Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

Becoming friendly with the people in your neighborhood really helps in preparedness.  When the power goes out people will share their working fireplaces to warm up. People with generators may offer to recharge electronic devices. Apart from that, a neighborhood where people are friendly to each other is a safer neighborhood. Oddities will stand out more and people are more likely to report suspicious behavior.

TIPS for Emergency Preparedness:

1. When there is a storm warning, fill up your car with gas. An often-overlooked source of gas in an emergency is the homeowner’s supply for their lawn maintenance equipment.  Stored fuel should be treated with a preservative like STA-BIL.

2. Make sure you have flash lights in the house. If you choose battery operated ones, have a mix between lights with a focused beam and lights that are lanterns. The new high-intensity LED flashlights actually give off a lot of light and are relatively easy on your batteries. Consider having a few lights that work based on a hand crank too. A minute of cranking yields about 40 minutes of light. Consider having a flashlight that can blink or can have different colors. It will do wonders to attract attention when in need. Have an inventory of your battery-operated devices, know what batteries they take and have a supply at hand for emergency purposes.

3. Have radios. Hand cranks are good, battery operated is acceptable too. Know what stations to tune to. A radio station that people can tune into during an emergency is AM880, KIXI. Weather alerts will be broadcast via NOAA, but only radios with NOAA functionality will receive transmissions. Here is a helpful article about NOAA radios.

4. A well-stocked pantry containing pasta, beans, canned tomatoes, cereals, etc. pays off big time. After about 4 days, you’ll have to get rid of what is in your fridge. Your pantry will last. You’ll need bottled water at hand. Experts recommend a gallon of water per person per day, for a minimum of 3 days.  Rotate bottled water every 6-12 months.

5. Have carbon monoxide detectors and check that they work. We heard more than a few stories of people who got overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning caused by  burning candles or by improperly operating fire places.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a very real, significant hazard during winter storms.  Detectors are inexpensive and readily available. They are easy to install.  Just like a smoke detector, they have “test” buttons, and should be tested regularly to ensure it is in good working order and so that all family members are familiar with the alarm. Located them strategically such as in close proximity to your gas furnace and water heater, near a fire place and the bedrooms. It  is also critical not to allow the engine of an automobile to run inside a garage, even if the garage door is open.

From ready.gov: “Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal¬ burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.”

6. Winterize your car and add a cold weather emergency kit. Winterizing could include having tires rotated, battery checked, and fluids (like windshield cleaner and antifreeze) topped off. A basic cold weather emergency kit for an auto could have an extra set of gloves, hat, scarf, socks and sturdy shoes.  A small shovel and bag of de-icer or kitty litter (for traction). A blanket and a few of those hand warmers that hunters use. A supply of food and water are good to have. Make sure the water container has room for the water to expand in case it freezes. A flashlight and set of jumper cables are always good to have on hand.

What else can each of us do?  Do you have any tips?

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