Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Being prepared for an emergency

We've all been told to be prepared for an emergency.  And there are some people out there who have their emergency preparedness kits ready and up to date.  I am not one of those people.

But events over the past 2 weeks make me think that some preparedness might be a good idea.  A friend of mine lives in Massachusettes.  She was hit with that freak (can we say "climate change") winter storm 10 days ago and was without power for a week.  It was nothing short of traumatic - as it would be for any of us.  I feel terribly uneasy when the power goes out for an hour.  Never mind a week!

They were isolated, had no power and, because they are on a well, had no water.  They did have a barbeque, but it took 1/2 an hour to turn snow into warm water, so they gave up  on that.  They eventually could go to relatives' houses to get showers and a warm meal, but you can't do that every single day for a week. 

In any case, they have power back now, but still no internet connection - and she's a computer person who works from home, so work has been disrupted for her as well.  Everything in the freezer and the fridge had to be thrown out, so they have to re-stock (as do hundreds of other people in their area, so there are food shortages).  Things are getting back to normal, but slowly.

So she sent me a list of tips - things she would do differently next time a freak storm is predicted.  Here it is:

  • Fill every container and the bath tubs with water
  • Put aside additional drinking water in separate containers or get bottled water
  • Buy ice and be ready to pack everything in coolers
  • Fill the vehicles’ gas tanks, (all of the gas stations in the area were closed because the pumps don’t work without electricity)
  • Get cash!!! There were some stores open without having power but it was cash only. I had a total of $8 in my wallet. 
  • If you have a gas grill or camp stove, make sure you’ve got lots of fuel for it.
  • Get lots of extra batteries for flashlights, (these were way more useful than candles which don’t put out enough light to read or anything and when it gets dark at 5:30, you have a lot of spare time!!!)  [I'd add that oil lamps are also useful - we have a couple here, but I should buy more oil for them (!)  and have matches on hand - if you don't regularly light candles or have a fireplace, you might not have matches, either]
  • If you have a fireplace, make sure you have lots of dry wood. 
  • And food of course. Stuff you don’t have to cook is really important
  • As an afterthought she also added that a cell phone with a car charger was a life saver for them - her iPhone was great, she said.
As you can read above, there were some points you might not think of - gas pumps don't work without electricity, and neither do debit machines.  We are so incredibly reliant on electricity, it is actually life-threatening not to have it.  And it shouldn't be.  We should all take a day and see how we survive in freezing temperatures without it.  It might surprise us all.'

So here's to a winter where none of us have to live through a week with no electricity ... but where we are prepared to do so!

1 comment:

  1. Sandi - is it possible to change the color of some of the text? Once you start the list, it's very hard to read - the blue and the black disappear against the background. I'd like to see what she/you have said!


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