Guest post by Kathleen H.
After experiencing a 3-day span of no electricity in a snowstorm that took out hundreds of utility poles, we survived. We did the best we could with what we had, which at that time wasnt much.
My mother-in-law and brother-in-law lived up the road one mile. During the aftermath of the storm, you could travel by tractor, but not by car. There was one small generator between the two houses with options to plug in two things. My family of 4 would travel up to their house to sleep at night and during the day we came home. We both had propane heaters in the bathrooms for some warmth. We took turns using the generator as needed to keep the fridges running for some time. We would cook on the charcoal grill. YUMMMMM, not! My house was out of power for 3 days, but my in-law’s house was without for 5 days.
This was the beginning of my prepping.
After power was restored, I started buying things I felt we needed. We live in a very rural area, 6 miles from the closest community with a very small grocery store. I had a big list with lots of needs. I felt overwhelmed as I kept adding to the list, but my thoughts were coming fast and in no particular order, so I had to slow down and organize. This is what I came up with:
Heating, lighting and cooling
Generator of some size, hopefully for the whole house (still don’t have that one)
Fuel for said generator in store-able containers
Flashlights of different types and sizes
LOTS of batteries for each type of light
Oil lamps with oil and wicks
Small propane bottles for heater
Solar powered LED yard lights (bring in at night to use) BUY GOOD ONES!
Fans – hand held battery operated
Candles, matches, and waterproof matches, too
Tea light votives (I have these everywhere)
Battery operated candle lights
Portable heaters to plug into generator
Plug-in night lights that turn into flash lights when power goes out
Other useful items to have on hand
Car or solar chargers for all electronics. Keep electronics charged at all times!
Apps for the IPAD and smartphones:
- First Aid handbook
- Survival handbooks
Portable DVD player/mp3 player, etc.
Coloring books and crayons or colored pencils
Flash drives with all important info
- Birth certificates
- Shot records
- Pet records
- Marriage licenses, etc
- Deeds to properties along with mortgage company information
- Car titles
- Social Security cards (copies)
- Banking information – all accounts; include safe deposit box information
- Lists with names and numbers of doctors, dentists, pharmacies, etc.
- Lists of meds taken, dosage, doctor and condition taken
- Copies of credit and debit cards, front and back
- If you have assets (CDs, stocks,etc.) have the info to get to your agent.
- Pastor’s contact information
- Contact information for family out of the area
- Photos of house, cars, and belongings-each room!
- Legal documents (wills, restraining orders, divorce, military service, passport, etc.)
- Flash drive with back up of computer storage! VERY IMPORTANT!
- Recent photos of all family members and pets.
- Addresses and other info of people who are your ICE contacts
- Copies of all drivers licenses or issued photo ids
- Copies of insurance agent’s info and policies for
First Aid/Health List
- Medical kits-small for the cars and large for the house
- Extra meds, bandaids, supplies for use in an emergency
- Meds for anyone that uses them including pets (at least a 3 day supply)
- Cotton balls
- Alcohol prep pads
- Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide
- Meds for colds, coughs, flu
- Meds for diarrhea, gas, constipation, nausea, dizziness
- Allergy meds, sinus meds
- Sinus cleanse bottle and tubes of meds for it
- Soaps, shampoos
- Washcloths, towels
- Antibacterial soap
- Syrup of Ipecac
- Good chart for poison anecdotes
- Rattlesnake kit
- Toilet paper and Kleenex
- Baby wipes
- Turkey baster (or something else to flush out wounds)
- Extra toothbrushes and toothpaste with covers
- Bottled water-lots of it!
- Rags for using in splints or wounds
- Dental floss
- Sun screen
- Caldescene powder
- Benadryl creams, lotions and pills
- Anti-biotic creams
- Gauze pads
- Bandage wraps
- Keep your old crutches, boots, etc.
- Leash (make sure they always wear a collar)
- Toys and chew things
- Meds including monthly worming, etc.
Cooking in a crisis
With power out, there are only a few things you can do in the cooking department. If your generator has outlets, you can use the outlets to plug in a small appliance here or there to help in the cooking department.
I did purchase a two burner hotplate that can be plugged into the generator for cooking. We used the charcoal grill for several things, but after that we purchased a propane grill. It also has a burner on it. Either way, make sure you have plenty of charcoal and/or propane.
Other things I recommend based on my experiences:
- Manual can opener with varying ways to open cans.
- Ice chests to fill with ice and food to be put in snow (winter)
- Keep a supply of peanut butter and crackers (or your allergic equivalent)
- Peanuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, etc.
- Canned Spam
- Ramen noodles
- Dry cereal
- Granola bars
- Power bars
- Packaged tuna salad kits
- Cans of fruit
- Heat and eat soups
- STORE IN RODENT PROOF CONTAINERS!!!!!
Since that time several years ago, I have prepped in many ways. This is just a small part of what I continually work on. I am now working on a notebook with information about things I have found to be useful from the internet. First aid is my main focus right now.
My prepping supplies have increased, as has my prepping in general. I have learned so much, and constantly learn more.
It is an awful feeling to have when you can’t do anything about the situation. With children or not, with pets or not, with seniors or not.
My mom’s prepping story
As a side story, my 83 year-old mother lives alone in a city in Texas. She has medical issues, including wearing hearing aids that she removes at night. She has an alarm system which gives her peace of mind.
I was spending the night with her when about 2 AM the power seemed to be reduced, lights dimmed, fans slowed, and then everything went completely dark. I grabbed my phone and turned it so the light would come on, then powered on my iPAD to the flashlight app. It let me see well enough to get down the hall to check on my mother who hadn’t heard anything, even as the alarms were going off, not in the screaming mode but more of a quiet alarm sound.
After I got her calmed down, I asked for flashlights that were scattered here and there. I had given her a lantern, but it did not have batteries. After about 30 minutes, I was able to get the lantern going. With no radio or TV for info, we didn’t know that there was a DON’T DRINK THE WATER code out. HMMMMMM Electricity came back on after 3 hours.
You would think a city of 250,000 would have been a little bit more prepared. The next morning, many places were closed due to the BOIL WATER NOTICE. I had decided to take my mother to the store and get her some things so that she would be better prepared if this happened again. Wal-Mart was crazy with people buying water. They even had a Greeter standing in the water aisle. People were buying flashlights, lanterns and other supplies like crazy!
We did find her two lanterns and batteries (which are now installed). We got one of the nightlight type lights that becomes a flashlight when the power goes out and a hand crank radio from RED CROSS with solar charger and USB port. I made sure we bought her a case of water to have on hand and there is a flashlight app now installed on her iPAD.
I feel much better about her now with these purchases of less than $75.00. Did she want to do this? NO! But after that experience, she understands why I prep the way I do.