaluable.
5. Communication – During a severe storm or other natural disaster, it’s important to get ongoing information from local authorities. There are several ways that you can keep in touch with the latest information for your specific area even with a source of power. From compact solar, DC, or hand turbine radios that also provide extra lighting to rechargeable weather alert radios with solar panel and hand turbine power generators, staying on top of the latest information is no problem in any kind of emergency.
6. Generator – This is the one item that many people often forget to include in their store of emergency supplies. It is however something that can make a huge difference in situations where power outages last for several days or more. The recent winter storms are a perfect example of suddenly being without power for days and even a week or two.
Systematically going through your home with a list like this will ensure that you and your loved ones will be prepared for the next winter storm, blizzard or any other emergency or natural disaster.