Watching the news this week it is very hard to miss the fact that they are saying the east coast may get hit with a really big storm. Emergency Preparedness is key when you learn of an approaching storm. Even if you are not sure if the storm is going to hit or not. Some parts of the county have already felt the affects of this storm that is being called “Frankenstorm”. The only thing with these types of storms is that sometimes, (not all the time), but sometime the media can over hype the storms. Now I’m not saying that they are in this case, but regardless it is always better to be prepared than not to be. So I thought it would be helpful to post of list of tips as to what you should have on hand for any storm, as well as what you can do for meals in case you lose power. The tips listed below are good for any storm so try to make sure that you always have some of the supplies listed on hand.
Tip # 1- Items you need to have on hand:
Water- Try to have at least a gallon per person for at least three days. (Sometimes it takes this long to get things turned back on or get help.)
Sanitation Water- A lot of people don’t think about having water to wash and clean up but try to also have on hand at least a gallon per person for at least three days.
Battery Powered Radio- You can find these at any Walmart or Target store.
Flashlights and Batteries- You can never have enough of these in an emergency. If you are a camper, you can probably just use the same camping flashlights for an emergency. Just make sure that they are easily accessible.
Whistle- My kids like to use a compass whistle. It’s just a basic kid size compass that is in the shape of a whistle. What is really nice about this is that they can easily wear it around their neck so that if they are lost, or trapped they can call for help.
First Aid Kit- This is something that you must have on hand in case of an emergency. If you have an emergency go bag (usually a backpack that can easily be carried if you have to evacuate) this item should be included. Be sure to purchase a first aid kit that includes everything.
Fully Charge Cell phone and back up power source- Of course this item is not at the top of any survival list, but you may not realize how handy your cell phone can be in an emergency. If you are able to get a signal you can send text messages to family and friends to let them know you are OK. As long as you are still getting signal you can also use it for weather alerts, or to check the radio for evacuation information. Even if the towers that generate the signal for the cell phone go down, you can count on them being fixed before your power is. Just have a back up battery and a water proof case to keep your phone in. A Ziploc bag also works well to protect your phone.
Garbage bags- Make sure you have enough garbage bags on hand to dispose of your garbage.
Dust Mask- This is just in case the air quality is bad, which may not be the case in most locations.
Can Opener- Since many use canned goods as part of their emergency supplies, make sure that you have a can opener on hand.
Paper Goods- Just in case your water is cut off you will want to make sure you have necessary supplies to eat. For example paper plates, cups, and plastic forks will certainly come in handy. Also instead of paper towels, wet wipes will come in handy to clean messy hands if you don’t have water.
Fire Extinguisher- This should always be in your home, in case of emergency just be sure to check it before a storm just in case.
Tent- A small tent will work fine for a basic family of four. If you are evacuated in an emergency at least you will have a place to stay.
Matches in a waterproof container or Waterproof Matches- If you are evacuated and need to start a fire these matches will come in handy.
Personal hygiene items- Women especially need to make sure that they have any personal hygiene supplies that they need. Additional hygiene items for emergency preparedness include soap, toothpaste, and toilet paper.
Disinfectant- Keeping things clean is very important.
Household chlorine bleach- This works great for disinfecting and even can be used to clean out disinfected water. A small bottle can usually work just fine.
Family Documents- Copies of insurance policies, personal identification like your drivers license and bank account records can be kept in Ziploc bags to protect them and placed in your emergency bag.
Cash- There is a huge possibility that the local ATM machines may not be working, so you will want to make sure that you have enough cash on hand in case the power is out longer than just a few days.
Tip # 2- Emergency Food Supply:
When it comes to your emergency food supply you will want to make sure you have at least enough for three days for each person in the household. If anyone has special needs when it comes to food make sure you stock up on items that they can use. Also be sure to avoid foods that will easily increase your thirst. Below are a few family friends recipes that are perfect for an emergency. One thing I have learned from many years of camping is that a lot of the food you take on your camping trips can also be prepared in advance and used in an emergency.
An old fashion camping coffee pot can also come in handy if you lose power but still have gas for the stove. Also the camping coffee pot can be used outdoors just in case it takes several days for the electricity to come back on. Some meals can also be prepared on the grill outdoors only if it is safe to do so. For example if you know that a storm is approaching you can prepare meals that your family can eat just in case you lose power and the gas is turned off. Instead you can just stock up on the following items:
Homemade Trail Mix- (click for recipe)
Canned Tuna- (If you have a Costco membership get the big pack it’s worth it for stocking up)
Canned Fruit packed in water- (Sometimes these items come in plastic containers instead of cans, either will do)
No Bake Granola Bars- (click for recipe and have them ready in advance.)
Precooked French toast- (can easily be heated up, or you can eat them cold, kids wont mind)
Canned chicken packed in water – (Click here for some recipe ideas using canned chicken)
Box of Crackers- Makes a great snack
Peanut Butter and Jelly- Bread is usually fresh for several weeks, and Jelly can stay in the cooler to keep it cold. This is an easy meal to make that will fill up little bellies
Tortillas- You can make wraps-(click for recipe)
Bananas- These will keep for a few days, perhaps long enough until the utilities are turned back on.
Dried Fruit- Not everyone is a fan of dried fruit but it really is a great way to keep your energy up.
Boxes of raisins- You can buy a large family size pack and then break it down into individual zip lock bags.
Oatmeal cookies- You can make these yourself in advance for a healthy snack.
Canned Vegetables- Pick whatever variety that you like.
Pasta- You can make a nice variety of meals with pasta and you will only need to use some of your water supply. This is a good idea if your disaster will only last for one or two days.
Cans of V8- Great way to ensure that the family is getting the vegetables they need.
Make ahead meals that can just be warmed up.
If you have these recipes prepared in advanced than you can just warm them up. These recipes are perfect if you lose power but do not lose gas to your stove.
Beef Stew- (click for recipe)
Foil wrap chicken meals (click for recipe)
French Bread Pizza – This can be made in advance and then just warmed up. It makes a nice tasty treat for the whole family to enjoy, even if you are eating by flashlight.
Chicken Wings- You can cook these in advance and then just warm them up when it is time to eat. Chicken can also be enjoyed cold.
Complete Meal in a jar- (click to visit website)
Tip #3-Prep a family size cooler
Fill it with ice the day before a storm. This way if you suddenly lose power you will be able to put your perishable items like milk and eggs into the cooler.
Tip #4-Emergency Supplies for cold weather:
If a storm hits during the winter season and the power goes out, you will want to make sure you have the supplies needed to keep your family warm and safe.
Boots- Have a nice warm, dry pair for each person
Warm Coat- Each person should have a warm water proof coat just in case you have to go out doors.
Hat and gloves- Water proof hat and gloves are also a must in cold weather. For younger kids a snowsuit is best n the winter months. Teenagers and adults will usually do just fine with snow pants to keep them warm and dry.
Sleeping bag and blankets- Having a sleeping bag and blankets on hand will help to keep everyone warm and comfortable and will also help if you have to evacuate in an emergency. Keep the sleeping bags near your backpacks so that they are easily accessible in the case of an emergency.
Tip # 5-For Babies:
If you have a baby in the house, there are additional supplies you will need. For example if you are not breastfeeding stock up on formula to ensure you have enough to last. Also you will want to have enough disposable diapers on hand. If you typically use cloth diapers, you will ant to hold off on using these in an emergency. Using the cloth diapers will quickly diminish your emergency water supplies since they will have to constantly be cleaned. If you have running water than the cloth diapers will be the better option to cut back on the amount of garbage.
You should also make sure that each person in your house has an emergency go bag packed. I like to use backpacks for this. Each child can have their own backpack with emergency supplies in it. This way you can make sure that each person has everything that they need if you have to evacuate in the case of an emergency.
Tip #6- Stock up on Pet food
If you have pets you will want to make sure that you are fully stocked up on food that you will need for each of your pets. Emergency Preparedness should always include your pets.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Since winter is quickly approaching in many areas, take the time to prepare well just in case you are snowed in, or a small snow storm suddenly becomes a big one. It is also important to have some type of emergency preparedness plan.