Saturday, February 06, 2016
Living the Pantry Lifestyle - Storm proof
I've been interested in reading what various people who experienced the blizzard conditions went through. I must admit, we've had a very mild winter so far so it is kind of nice reading about the storms instead of experiencing them.
But it did remind me again how these things can seem to pop up out of nowhere. I thought I'd share what we have done to prepare... on the cheap. Remember... your immediate goal is to make yourself victim proof... meaning you will be warm and cozy at home, not standing in long lines before a storm hits.
1. You know I'm all about water storage these days. Just experience over two weeks without indoor plumbing and it will make you put it at the top of your priority list, too. Yes... I know there are people who live off the grid but they are set up for such events. We are not.
So I now make sure we have two or three cases of bottled water and about ten gallons of tap water (which is well water in our case). If you have a way to purify your water, you don't need to do anything to the tap water. However, if you don't have a water purification unit (the kind you can run water through, not the under the sink kind that purifies water coming into the house) then you need to do some online research about how much bleach and such to put in your water.
I have read that city water has enough chlorine added to it that you do not have to add any bleach. But various towns are different so do some research on websites where they have long articles about water purification (there are tons of them).
When a storm is on the way, fill your bathtub with water as well as any clean containers that can hold water. I have three pitchers and when we had water issues, all three were filled (when we could) with drinking water. Victoria's water container was filled completely. Other containers were filled to use for such things as flushing the toilet with tap water.
2. My son used to look at the pantry shelves and tell me there was nothing in the house to eat. I came to realize what he meant was, there was nothing on the pantry shelves that didn't need to be cooked to have a meal. That has been a long time ago but I did realize I needed to have more snack items on the shelf. They are also perfect for when there is no electricity.
I keep crackers, peanut butter, granola bars, canned fruit, a few different kinds of cereal, corn ships, salsa, etc. on the pantry shelf. I usually have cheese, milk, some kind of lunch meat, etc. in the refrigerator.
Should I know there is a storm coming, I will see what needs to be added to the pantry shelves according to opportunity and budget. I have found it very helpful to spend some time every few months just looking through grocery store shelves for items that can be helpful for an emergency, whether it is a storm coming or in the past... a hungry teenage boy needing food and right now!
3. Since my daughter has lived in New England; she has been through blizzards, hurricanes, and a very large tornado outbreak in their town. She has learned that if any very bad weather is possible, not only to stock the pantry but to make certain the dishes have all been washed and the laundry is caught up. Just in case the electricity doesn't come back on for days (which has happened more than once!).
This is the time to locate all forms of lighting including flashlights, camping lanterns (should you have them), candles (not scented) to be placed out of reach of children and pets, matches, and check for batteries where needed. You do not want to be looking for these items in the dark.
This is also the time to locate your paper plates, paper cups, napkins, disposable forks and spoons, etc. Should the power go off, you will be glad to have them on the kitchen counter and ready to be used. It wouldn't hurt to have a case of bottled water in the kitchen ready to go, with instructions that it is there if the water is not available.
VERY IMPORTANT: Charge your cell phone, iPad or other tablets, etc.
4. Check around your yard before any major storm hits. Bring in objects that can be picked up in high winds, or tuck them in a safe place where they cannot become dangerous missiles for your house or people. We live in an area that tends to have a lot of Tornado Watches so as soon as one pops on the TV screen, or on the iPad... I get the porch and deck ready for high winds.
If you live in an area that has hurricanes, it is a really really (really) good idea to have your hurricane gear ready far in advance. If you know you may need plywood, get it now. Before you have to stand in line, pay extra money for it, or worse yet... find it all sold out.
I hate to tell you this but not preparing for an emergency does not make it never happen. Speaking as one whose house was hit by lightening.
Most storm situations will have you hunkering down in your house for safety. In a hurricane warning, you may have to leave the premises. If you have a "bug out bag" already packed, routes to get out of town already planned, your pets already taken care of, a phone list of people to check on, reservations at an inland hotel or with friends, your house prepared, etc., then should that storm take a sudden turn right toward your house... you have a much better chance of coming through it as good as possible.
5. Having a NOAA All Weather Radio is a big help. I have the kind that has to be plugged in, which is better than nothing. I also have a very small (inexpensive) emergency radio that can be wound up should the power go out.
Our Direct TV almost always goes out in a storm. Which is why we also kept a second TV hooked up to the old antennae. It tends to stay on as long as we have electricity and we get local channels that often switch to all weather related coverage in a warning. If you only have satellite TV, I highly recommend having a backup with an antennae... or some other way to receive information.
6. One items we do not have is a generator. It would be nice, especially the solar generators, but we do what we can with what we have. I purposely have my insulin come in pens as they can go quite a long time without refrigeration. If it is really cold, we have sleeping bags and a Maine Coon cat. The only argument will be... who gets the cat to cuddle with. ;)
I know this is not an extensive list of how to make yourself storm proof but I hope it helps a little.