Preparing for Winter and Other Emergencies.

Just outside my door today.
Some winters here are full of ice storms and heavy wet snow.  Others can be quite mild.  thus, you just never know.  We have always dealt with extended power outages  for the 35 years we have been here.  From tornado's to snow and ice,  Mother Nature is unpredictable and seems more so as time goes by.

Our backyard today.
Two winters ago we were without power on three occasions for several days, close to a week twice.   Even though we are IN THE CITY LIMITS our power is one of the last to be repaired during any major outage because there or so few people on our little circuit.

Looking north this morning.
So we have learned to take care of ourselves on these occasions.  I am totally NOT going to a shelter.

We stock up on canned goods.  Easy things like soups and stews, beans and tuna, and canned fruit.  Coffee can be stored  as well as tea, flour, and other staples in the freezer.  I tend to group these together in a small freezer for easy access. (Extra freezer space in an extra side by side we keep.)

If you have freezers that have some extra room, wash and fill  plastic milk jugs with fresh water and freeze them.  If nothing happens, it costs less to keep a full freezer cold than it does an empty or half empty freezer.  If you have only a power outage DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR.  The freezer will stay colder longer full and with an unopened door.  If you have a crisis and you need fresh water you have a good fresh supply on hand.  Just thaw it out if you need it.  (These frozen jugs are great in the summer for use in coolers too.  They don't make a mess, last a long tome. and refreeze when you are done with them.)

You may also want to draw water in your bathtub if you are anticipating a problem.  You can dip a bucket of water from the tub and pour it into the toilet bowl to cause a manual flush.

LP gas Heating Stove.
We also had a LP gas log put in our gas heating stove and we had the 100 gallon filled this week. (Just in case the delivery of natural gas is interrupted.)  If you burn wood you might want to check your supply of fuel is adequate.

We purchased a gas range when the electric one gave out a few years back because you can still light the burners and cook on it when the power is out as we have natural gas to the house also.  Our water heater is gas so we always have had hot water during outages.  There have been past years that neighbors came here for showers during outages.

I keep two French Press coffee makers and am always glad to share.
French Press is a truly wonderful thing to have for coffee.  Plus the coffee is just delicious.  I sometimes make it just for a small pot.  You measure the coffee into the base and add boiling water then push down the plunger/strainer mechanism and you have coffee.  I have made "tea cozey's " that fit over the pots to keep the beverages hot longer and it all works great.  Or you can simply fill a thermous with boiling water to heat it up, then pour off the water and pour in the coffee and it will remain hot for many hours.

A supply of medications, a first aid kit, and paper goods are advisable as well as a radio, flashlights, bulbs, and batteries.  Warm blankets you can easily get too and a back up of pet food, matches, candles, and lamps and lamp oil are good too.

If you have a generator know how to use it, have fuel, and you may need additional extension cords.  We try to leave flashlights stored in key areas of the house for easy access.

Our home telephone goes out without electricity so it is helpful to have the ability to charge the cell phone in your automobile.

What you most need to do is to stop and think, "What do we have that we can utilize and what changes can we make by attrition to improve our readiness?"  You just never know what is just around the corner.

Good luck and God Bless.


John Decker said...

This is a great article and very informative. Preparing for the winter can be a pain but it is very crucial do do so. Some important things to make sure are working right is your car, heater, and hot water heater. Last winter, my family had a problem with our hot water heater. It was horrible, we did not have hot water for weeks. To make sure that this did not happen this year, I decided to get water heater repair services come look at my unit to make sure it is working properly.

Diane Cosby said...

Thanks John! I might add that my husband always marks with a giant piece of masking tape the date he buys and installs things and the dates of service. I cannot tell you how handy that comes in if you have a warranty issue. You know at a glance before having to dig for the receipt how long you have had it! We had a water heater go out while still under warranty not too long ago.