New Year’s resolutions are a great way to take your one-day list and start checking off items.
This year, I’m planning to beef up my emergency kit. Even knowing what I know about preparedness, it’s way too easy to get complacent when I’m all snuggled up in my house with heat, electricity, and Wi-Fi.
A lot of people think prepping is getting ready for a big, huge disaster like an earthquake or tsunami. And while those are definitely risks here on the west coast, you should also prepare for more common situations like power outages and flooding from burst hot water tanks or weather.
Plus, it’s always a good idea to keep tabs on what’s in your kit!
One of the worst things about power outages in winter, aside from the internet being out, is that the sun goes down early. I might be able to feel my way through the house in the middle of the night for a glass of water, but it’s hard to cook dinner in the dark. And don’t get me started on how cold it gets.
Some of you might be thinking, “Don’t you have a flashlight or candles?”
I do. In fact, if you have a flashlight or candles ready in case the power goes out, then congratulations! You’re already on your way to preparedness. Easier than you thought, right?
It’s relatively easy to ride out a short-term power outage in relative comfort these days. You likely have the following items already in your home. If not, they’re relatively easy to find.
New Year’s Resolution: Put together a power outage survival kit. We’ve created a starter list to help you gather the basics.
Power Outage Survival Kit
- Flashlight or lantern (solar-powered, hand-cranked, or battery powered)
- Candles with proper candle holders
- Hand warmers
- Self-heating meals
- A battery-powered fan (for the hot summer months)
- Power bank
In addition to having a few items to keep you comfy during an outage, check out the Government of Canada’s recommendations on ways to prepare your dwelling for power outages.
If emergency crews are overwhelmed or otherwise unable to reach you—like what happened to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands in late 2018—the power could be out for weeks.
Make sure you have a grab-and-go bag handy in case you need to evacuate.
This one hit close to home in November 2021 for us here on the west coast. A series of major rain storms flooded many a basement here in Victoria, but the lower mainland saw the worst of it with flooded homes, farms, and washed-out roads.
However, flooding isn’t always weather-related. A burst hot water tank or plumbing problems can also wreak havoc for an unsuspecting homeowner or renter.
Regardless of its source, water damage is a real concern. How can you mitigate any damage it might cause?
New Year’s Resolution: Prepare your home and belongings in case of flood.
Prepare For Flooding: What You Can Do Now
- Keep electronics off the floor
- Store important documents in a high and dry place
- Make copies of your important documents and/or save them to a USB drive
- Review your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to understand what coverage you have for flooding
- Stock up on safe drinking water
- Make an evacuation plan in case you need to leave your home for a period of time
It’s always a good idea to perform preventative maintenance. Learn about what causes hot water tanks to burst so you can recognize the signs and stop it from happening.
Winterize your home and prevent burst pipes from causing issues.
If your basement sits below the water table in your area, it’s likely you’ll experience flooding. We found this article with tips on how to prevent basement flooding. It’s aimed at Ottawa residents, but the information is good for anywhere.
- How to Save Your Property from Flood Damage
- How to Prepare For A Flooding Emergency
- What to do After Your Home Has Flooded by Snow Melt
- How to Prepare for Summer’s Severe Weather: Rain & Flooding
Check Your Kit
The start of a new year is a great time to check your kit’s contents. Are your food and water still within their expiry dates? If it’s coming up within a few months, consider replacing them now and consuming the older ones so they don’t go to waste.
First aid kits sold in Canada are good for a maximum of 5 years. After this, medicinal ingredients may lose their effectiveness and items like antiseptic wipes may dry out.
Check the charge on any electronics and make sure batteries are stored separately.
Go over your emergency contacts list and update any information as needed.
Finally, review your emergency plan with your household. We created this questionnaire to help guide your discussion.
New Year’s Resolution: Update any expired or close-to-expired items in your emergency kit.
- How to Update Your Emergency Kit and What You Need to Check First
- Get Prepared, Part 2: Generate a Plan
We’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below and tell us about your preparedness-related New Year’s resolutions for 2022 and beyond.