Are you ready for Fall-Winter?
- It's a big mistake to assume that "we've been through this before" and that "we'll be fine". That type of lazy attitude is 'The Hare that lost the race'. Your job as adult to is to provide your children and family a means of comfort and safety. If there is a situation, it's best to be proactive, have a plan and be as prepared as you can be. The Weather Man calls for a storm and the stores fill up with people often in a mindset of panic. Soon everything you (think you need) will be limited or gone.
Most peoples mentality is "on the last roll" They don't go buy or stock up or even think they even need something until they are almost out of it. "Hun, can ya grab me a roll of toilet paper we are out." Do not assume what you need will be available when everyone else has the same idea and needs as you do. Guess what? A Storm hits and you cant get to the store, then what? Worse even, you're stuck at work or stuck on the road. How prepared are you for that? This is not to cause panic or install fear, it's to keep your eyes wide open to where we live and what can happen here.
How do you heat your home?
Do you have a back-up way to heat your home?
Is it Energy Efficient?
Should you plastic your windows, and have things for door drafts?
Can you go A WEEK with NO Electricity, and still be comfortable?
~ In the Winter time during a major storm when there is no electricity and no power- if you also have no heat, your house is basically a primitive shelter from the elements. You'll be surprised how cold it really can get inside with no heat. You'll be in sleeping bags, under covers and wearing hats and gloves inside!
With no heat, and no running water, your pipes can freeze and then burst. Clean that up at 3 am in the dark. Not fun.
What back up Light sources do you have?
- Do you have enough to Last a week?
Flashlights and Headlamps are great, but they suck batteries.
Candles are good, and provide minimal heat, but are a limited resource and dont give off lots of light. Plus fire can be dangerous.
Oil lamps are nice, but can get hot and just like candles are dangerous if you have kids, pets, etc. Fire-bad!
Glow sticks are fun options for kids, are cheap, and work okay.
- Have a fire extinguisher and know how to use it.
How will you be preparing and cooking your Food if there is no power?
- Do you have a gas/propane Grill, AND/OR a Charcoal Grill?
Perhaps you have a Fire Pit in the yard, Do you have cookware for it, and a dry wood supply?
~ What do you know about 'Solar Cooking'?
Look into making a solar cook box!
If there is a serious emergency, there will be no water or no safe water to drink. Stores will be out of stock and thats even if you can get to them. Your toilets will also stop running if its a very serious emergency.
~ How much water do you plan to keep stocked up?
Remember, 1 gallon of water per day, per person. (This is ONLY drinking water) That is minimal. You'll need water to basic hygiene, and for cleaning pots and pans, also water for food prep. etc.
If you are on a well, how does your pump work? Do you have a solar option, a generator option, and even a hand pump option?
- Remember, you can go three weeks without food but only three days without water.
What foods will you stock up on? What foods store well, and are easy to prepare. Each family has different needs, some have allergies, others have dietary/medical needs or personal/religious beliefs. Sit down, make a list and each week while doing normal Shopping, buy a little extra for your storage. Beans and Rice go a long way!
~ Great, you have some form of heat. You have water, and food... Do you have to use the toilet yet?!
How will you and (how many people in your house?) be using the toilet? Especially if you have how much toilet paper left in the house and now your toilet doesn't flush!
also to consider: Given that you wont have Garbage pick up, where do you put all your trash?
Do you have the medications required on hand if you can not get to the Pharmacy?! What if the Ambulance can not get to your house? Address any pre-existing family medical needs and have back ups on hand.
Do you have a generator, a back up generator? Do you have enough gasoline for it? Can you even get to the store to get gas? What about a Solar Generator?
Given that you'll not be going to work or school, what will you do with your time?! Do you have books, games, family activities? Part of comfort is a state of relaxation, can you do this with no power? Can your children be comfortable reading, coloring, doing fun projects, even helping make food can be family fun.
* Here are some of my families go to items. Your family may require different things.
Basic Baking Needs
Flours, various kinds.
Any Grains that are whole you'll need a mill grinder
Powdered Milk or substitute
Dried whole eggs or substitute
Spices and Flavorings
-other spices and flavors
Honey (I like local-raw honey myself)
Maple Syrup (The real kind)
Fats and Oils
- Margarine powder (optional)
- other oils and fats
(coffee can in fridge with bacon fat)
extras (think what goes well in various types of breads)
~ What non-perishable foods can you easily obtain weekly? Buy what you like such as soups, tuna fish, sardines, rice and beans, pasta, cans of sauce, TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) , gravies, and even spam hahaha. Think of things like Protein. Peanut butter is great, other nut butters, sunflower butter or soy butter even work well. Canned meats are very important for those that are use to a very meat filled diet. Can or frozen fruits and veggies are good to have on hand. You can also get fresh and dehydrate, or can yourself. Jams/Jelly, puddings, drink mixes, even ramen noodles (skip the packets they come with, there is enough sodium in them for like 5 days of a dietary requirement)
Think drinks like Coffee, tea, hot cocoa that you might want to have.
Do you have any pets? You'll need to remember food and water for them during such hard times.
Paper stuff like cups, plates, towels
Plastic cutlery if thats your thing
ziplock bags- various sizes
other stuff ....
other items ....
I'm sure there are many more things to list, but this is up to your family to think about and address. Sit down at dinner together and discuss what you would want to have on hand.
If you're havin' a shut in for a good week and all your needs are addressed and everyone is safe, warm, well hydrated and fed; I highly suggest to relax with a few drinks and a good book. No wants to shovel 7 feet of snow to get to a car that will not take you anywhere, or to a road no one is not plowed. Stock up your bar!
Stuck on the Road? Make a Winter Car Kit. (see my other link for that)