Winter is here, but you already know that
We have touched on this topic several times, but we thought that it was worth mentioning again. Natural and man-made emergencies happen. It is difficult to prepare for everything, this is true. But certain events come with alarming regularity, and you have no excuse to be caught off guard.
Winter is one of those events.
Like clockwork in the northern half of the world, it gets cold right around November. By December it’s pretty darn cold. Come January and February it’s outrageously cold. During these months, it also often stormy, wet, and generally unpleasant.
This happens every year with few exceptions.
For that reason alone, we find ourselves completely flabbergasted when people freak out when snow or rain starts falling.
It shouldn’t be a surprise, we’ve been through this before, and yet every winter people in our area behave as though life on earth is ending and they’ve never seen snow – running to the shops to stock up on the essentials they should have already had on hand.
Recently in my area, we got a few inches of snow. Not a lot, but enough to make driving a little sketchy and to delay schools.
Areas surrounding us got considerably more and found themselves up to their eyeballs in the white stuff, some even languishing without power for days.
Of course, people panicked.
My son and I stopped by the local grocery store to pick up some tortillas since he was craving burritos, and you can imagine my shock and dismay when I turned to the milk cooler and saw it completely empty (why aren’t there any lactose intolerant people during an emergency?).
We didn’t need any milk, but it did make me wonder how little preparation most people were doing if they didn’t even have the basics to fall back on when a little snow hit the ground.
Hopefully, if you’re reading this, you are not one of those tragically unprepared people who must go out and fight somebody’s grandma for milk when the weather turns cold.
Instead, you’re someone who has read our e-book and amassed all or most of the necessary supplies you’ll need to stay warm, hydrated, and well-fed if the power goes out.
If you’re somewhere in between, let us remind you with this brief list of essentials:
Water: You should have enough water for each person in your household to have a gallon to themselves every day. Your minimum supply should last you at least three days. That means for a family of four you’re going to need at least 12 gallons of water. You can buy these in large one-gallon or five-gallon containers, or you can purchase something called a water bob that will allow you to drain the water out of your hot water heater in a pinch. We have a large hot water heater that holds 80 gallons, so that’s enough for our family of 4 to last 20 days should something happen to the grid. We’ve also got gallon jugs full of water to be on the safe side.
Food: You should also have enough food to last you a minimum of 3 days – preferably food that is easily prepared with little or no electricity. That way, if the power goes out, you’ll still be able to feed yourselves. Keep in mind that caloric needs vary from person to person and age to age so if you’re going to buy a meal kit take that into consideration. And make sure that you’re getting plenty for everyone.
Flashlights and Candles: Not only will having a ready candle keep things nice and brightly lit, which can be a tremendous comfort as well as a considerable convenience, but candles can be used to heat small spaces as well.
Communication Devices: Walkie talkies are incredibly handy, and we recommend everyone have a set for short-range communications, but your modern smartphone can also be outfitted with apps that allow you to use your equipment just like an old fashion handheld radio. Taking this precaution can keep you in contact with people near you without having to pack up extra gear and can, of course, provide access to the network when it comes back online.
Batteries, Cables, and Charters. Any electronic device you have is going to use battery power, so it’s in your best interest to make sure that not only do you have spare batteries for gear, but also charging cables and external power sources for your smart devices as well. This extra step will make sure you remain connected even if somebody gets bored and decides to play Angry Birds instead of conserving energy.
Books and Games. Speaking of bored people, contrary to what the popular media would have you believe, life in an emergency is only exciting for the first hour or so – then things get dull. We are so accustomed to being distracted by electronics that it can be difficult to know what to do with ourselves when it isn’t available. If the power goes out, you won’t have the luxury of streaming your favorite Netflix program or tuning out the rest of the family to play video games. You’ll have to interact. Make sure you have plenty of books and games for everyone in your crew, and you’ll stave off the inevitable arguments that come when your crowd gets bored.
There’s plenty more that we could say about getting ready for a power outage, but we’ll direct you again to our short e-book on packing up for an emergency go bag instead. It’s free, and you can print it out and keep it somewhere safe to ensure you have everything you need, and you won’t have to run to the store and buy out all the milk. The information can be used as-is or adapt it for a shelter-in-place scenario, but however you use it, just please use it.
Until next time stay warm, stay dry, and don’t panic spring is on the way.