Where Do I Start?
Four Steps to Safety
STEP ONE: Decide what you need to prepare for.
What disaster might happen to you? Everyone should be prepared for a blackout. However, it's not likely you need to prepare for both a tsunami and a tornado. What might happen where you live?
Do you have animals? Make sure you have food for them. If you need to go to a shelter, they might not allow animals.
Is there a disaster plan at your work?Your child's school or daycare? Your church?
Does your community have warning signals? Do you know what to do when you hear them?
STEP TWO: Create a disaster plan for your family.
Pick two places to meet. One outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire. One outside your town in case you can't return home.
Ask an out-of-town friend or relative to be your "family contact." Everyone can call the same contact person. In disasters, sometimes long-distance calling works better than local, and texting works better than speaking.
Plan what to do with your pets.
STEP THREE: Complete this checklist.
Teach children how and why to call 911. And teach them their address and phone number. Click here for more info for kids.
Show each family member how to turn off the water, gas and power at the main switches. Does it take a special tool to turn them off? Make sure the tool is stored near the shut-off.
Check your insurance coverage.
Teach each family member how to use a fire extinguisher and where it is kept.
Install smoke detectors in each room. Keep the batteries updated.
Stock emergency supplies and assemble a disaster supply kit. Click here for kit ideas.
Take a Red Cross first aid and CPR class.
Determine the best escape routes from your house and find two ways out of each room.
STEP FOUR: Pratice and maintain your plan.
Quiz your kids every six months, so they can remember what to do.
Conduct fire and emergency drills
Recharge or replace your fire extinguisher as it expires.
Test your smoke detectors ate least once a year.
AWESOME! You are prepped and ready!
Prepping Used to be the Norm
Our grandparents gathered all summer, knowing they would only eat during the winter if they stored food.
Fruits and many garden vegies were canned. Squash, pumpkins and corn were stored in cool dry places. Grains were kept in silos. Cats were essential to prevent the rats and mice from raiding their stockpile.
Could you survive a week long storm with a power out?
One gallon per day per person. This both for drinking and for sanitation. Buying bottled water in gallons is cheaper. Buying it in small bottles is more convenient. It's a good idea to have both.
Canned food is the most convenient. Canned chili, meat, soup, vegies, fruit and juice. It's best to have a variety. Pick foods that you like. They can be eaten directly out of the can since cooking and cleaning will be more difficult. Don't forget a manual can opener.
No preparation foods like granola bars, peanut butter, jerky and dried fruit. Don't forget some comfort food, like chocolate. With a power out, you will appreciate it.
How much can you eat in a day? 4-6 cans of food? Multiply that out to make sure you have enough for seven days.
A flashlight with extra batteries. Some candles and oil lamps are nice, but they can be a fire hazard, and they smoke up the room over time.
Solar lights are awesome and don't run out of batteries, but they not as bright as flashlights.
Glow sticks are cheap and fun for kids. They aren't bright and only last about a day, so have a bunch of them.
If you have a woodstove or fireplace, make sure you always have plenty of wood.
A generator with extra fuel is awesome. Smaller ones start at $150 and could power a few appliances. What is the worth of your food in your fridge and freezer? Preventing the spoilage in a power out could pay for the cost of the generator. You will need to spend more if you want a generator big enough to power your whole house, especially if you have electric heat.
Do you have extra blankets, hats and gloves if the power out is in the winter?
If you have a kerosene or propane heater, make sure you have plenty of ventilation as their exhaust can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Matches or lighters.
5. SAFETY ITEMS AND MISC
A fire extinguisher cost $20 and can save your lives and your home. Every home needs one. If you are using candles or kerosene heaters, it's even more important.
First aid kit.
Will your toilet work in a power out? Most city water and sewer systems still work during power outs. But if not, or if your well needs electricity to run, be prepared.
You can get a camping toilet on Amazon. Or just line a bucket with plastic and use that. Stock up on plastic bags if that is your plan. Make sure you bury your waste in a safe place, not near any streams or wells. This may be hard in the city.
Cash. If there's no electricity, the banks will be closed. Most of us have very little cash on hand.
6. SPECIALTY ITEMS
Toys or games to amuse the children.
Congratulations! You have completed your first step, and you can feel safe and self sufficient in a seven day power out.