Emergency Preparedness is simply being prepared for an emergency. The climate is changing where I live. A few years ago, during Hurricane Sandy, we had a giant tree fall and brush the side of our house. Living inland, in Pennsylvania, I never though a hurricane would reach us. However, year after year we go through power outages and storms every fall. Over the seasons, we’ve collected some items that are absolutely essential to have. It’s an opportunity to camp at home and spend some low-tech time with our children. Here are some must have items and affiliate links so you can find the ones I purcahsed
Bright Battery Operated Lantern
I know exactly where I keep the lantern and I never move it. I can find my way to it even if the power goes out in the middle of the night and the house is completely dark. As a Mom, I need to calm my children and get the lantern started so they can physically see that everything is okay, even during a bad storm. As we go to the lower level of our home, I hang this lantern overhead and the light it produces is remarkable! Since it’s battery operated, and can run for 6 days on it’s charge, I know we’ll have lots of light. I keep extra batteries around and feel secure having this in our home. Unlike candles, it can’t accidentally start a fire and the lighting is spectacular.
Old Fashioned Plug-In Phone
I can’t remember the point in time when we changed over to portable and cell phones, but there wasn’t a corded phone in our house in years. Once the power went out, I realized that our portable phones didn’t work and our cell phones would only work when charged. I purchased an inexpensive corded phone to use during power outages. I keep it in our emergency kit and we can make and receive land line calls even with no power and dead cell phones.
Generator for Power Supply
A generator was not an immediate purchase of us. After having zero power for two days, losing my frozen breastmilk supply and all of the food in our fridge, we realized it was time. I will never forget waiting in a crows at Lowes for hours to get our geneator. I wished we purchased it ahead of time! Keeping it on standby with gas inside and a stabilizer so it doesn’t go bad, means it’s just a few moments from working when needed.
When we fire it up, we can power many items with the generator and prioritize our fridge, coffee pot and the modem and computer to read news and watch radar reports of the storm. While certainly an investment, having one around helps me feel secure and ensures we don’t lose our groceries to the storm. In addition, having a hot cup of coffee during a bad storm is a luxury and certainly makes me feel better about the weather.
Having some items around that can be eaten, with or without refrigeration is great during an emergency. Even without the stove, microwave or running water we can make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, eat canned goods heated on the grill and have a snack party. The kids think it’s really fun because they get to eat a bunch of ‘goodies’ and we avoid opening the fridge too often and overworking the generator when it’s running.
If your stove functions on electricity, like ours does, when the power is out…so is the stove. Having the grill ready and waiting will give you great options for cooking, boiling water if needed and even for making smores. Have a fire going in a flash and cook outside for meals. While a grill can’t be used indoors, and in a storm it may get rained on…I still manage to cook and check on the food if it’s not downpouring. If items in your fridge or freezer may spoil, it’s a great way to feed the troops and use up your freezer stash productively.
Living in the country, we have well water. When the power is out…so is our water! This means that toilets can’t be flushed, laundry goes undone and there is no drinking water. While I despise plastic bottles, I do keep a case of water on hand for emergencies. We run to our local park or collect rain water for flushing toilets and use hand sanitizer when needed. Even if you don’t have a well, water may be contaminated and you may be under a boil advisory. This is where the grill comes in handy and the bottled water stash. Keep an “emergency only” case on hand and keep everyone hydrated in case of a storm.
First Aid Kit
While a first-aid kit may seem like a no-brainer, just a few band aids doesn’t quite cut it for emergencies. Having around other supplies, items to splint with if needed, items for infection control and to control bleeding if needed are important to keep around. While hopefully you may never need to use it, having emergency supplies on hand can help save a life during a storm. If trees are down, there is flooding or other causes to prevent an ambulance from making it to you…it’s important to be able to provide basic medical care at home.
Super Bright Flashlights
While having a lantern is great, when moving around the house or outside having flashlights is key. Our kids have their own and we have larger ones for the adults. These can be used to walk around or to light a room. When stood facing up flat on their backs, a good flashlight creates a surprisingly impressive amount of light in a room. They help the kids feel more secure and less frightened. It’s great for taking the dog out and looking around at storm damage at night.
While the potential for sheltering in place exists, there are certainly some items that help weather the storm. Living in the country, far from the ocean I am surprised by the number of time we are impacted by hurricanes far from our home. Thinking of the experience as camping in place, preparing and having an emergency kit ready and keeping a positive attitude helps our children greatly. The last thing I want is for them to feel afraid, turning it into an at-home camping adventure is fun for the whole family and we don’t have to sleep in a tent!
What has your experience been surviving emergencies with your family?
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