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A Lesson in the Storm
If Hurricane Sandy taught us one thing it was that preparation is everything.
One advantage of a hurricane is that there is plenty of warning, unlike a number of other disasters, such as a tornado. Even so, Sandy caught people unprepared. Oh, they knew the storm was coming, they just had not prepared for it.
Think about this: It was winter in the northeast part of the country. That means it was VERY cold. Furthermore, storms of this magnitude usually take out the power. So how should these people have prepared?
The first concern we must consider during any kind of an emergency is a clean water supply. We can go without food for weeks, if necessary. But we can go only a few days without water. The amount of water a person needs depends on the time of year and the climate. The CDC advises us to keep about a half-gallon of clean drinking water on hand per person per day, more if it’s summer or hot, or you’re nursing or pregnant.
The CDC also recommends that we keep about a three-day supply on hand, but I disagree with that. No one can ever predict how long an emergency will last. I suggest a two-week supply of water per person. This amount is for both cooking and drinking, but not for bathing. You need more for cleaning up.
If you have a hot water heater in hour home (you might not in an apartment), that is a source of clean drinking water. Then you can use your water jugs for cleaning.
During those two weeks, you will need to find another source for your water.
If you live in an apartment, where do you store all that water? Try under your bed. If under your bed is full, then clear out some of your stuff. Water is more important.
Again, if you keep a two-week supply of food on hand, not only will you use less gas going shopping, but you’ll be more prepared than your neighbors, I advise keeping several months of food on hand, especially staples like flour, sugar, oil, beans and rice.
And where do you keep those? The space under your bed contains water jugs, right? I have metal bookshelves for the extra groceries, and a spare room as a pantry. They make for an interesting conversation starter.
When we were moving into this home (we just recently moved) a new neighbor helping us with the many boxes of food said, “What are you, some kind of a Prepper?”
I smiled and said, “I guess so.”
The problem is, now that he knows where the groceries are, he might not be so willing to buy his own. That’s one of the things to think about. Who knows what you have? Can you trust them?
HEATING OR COOLING
This takes a bit more planning. When the electricity goes out, your hot water heater no longer puts out hot water. Your air conditioner won’t start. Even if you have gas heat, the starter is probably electric, as is the blower.
If you live in a cold climate, that means lots of blankets, sweaters, socks, leg warmers, pantyhose, whatever you can use to keep yourself warm. If you live in a hot climate, that means lots of windows, and it will still be hot. One-hundred and ten in the shade is probably hotter in an apartment.
Also, you will probably want a cooked meal occasionally. So you need to find alternatives. This can be as simple as a hibachi or Coleman stove, or as complicated as using a generator. Whatever alternate heat/cooking source you use, it will need ventilation, so you must crack a window near the source of your heat.
Your goal is to become as independent as possible. The stories coming out of FEMA camps from those being “rescued” from Sandy were a little scary. Your best bet is to depend on yourself.
Sandy is long gone but the repercussions are still being felt today.
The next disaster will come soon enough, with or without warning.
Will you be ready?