by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel
This has been some year across the United States as far as horrible, destructive weather conditions go. Floods, storms, and overflowing oceans have caused devastation on our mainland and on many islands close to us, including Puerto Rico. Constant television coverage highlights just how dangerous and earth shattering the storm and its aftermath can be. Often there is nothing we can do in the middle of the storm, but being prepared, as best as we can beforehand, can make the difference in both survival and coping skills.
Keep on hand several portable, self-powered lights, battery powered flashlights or gas powered lanterns, or other emergency lighting apparatus. Years ago my husband bought a camping lantern and we have used it many times. This propane lantern throws enough light for us to read, and see into two rooms that are adjacent to each other. Make sure you have a portable, self-powered radio and a weather band radio to keep track of what is happening in your area and surrounding, if you must travel to work. We often rely on our TV to keep us informed, but once power goes out, the radio is your best source of information. Refresh your battery supply regularly. Buy packages of AA, C, D and 6 or 9 volt batteries in case of emergencies. Some families have found that investing in a portable generator made sense for them because of the past winters we’ve had. Do your research and find out which model works best for your needs and budget, if you plan to buy one.
Food storage is a problem in the summer because of the hot temperatures. Winter storm outages are easier to manage because we could fill coolers with snow and keep food on the back porch. Buy several picnic ice chests that can hold enough ice or snow and food you need until the power is returned. When we use the snow from outside, I put food in plastic bags, then insert in the snow we’ve collected and packed in the cooler. If you have a grill and can cook outside, eat meat you have on hand first, so not to waste it. Speaking of cooking, we are fortunate our range is gas operated and we can cook on the stove top during electrical outages. Friends of ours use their barbeque grill to cook during these times, so it is vital to keep propane tanks filled, if it will be you main cooking source. Last but not least, make sure your first aid kit is stocked and up to date. Never let your car fuel tank go below half of a tank. Remember in a town-wide power outage, service stations cannot pump fuel.