Spring is here, and with it are the inevitable round of tornado-producing storm fronts pushing across the nation. Thunderstorms with high winds are also on the menu for the near future, and with them comes the very definite possibility of power outages and other utility disruptions. No, it doesn’t happen every year that a tree lands on a transformer, but it can happen and its best to be prepared.
Fortunately, with enough natural disasters under the wings of Americans, lists have been generated for maximum emergency preparedness, also known as what to have on hand when you’re sitting in the dark with no air conditioning and the refrigerator on the fritz.
A basic emergency supply kit could include the following recommended items:
Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
First aid kit
Whistle to signal for help
Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
Manual can opener for food
Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery
Consider adding the following items to your emergency supply kit based on your individual needs:
Non-prescription medications such as pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medication, antacids or laxatives
Glasses and contact lense solution
Infant formula, bottles, diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream
Pet food and extra water for your pet
Cash or traveler’s checks
Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records saved electronically or in a waterproof, portable container
Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person
Complete change of clothing appropriate for your climate and sturdy shoes
Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper to disinfect water
Matches in a waterproof container
Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels and plastic utensils
Paper and pencil
Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children
Obviously, unless there is an actual tornado that hits the area, some of this is overkill. However, with extreme weather in all seasons and all over the nation, it is never too much to have things like extra batteries, working flashlights, camp lanterns, bottled water and non-perishable food around. Butane and sterno stoves are also handy to have in power outage, especially with gas ranges that will not light with electricity. From personal experience having lived through severe weather with days of power outages in both summer and winter, all of this is worth considering.
Severe weather that produces miserable living conditions is not guaranteed in any given year, but it is always good to be prepared. This list is a place to start.
And, word to the wise, reading by candlelight is not a good idea.