Saturday, January 30, 2010

Things To Do In An Emergency

Well, we survived the storm.  All total, we ended up with about 7-8 inches of snow.  No ice, though, and I find that a good thing.  Now the kids are out, for hours on end, enjoying the snow.  The next few days are going to warm up, so it doesn't promise to stick around long.  However, this sort of thing, kind of, gets me into "preparedness mode".  And, since this is still on my mind, I thought I'd share a few things to do to be prepared, especially on a homestead.

1.  The first thing to consider is a supply of water.  Should the power go out for any length of time, you won't have the use of the well pump.  We have five gallon buckets around to keep full and we also use mason jars.  We gather as many as we have to spare and fill them up.  For washing and bathing, we will fill the bath tub.

2.  Food is next.  Keep a good supply of canned goods.  We canned a lot of our own, but, we also take advantage of good sales at the store.  I bought a case of canned veggies for 39 cents per can when they were on sale.  That is for us to keep on the shelf, in the pantry, just in case.  Our cook stove is propane and can be lit with a match.  You might consider how you'll cook food if there is no power.  A Coleman campstove is cheap and good to have around.

3.  Lights.  You will want to see at night.  Candles and flashlights are a must.  Also consider looking a thrift stores, etc for a good, used oil lamp of kerosene lantern.  Buy five gallons of kerosene to keep around.  They say kerosene goes bad, but I've had mine for 12 years and it seems OK.  Make sure to have plenty of batteries.  Wind up, self  generating flashlights are a good choice, but you end up winding them a lot.  Good to have around, though.  We have an Aladin lamp and a Dietz lamp, both excellent brands.

4.  Last year's ice storm got us to buy a generator.  All we needed was a small one.  You will have to judge the size you'll need.  Ours is just to plug the freezers into to keep the meat safe.  Works well and fairly inexpensive.

5.  That brings up the next point.  Keep plenty of gas around for the generator, chainsaw, car, etc.  You will need it.

6.  We heat with wood, so we need to hav e lots of firewood ready.  I was aided in this last summer when I finally put a roof on our wood shed.  Keep the wood dry with a tarp or shed.  You won't want to fight with wet wood during an emergency.

7.  My wife, the herbalist, keeps us supplied with herbs and tinctures and poulices for medicine, etc.  Great to have if you can't get to a doctor.  Have plenty of "how to" books, that can aid in medical situations such as, broken bones, cut and abrasions, fevers, etc.  First aid kit is a must.

8.  A shovel.  We had to dig out a bit and this helps.  Hurts the back, though.  Find some excesises that can stengthen your back and do them, you won't regret it.  You don't want to throw your back out when your family needs you the most.

9.  We recomend keeping a land line phone.  I know, in the age of cell phones, some get rid of the land line to save money.  But, if the power goes out, you will still have communication.  Do make sure the cell phones are fully charged and ready.  We also have enough two-way radios for all of us.  Rechargeable batteries are good, but make sure to keep a supply of fresh non-rechargables around.  Look for good bargains, throughout the year, to stock up.

10.  If you have animals, you will need to consider them.  There is, usually, several days notice on storms.  Use that itme to have plenty of hay and whatever stocked up.  Make sure to provide the supply of water.  I need to work on this area.  I am carrying water in buckets, right now.  But, the animals have to drink.  Bring the animals in from pasture, to a close place that you can monitor them and give a break from the wind and elements.  Our place is small, so I don't have to move them, but, I do think about it.

Today, I am going to make a "snow rake".  I have a thin, long cedar pole that I am going to attatch a long piece of wood at one end, perpendiular.  I will use this to rake the heavy snow from the roof of the barn and house to prevent collapse.

These are just a few things to think about, in case of disaster.  The biggest thing in all of this is to be proactive.  This is not a time to sit down and wait for someone else to come to your rescue.  They're all in the same boat.  If you have anything to add to this list, please comment.  I want to know what y'all do.  It will improve our preparations, as well.  Thanks for stopping by.

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