This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
As I write this post, 1.6 million people are still without electricity in the Northeast, due to an unseasonable winter storm. A fierce snowstorm, usually expected much later in the winter, hit right before Halloween. Many people were caught unprepared, resulting in traffic snarls, numerous accidents, fights breaking out and overcrowded emergency shelters.
With the strange weather patterns that have been occurring in the country in recent months, it is a good idea to prepare for the unexpected. It’s hard to predict what can happen, but one thing that usually happens during extreme weather is a power outage.
Here are a few things we can all do to prepare:
1. Have enough water and food for everyone in the family for at least a week to two weeks. Stock up on baby formula or baby food for the little ones. Keep extra pet food as for your furry friends as well. Don’t neglect comfort foods such as chocolate, chips and other snacks that can help as morale boosters. Having these supplies on hand will avoid you having to go to the store before, during or after the storm when everyone else who didn’t prepare will be rushing out.
2. Stock up on toilet paper, paper plates, cups and other utensils. You will also need extra trash bags and other personal sanitation items.
2. Keep gas tanks at least half full. The news reports showed long gas lines in the storm stricken areas. If have the room and you are able to store gasoline, then keep a few gallons set aside in a “no spill” gasoline storage container that has been certified and tested for safe gasoline storage; use a fuel stabilizer such as Sta-bil. Apartment dwellers may not have this option due to small, designated parking areas and lease restrictions, so you’d best keep your car’s fuel tank over the half way mark.
3. Check your First Aid kit, making sure nothing has expired or gotten depleted and keep extra refills of prescriptions.
4. Stock up on extra batteries, flashlights, lamps and backup light sources.
5. You will need a battery operated or hand crank radio to keep up with news and weather reports.
6. Have a backup method of cooking.
7. If you are able to, consider a generator.
8. If you live in a cold area, have backup heating methods such as firewood for your fireplace or wood burning stove, heating oil etc. Note: If using alternate fuels, make sure the area is well ventilated and have a carbon monoxide detectors (with fresh batteries) in your home.
9. Check on your supply of extra blankets, comforters and cold weather clothing.
10. With no TV, computers or video games, you will need some form of entertainment such as board games, books etc. You and your family can also watch movies in a portable DVD player. This may sound frivolous at first, but keeping kids busy and calm will avoid frayed nerves in an already stressful situation.
11. Make sure you cell phone is charged at all times, or if you have a land line, have a non- electrical phone at home.
12. As for other emergencies, keep extra cash on hand.
I hope the residents in the Northeast who were struck by the unexpected storms get their power back soon. And I hope more people get prepared for the next power outage that is sure to come.