We had over a foot of snow Thursday and are due for 12-18 inches tomorrow! Yes, it’s winter here in New Hampshire! I have to admit that you could live off of what I have in my house for some time and be just fine! That being said let’s talk about what you should make sure you have besides the bread and milk.
This video shows the panic we sometimes feel about the bread and milk. Not my video but hilarious none the less.
While this video is hilarious, being sure you are prepared for a storm is no laughing matter. To prepare for the storm which promises to bring about 18 inches of snow we started the day with filling the gas cans up for the generator. We bought one years ago when we were without power for 18 days during an ice storm. Our problem then was not actually power but water.We live in the country so we have a well and you need electricity to power it. We have a woodstove and while it was not exactly warm in here we were not going to freeze. Don’t panic if you don’t have these things, you can certainly make it by for a few days without power. Here is what you will need to make it through for three days:
Charge your cell phone, you can get a backup battery charger which will keep you with power on your phone longer. If you have multiple phones in the house just use one at a time. Once one finally dies, go to the next phone etc. In general, I’d say to keep it off unless you need to make a call. Definitely, kill all the background programs so your charge will last longer. There are many battery life apps out there, use one of those to help make your battery last as long as possible. If you have a laptop make sure that is charged before the storm, you can then use that to change your phone later on.
Water, one gallon per person per day. If you live in an area that does not have town water fill your bathtub up to the top. You can then pour a bucket of water into the toilet to make it flush.
Ready to eat non-perishable food. Canned soups, canned meats and fish (tuna and spam). Fruits and vegetables you can eat raw. Peanut butter, jelly. Bread Milk. Snacks like granola bars, canned fruit, crackers etc. You can use
You can use Sterno to warm foods inside. It is an open flame so you have to very careful with children and pets. One can will burn for 2.5 hours or so. I use this to warm soup. Don’t place anything around it. The can gets very hot. Be sure that the can is not in direct contact with a surface that could be damaged from the heat of the can. I have a chafing dish and will put my soup in that and then warm it that way. You can get a Sterno folding stove at Walmart for about five dollars! If they don’t have any or you can’t get to the store you can use a larger tin can. You can find how to make one here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Tin-Can-Sterno-Stove/
A manual can opener (you’ll need this to make your Sterno can stove too)
Battery powered radio with plenty of extra batteries.
Flashlight, again with extra batteries. For safety, they tell us now not to use candles or hurricane lamps.
FIRE EXTINGUISHER. You should already have one of these in your home but if you don’t it’s a good thing to get. With open flames, candles that some people use etc the fire danger is greater.
Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are also something you should already have and are even more important in an emergency.
Be sure to get outside and clear snow away from any vents around your house. Systems that vent outside can get plugged up from all that snow. The power might come back on and those fumes could be backing up into your home and can kill you and your family!! If you aren’t sure you have these types of vents walk around your home now and look at what is coming out of the building. If you are not sure what the vent is for just keep it cleared to be safe.
CASH!! If you need to go buy something chances are you won’t be able to use a debit card for some days.
Be sure to have sanitary items on hand like trash bags, soap, toilet paper and paper towels. Rubber Gloves are super useful.
Paper plates and silverware are handy to have so that you won’t have dishes to do.
If you haven’t done it already and you think you might lose power, do your laundry. You will need the clothes, towels etc. And if you need to pack to leave you’ll have what you need ready. You will also have to wear many layers in order to stay warm!
If you have children, having non-electronic games and activities available for them is going to help your sanity. Cards, board games, puzzles, coloring books, books, crayons etc. I always made a blanket fort for the kids to play in. They would be warmer in there all together anyway and they thought it was fun.
Be prepared if you have to leave home for any reason during or after the storm:
Drivers License, insurance card, birth certificates, bank account information, insurance information, extra keys for the house and car should be in a resealable plastic bag and put in a bag that you will pack to leave home.
As I said we have a wood stove. If you have one you can use that is great but be sure it’s safe, the chimney is cleaned etc. Every year our fire department answers calls for chimney fires!
Sleeping bags are pretty helpful. We would zip two of them together and put the two girls into that and they’d keep each other nice and toasty all night. Since there were no lights they would sleep in our room on the floor anyway.
Stay safe everyone!