It seems that Winter has struck everywhere. This was my Backyard not to long ago.

Image courtesy of J Carroll

A family member's home in the South East with the Power line down.

Courtesy of Josh Lott

And a Midwest bitterly cold photo.  I remember shoveling sidewalks when I was growing up in Michigan.  My face froze and the snow would sting my face as well as I shoveled the powdery white precipitation.  The sad part was that in a short time, the snow often blew back across the driveway or sidewalk requiring you to go out and do it all again.  

No doubt you have heard the news about all the strange winter weather going on all round the country.  However, it is severe in many parts of our nation.  I have checked in on several family and friends in various parts of this frigid country and wanted to share what they have learned or found that they need to work on..

  1. It's's's cold.  Having alternate fuel sources available when needed is a must. Propane prices have jumped nearly $2.00 per gallon. Wood is useful if it has been kept dry and away from the elements.  Do you have access to Natural Gas?  I am sitting here writing this post by the fire....powered by Natural Gas.  In an emergency, our Natural Gas rarely goes out, so I can be warm and safe in my home.  
  2. Sheltering in place.  Many school districts have cancelled school a lot! This means that the parents must have a plan to care for their children if they work outside of the home.  It also means that there needs to be some form of 'entertainment' that is not dependent on power.  How is your stash of cards and board games?
  3. Feeding the family:  I have seen news stories that showed shelving in stores that were nearly bare.  Are you in a position to feed your family with the food reserves that you have in place?  Do you have fuel and a means to cook it without power? Do you have experience cooking with a Dutch Oven, Wonder Oven, Reflector Oven, etc?  
  4. Power:  I messaged with one family member in the South East. She said they were watching TV by Generator.  I messaged her and asked what type of generator they had. She reported that it was a portable one. She also stated that after the storm dies down that they were going to get an additional one.  What plans do you have in place for a power outage that may be prolonged? 
  5. Light:  Check your current supplies.  Flashlights are often the first thing that one thinks of when the power goes out.  But they require batteries....and a lot of them at that.  Candles are also often thought of.  Do you have enough candles, matches, and batteries etc to serve you over several days?  I have a solar powered light that I can also use.  Think outside of the box, what do you have access to and what should you store. Consider using the solar lights that you have in your garden or along your walkway.  They can charge during the day and be brought in to provide light during the evening.  
  6. Communication:  Without power, how are you going to communicate with the rest of the world?  How will folks contact you?  I recently purchased a powerbank for a conference that I attended to charge my phone, tablet, and laptop.  It lasted for days.  I plan to keep it in my car for emergencies.   Consider looking into various types of equipment to keep you in contact during emergencies.  
  7. Water:  Are you pipes in danger of being frozen?  Do you let a little water drip from your faucets to protect your plumbing?  Do you have enough water on hand to drink and use for hygiene if you traditional supply were to be interrupted?
The time to prepare for anything is now.  Here are some important questions that you need to answer for yourself and your family:  
  • What have you thought of doing?  
  • Have you made a list? 
  • What is your time-line?  
  • How much money can you set aside for preparedness items.  
  • Who do you share your plans with and who do you keep your plans from? 
  • How do you plan to respond if others come to you for shelter etc because they have not taken the necessary precautions.
  • Do you know how to use the equipment or food that you have stored?
  • Is your family used to the types of foods you may have to eat during an emergency?  Just for your information, there is research that shows that children will decline to eat if they are not familiar with the foods being offered...even if they are hungry.  The old adage that "they will eat when they get hungry" just isn't true.  I don't want to be the helpless parent/grandparent trying to offer substance to a child who just doesn't want it because they have never had it.
  • Do you have pets?  Have you made emergency plans for their care?
  • How is your transportation?  Do you have a vehicle that can travel in snowy weather?
  • What medical supplies do you have on hand?  Can you handle a bout with a cold or flu without running to the store.  What about ailments like Diarrhea or constipation.  What do you have on hand to deal with these common discomforts.  Do you have the knowledge and supplies to deal with broken bones, wounds and the like?

Hopefully you will be in a position to start a conversation with your spouse or significant other using these questions.  Make a plan today...especially if you are really stuck at home due to the winter weather.

Post comments about your thoughts and plans.  Lets learn from each other!  

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