Monday, January 31, 2011

What to do when...

before the power goes out during blizzard is coming?
It's called being prepared for anything.

As many of you know I live in an apartment. 
Our place is heated by electric.
Our food is cooked on an electric oven. 
Worst of all, Snow-maggedon is on its way! 
I've grown up with a doomer for a mom, poor, a girl scout, & been in the Navy. 
It's time to be prepared and pray you don't need to use those smarts.

First off, the 3 things you need to live as a human are food, water, and shelter.

Let's cover water first. The human body can survive without water for three days. That is provided you're in great shape and temperature is not a factor. It is very imperative you stock on water. Think about how many days you may be without it. Then, think about how many people are in your home. If an average person has to drink 64 ounces (1/2 a gallon) of water to keep you hydrated for an entire day, then multiply by the number of people, multiplied by the number of days to get how much drinkable water you'll need. We have 3 people in our family, so that's 1 1/2 gallons per day.
Hygiene is another animal altogether. So, we need to wash dishes, wash ourselves, and run the toilet. The best way to do this is fill up a couple of 5 gallon buckets with water while the pipes are still running. If you run out or didn't have time, use a 5 gallon bucket or pots out to the deck for collecting snow. You can bring it in the house, warm it up, and use it. Ration your water with a cup for brushing your teeth and washing your face.

Food, you have to eat it. The average human can last up to eight weeks without food if they are properly hydrated. However, who wants to go without food? For a good source of protein make at least a dozen hard boiled eggs and tuna fish salad. Peanut butter is all well and good, but it's something a lot of people have allergies to. It also contains additives that are allergens as well. If you can't have nuts, buy beans from a can, which can be heated up. Fruits and vegetables, which are fresh, will last you long enough to survive a power outage or at least another trip to the store.
How do you cook? That's easy, use camping equipment. Do you own a grill? Clear that puppy off, and use it. The other thing you can do is buy a Magic Heat set up. I own this and a sterno set up with lots of back up cans. There are cooking pots and pans just for this kind of cooking. I suggest you pick some up, if you don't already have cooking gear. There are propane powered devices from Coleman at your local store, too. This is just enough to get you through a meal or two if you can't do something else. If you're the kind of person that must have coffee, buy instant coffee or purchase a coffee press with the beans grounded to that specification (10 seconds is all it takes). Be ready to ration if needed! You and your family may hate it, but you'll be grateful later.

After a while the residual heat is going to wear away. To keep that residual heat from drifting out the door, window, or vent use sheets and blankets to cover those places. If you have curtains, you're awesome! If you have blinds, close them and proceed. Close the blinds, and tack up a sheet and blanket over these areas. If you have heaters below your windows, like we do, fold the sheet or blanket in half, then tack up. You don't want something hanging on your electric heaters when the power comes back on. YIKES! Keep warm by layering your clothing as the heat starts leaving the air. Pantyhose and tights are great insulators. Serious hunters have been using them for years. Keep your head and feet covered. Majority of your body heat is let out through those two places.
Keep your body heat pooled together in one room, which means pull out what you need from your bedrooms, closets, etc and close the doors. If you have a kerosene heater, awesome on you! That's awesome! Just remember to fill your tanks, and keep them close. Wood burning stoves and fireplaces are awesome. Keep stocked on firewood, paper, matches, and lighters. However if you don't have these things, be ready to camp indoors.
Next, create a fort using blankets and sheets. This traps body heat in your new community sleeping area. We're going to use a tent covered with a large woven blanket. Feel free to pull out mattresses and be comfortable, but keep the heat in. When the residual heat is gone from the rest of the house, this is your hut. If you're still cold, think about how the body creates heat. It's exercise time. Get everyone up and out running from one end of the house to the other, running in place, doing jumping jacks or whatever it takes to get your blood pumping. Then sit back in your tent and let the heat warm you up. At this point whatever you do don't go outside! This is where those prepping foods come in handy. If you cannot go out to cook on your grill, eat the eggs and other foods you've prepped.
When the sun goes down flashlights are nice, but candles and oil lamps can provide both light and heat. 

Clean and take out all your garbage before the weather hits to prevent disease. It's something elementary, but relatively important.

Contact to the outside world is a need. Be sure to get batteries for flashlights, radio equipment, and other devices. Always fully charge your cell phone. Keeping an extra battery isn't always possible, but it's a good idea to have. For emergencies carry a regular phone to use rather than relying a cordless phone.

What if things go wrong? Always keep a basic first aid kit with you, ALWAYS. It may take a while for an ambulance or first responders to arrive. Be prepared to take care of any situation. As cold as an issue, be sure to read up on hypothermia and frostbite first aid.

Lastly, do not forget your pets! Stock up on their foods, calculate their water needs, and be sure to clean their cages, bedding, etc. before the weather hits.

Things to stock up on:
  • toiletries - toilet paper, paper towels, pads, and soap.
  • water - drinkable and not drinkable
  • easy to cook or prepare foods
  • hand warmers
  • oil lamps & oil 
  • candles
  • matches
  • first aid kit

This post is not a comprehensive list of things to have or do, but I try to cover most bases. Best wishes to you this Snow-maggedon! 

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