Friday, November 2, 2012

Lessons from Sandy..

The recent events following Hurricane Sandy proved that people better start thinking ahead.

I had food and water in the house, because I always have a supply on hand. I have enough dry pasta, Spam, tuna, sauce, soup, and cereal on hand to last more than a week. Would it get boring after a few days, sure. Would we go hungry? No!

We had extra propane on hand for the barbecue as well, and while grilling in bad weather isn't perfect, we wouldn't have starved.  And since the power outages in my area will likely last about 2+ weeks, certainly the weather has cleared, but the need for food hasn't.

We were fortunate to only be without power for 3 days, and the weather was fairly warm for this time of year in New York. Nights went to the 40s, but days remained in the 60s, it was cold at night, but it wasn't unbearable.

Here are some tips that I use for prepping for a storm, and for an unexpected disaster:
  • Keep a supply of medicines handy.
  • Always keep bottled water in the house. A way to purify water is an extra bonus if necessary.
  • Stock up on nonperishable foods such as canned soup, pasta and rice. A gas stove can be lit manually, ensuring you can always boil water, make coffee or tea, and heat soup.
  • Keep extra propane tanks stored safely away from your house. Buy a grill with a side burner, especially if you have an electric stove.
  • Keep a good supply of pet food at home. You never know when disaster might strike, your pet shouldn't have to pay the price because you weren't prepared.
  • If you have a generator, keep enough gas (stored safely and properly) to keep it running for several days. Once disaster hits, you won't be making a trip to the gas station to get fuel for it, ask anyone in the New York Metropolitan area..
  • Keep a chain saw gassed up and ready to go. Extra fuel and an extra blade are necessities when trees start falling.
  • Have a list of safe places you can bug out to if you need to, as well as emergency numbers for doctors, veterinarians, etc. Print it..if you don't have electricity, you wont be able to look things up.
  • When the power grid goes down, you cannot get gasoline..stop driving unnecessarily.
  • Keep cash on-hand. Places that had power and could open (restaurants, supermarkets etc) were on a cash-only basis, while I have my own suspicion as to why, they said they were unable to process credit cards..which may or may not be the true story, but anyway, keep cash on hand!
  • Keep a car charger for your cell phone handy. For a while, it was the only way we could keep the iPhones up and running, which not only provided communication, but provided internet service as well. 
  • Invest in good lanterns and flashlights. Sturdy, reliable equipment you will rely on. My favorites are Surefire (Surefire G2x Tactical Flashlight - Black (Google Affiliate Ad)) and Mag Lite (Mag Lite 2 D Cell, LED Flashlight - Black (Google Affiliate Ad)) Keep lots of batteries on hand, because you wont be able to buy them when you really need them. Eveready Energizer MAX Alkaline Batteries, 9V,4/Pk - Alkaline (Google Affiliate Ad)
I realize the above is basic common sense, especially for anyone reading my blog because you're probably an outdoors-man or a prepper to start with. But we're far and few between in my neck of the woods, and the lack of common sense here baffles me. Hotels were booked the second power went out. People bitching they didn't have fresh batteries or even flashlights (HELLO??) 

Growing up with my Dad as the local fire chief and my Mom on the ambulance corps, made preparedness a way of life. I don't panic in an emergency, I respond with what needs to be done. A godsend this week was a small, portable battery operated scanner. I was able to monitor police and fire calls, and knew what was going on in my area. You'll have to print your local frequencies, but once done, you'll have them when you need them. My Dad, still an active fireman in his mid 70s, covered 68 calls in the first 24-hours of the storm. 

Powers back at my house but not everywhere. I have friends who are still waiting..some don't even have water at their house. My door is open to them and they know it. Here's hoping they're better prepared for next time.

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