Preparing For An Emergency At Home


Our recent wind storms got me thinking about emergency preparedness. So did the New Yorker article, The Really Big One, but that’s another story. What I determined after almost 2 days without power, was that I wasn’t ready for even a minor storm or inconvenience. Since then I have hopped into action, and it wasn’t as hard as I thought.

Things to Buy:

  • Extra batteries, candles, and matches
  • Bottled water – gallon jugs are great and less expensive than individual bottles
  • Buckets – collect rain water for non-drinking water (flushing toilets if you’re on a well with a pump)
  • Dry ice – stock up as soon as the power goes out to keep your items cold
  • Battery pack charger for cell phones and other small devices
  • Snacks and food that doesn’t require prep or refrigeration
  • Propane – you can still grill when the power is out
  • Board games, playing cards, and books – you’ll need entertainment that doesn’t require electricity
  • Back-up generator – it most likely won’t run your entire home, but it’ll help keep a few things going

Things to Know:

  • Items in your refrigerator will last 5-6 hours without power. But you need to make sure you stay out of the fridge. Each time you open it, the cold air escapes, and your items have a shorter shelf life.
  • A full freezer will keep things frozen for about 48 hours. If it’s not full, that time goes down to 24 hours. So a full freezer is a good thing in case of a power outage. Ice cream bars DO NOT abide by this timeline … so put on some stretchy pants.
  • Cell coverage may be spotty or slow during a power outage since people will be relying on their data plans instead of wifi. If you need to get online, you will need extra patience.
  • Local hotels can be a great back-up plan in case of an extended power outage. We ended up staying at Home2 Suites by Hilton. Each room has a kitchenette with a refrigerator, and they are pet friendly, which is great for us. Because we were local and without power, we got a great rate. It never hurts to ask for help!
  • Have a plan. Communication in any relationship is key, but especially in an emergency. Thankfully my husband and I were both home when the power went out, so we could figure out what needed to be done. But that won’t always be the case. Now we have a solid plan of who will do what, when, and where.

What I learned the most during the fiasco was that we have it really good and we take a lot of conveniences for granted. Next time I will be better prepared with knowledge and pantry items, but more importantly, I’ll be armed with a better attitude and a sense of adventure.