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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Today is "what if" Day...

What IF is a good question to ask yourself. You don't have to go far into the future, just think this winter and ask "what if a big storm hits?" are you ready?
Do you have enough food to feed your family for 5 days?
Do you have an alternate heat source?
Do you have alternate lighting?
Do you have water stored?
Do you have a plan to be without services for that long?

Many of us are complacent and think that there will not be a time when we can't get out of our houses for several days, let alone not be able to get to the store, our friends/family's, talk on the phone. It CAN happen, it has happened and it WILL happen again. Many people just pack it in when something like that happens and go to family, friends or a hotel. I've been in locations where the hotels fill up faster than you can get to their front desk in an emergency. Friends and family may be in the same situation. What if an ice storm spreads so much distruction in your area that yu can't even get out of your driveway, let alone out of your street?

Get a list going, get the entire family involved. You don't have to even think past 1-2 weeks, but at least talk it out and plan for "what if" this winter. Here are a few thingsto consider (and why):
- A generator. You can get small ones that will run your freezer or your water pump. Even one that can run a small fridge would be helpful. Learn how to use it and don't get rid of it once the season is over! Make sure you keep enough fuel on hand to run it for a week.
- Cookware. Will your cookware work well if you had to use it on a woodstove or a grill? Many will melt, coating will come off, and things don't always cook right with that kind of heat. Consider a cast iron dutch oven and fry pan.
- will your cook top work? Electric might not, gas ovens will not if they are modern. Do you have an alternate way of cooking and the fuel stored to do so?
- do you have a way to see? It's dark out there without lights! Candles work and are cheap and easy to find, but you can't leave them unattended or move around with them and they are pretty messy. Battery operated lanterns are good, but eventually the batteries go dead. If you have oil lamps, make sure you have enough fuel.
- Entertainment. Make a box of games,puzzles and books for an event.
- Water. Fill the tub with water if you have advance notice of a storm. it will work well to "flush" with. Fill bottles with water and put them aside just in case. If yu have a pool or hot tub, you can use that water as long as it doesn't freeze, for cleaning up and flushing, but keep a bucket on hand to haul it with. Youshould have 1 gallon of clean drinking water, per day, per person.

An important thing to remember is to know where all this stuff is! Keep it handy because sure enough, it will be hard to find in the dark. It just makes sense to prepare, and if you include the whole family in your preparations, they won't be panicking or worse, whining!
As always, I welcome comments and contributions to this discussion.