Philadelphia, PA - Another Nor'easter is on it's way, and are you prepared? Perhaps I'm a bit of a girl-scout at heart, or just overly careful; but I prefer to be well prepared than to have to scramble at the last minute in an emergency situation. For that reason you will always find my car filled with extra water, blankets, a medical kit, and other assorted items.
With the increasing frequency of Nor'easters, and when the weather is warmer...hurricanes, how prepared are you and your family at home? Typically I do not lose power in my house, however the last storm took the power out for 2 days. With this latest snow-storm about to hit, I did not want to run the chance of being left in the cold again.
So to help myself out, and hopefully you too, here is a run-down of items to have on-hand to prepare your home for a potential power loss.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, make sure you have enough piled up for a few days; this not only can be used as a source of heat, you can also (carefully) use it to cook on. Additionally, to heat the house I would suggest a generator. It might be loud, but if you do not have a wood-burning fireplace this can play a key role in keeping your family warm. Just make sure that the exhaust is placed outside and away from where you are sheltering in place; the fumes are fatal. You can run an extension cord into the house and plug in a space heater, along with a light and any other electronic devices (say your cell phone) that is important. Another way to keep warm is to make sure you have sleeping bags that are rated to sleep in lower temperatures, and if possible sleep in pairs to increase body heat.
Have foods that you can heat up in the fire, and that will help keep you hydrated and warm; I prepared soup on the off-chance that we lose power. And keep plenty of bottled water in stock. Also, foods that do not require any heating would be good to have on hand.
To ensure that you can see around the house if you leave the area you sequestered to stay warm in, or in case you need a back-up option for light: have flashlights and candles available. In case your cell phone battery dies, make sure you have a battery-operated radio to keep up to date on any announcements.
Fill up your bathtub with water, you can pull out buckets as needed in order to flush your toilet, or to use to clean the pot you used to make food in. And in case if one of your family members has a small injury, it's always good to have a medicine kit with you.
Also, in a last-case scenario, there are usually places nearby that offer charging stations. Typically you can find them online by doing a google search, however I know that the firehouses near my house offer this option, along with water. Just be very careful if you drive to a nearby charging center, you don't want to get into an accident getting there; this is also why it's better to stay at home and have made preparations.
I'm not an expert on survival, however I do like being as prepared as I can be in case something bad were to happen. Prevention is the best thing that you can do for yourself and your family. Even if you don't need to rely on it, at least you won't be caught without your basic needs being met.