Friday, May 27, 2011

Autumn Asks: Are You Prepared? Part II

Besides a 72 hour kit, there are alot of little things we can all do around the house to help us for the times we lose power or water. Most of it is common sense and I'm sure you already know.

So we are assuming we already have shelter so we just need food, water and light.

When the storms come and the lights start flickering the first thing we do is light candles in every room...including the bathrooms.  This is for the girls peace of mind. They feel better knowing that if the lights go out they can see.  Its a little thing.

I also have two oil lamps -- which I need more fuel for this year. I picked them up at antique malls but you can buy cheap ones at most all purpose stores. These are my favorite light sources as they give a nice glow and I don't have to worry about battery power. As long as I have fuel, we are fine. They do not consume the fuel very quickly. We also have replacement wicks.

Our camping lanterns have an indoor storage spot since we use them any time we lose the lights also. Usually we get them out but don't actually use them.  But, if the house was compromised or we needed to take light outside, these are what you need - not a flame.
Most of our candle holders are made of substances that will not break from heat and I don't worry about having in the girls rooms. I recommend something that is not easily knocked over.
I pick up candles on clearance. I'm not real interested in the smells as much as in keeping the candle drawer stocked cheaply. My favorite are the plumbers candles...but they are hard to find now. These ones burn for days.
We have flashlights placed strategically all over the house. This one is by the back door.  Most of them are mag lights as they double as a weapon (not kidding).  When the newer led lights came out and we got those, we purchased the tiny ones that fit in our pockets and now we all have one on our person when its storming. I didn't want to get rid of the mag lights so they are stationed by doors, on the main computer desk, on night stands and in the garage and dining room.  I still take my mag with me camping as I like that it is big enough to swing at something should I feel the need.

Of course I have my backup battery for the phones and ipad and video games.  I recently discovered they make wind-up, solar powered ones so I will be in the market for one of those come Christmas time.  We don't actually have a home phone (Magic Jack) so if the power is out we need the cells.  And this is one case where your kids having cells also is a plus. You just have to confiscate them so they don't run the batteries down texting.  While we were holed up in the hall the other day my teen was furiously texting back and forth with her buds.  And by the way, the phone uses less energy to text than to call so keep that in mind if you are in an emergency situation and are low on cell phone battery power.

Now lets talk water.  Normally we fill our 5 gallon jug with water when the weather moves in.  We also have a smaller collapsible one but I rarely get it out. It rolls and is a pain. We will also make sure there is water in the fridge.  I do not fill up the bath tubs with water.  They usually aren't clean enough! LOL!

Do you have a chest freezer? If you are lucky enough to own one you have more water storage at hand.  See, a chest freezer works better when its full. Its uses less energy that way.  So, if you are like we are at the time, your chest freezer is half empty.  Since we don't know when orders will drop, we don't want to keep it full. I can combat that problem by filling the freezer with....
frozen 2 liter bottles of water.  This keeps the freezer full to run more efficiently. It also will keep your frozen food longer should the electricity fail...because its full of ice.  And when it have more drinking water.  And if you don't drink soda or anything in those bottles, no worries.  I promise your neighbor probably does.  Just ask for the empties, clean with a little bleach water, drain good and air out a day or two and then fill with water. Just remember to leave some room for expansion -- which is why I don't recommend already bottled doesn't have enough expansion room unless you want to crack the seal and pour some out.

Food and cooking is where it can get tricky.  We have a gas grill and a smoker and a bunch of wood. We keep an extra full bottle of propane for the grill so at any given time we have a minimum of one full bottle.  One of the next things on my list is a fire pit as I can cook over it. We already have wood, and in the area we are in we can glean more if necessary.  We have a wagon and a wheelbarrow we can use to gather should we need them.    We also have one burner we can use in the camping gear....but I just got rid of the two butane stoves as we want to update to the newer propane ones (or do I have that backwards?). So right now I do not have a camp stove.  But again, if we did have them and ran out of fuel, they would be useless.  What I need is a place I can have a wood fire.  One day when we have a permanent place of our own I would like a new wood burning stove inside and a fire ring/pit outside.

All these precautions, coupled with our camping gear should keep us comfortable should we experience a time of no electricity and limited mobility.  Assuming there is no house damage, the pantry is usually stocked...although not with enough to hold us over long -- we just don't have the room at the moment.

So tell me what you do different. Is there something I could add?

1 comment:

  1. AndieJohnsonsewsMay 29, 2011 at 10:03 AM

    Seriously - good info!! This is on my list of things to do for Tuesday.