|Photo by Niq Scott via Creative Commons|
With much of the United States experiencing very dangerous winter weather, many people are taking an inventory of their ability to meet basic needs during loss of power or water. I just got off the phone with my octogenarian father who has lost power and water in his home outside of Houston. They could have been better prepared.
Much of what I have learned about preparedness has come from nearly six decades of direct experience and observation. For example, some friends of mine had no water for a week because of flooding in central Pennsylvania. The husband had to stand in line every day to get drinking water from the city for his family of six.
After hearing about their situation, I began storing water in used laundry jugs. I do not even rinse the jugs because the water I store in used laundry jugs is for flushing toilets not drinking. We have other water stored for drinking.
Having water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and flushing toilets is just one of many areas of emergency preparedness.
I want to write a comprehensive post about emergency preparedness, but the topic is too broad, and the stakes are too high. Each household should study, prepare, and review their own emergency preparedness.
Let me instead encourage you to do the following:
1. Check on your relatives and neighbors. I live too far away to offer my father hand-on help. However, I was able to help him think through how to address some of his issues. I also ordered a few things for him from Amazon.
2. Work on your own preparedness by doing some research.
- FEMA provides a list of free publications about how to prepare for an array of emergencies
- The Red Cross page "Get Help" includes information on preparing for an emergency.
- Consult the Ready.gov page, a multi-agency effort to help people prepare for emergencies
3. Take small steps to prepare. There are companies who try to convince you to spend a lot of time and money on preparedness. This can deter people from doing anything at all. Just take a small step. For example, every month examine a different area of preparedness and buy one thing to help with that.
- Upgrade your first aid kit
- Keep a list of medications to take with you if you evacuate
- Keep a "To Go" bag that includes a set of medications
- Store some water
- Store a variety of foods
- Check expiration dates on stored foods
- Consider your pet's needs
- Have a radio that runs on batteries for receiving information in an emergency
- Keep devices fully charged in case of an emergency.
- Have an external phone battery.
- Prepare your vehicle for emergencies.
- Have more than one working flashlight plus additional batteries
- Talk to your family about how to respond to a fire, flood, snowstorm, heatwave, layoffs, etc.
- Explore ways to SAFELY stay warm; there are many dangers of asphyxiation if done improperly.
4. Regularly update your preparedness plan. People's family structure changes, and some of the supplies can expire.
All my best to everyone trying to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, the winter weather, power outages, and other hardships. May you be blessed with every needful thing. And may we work together to care for one another.