Emergency Preparation Made Simple
Have you ever thought about emergency prep and felt overwhelmed? Does the thought of an emergency stir up feelings of fear and anxiety? If you tend to freeze and do nothing, because of overwhelm, my tips are for you. Let’s break this down into manageable bites. In my experience over 58 years of living, power outages are the most frequent situations here in Southwestern Pennsylvania. Most times the power is restored fairly quickly, but there have been times when it has been out for days. Depending on you and your family’s needs, a power outage can be a major emergency.
Tip #1: Think about your and your families needs if the power went out. What will you need if it stays out for days? Summer versus winter?
http://emergency.tufts.edu/weather/winter-power-outage-tips/ Winter power outage tips.
https://www.healthnutnews.com/prep-summer-power-outage/ Summer power outage tips. This one is written by a prepper so it might have way more info than you need or want, but I liked his how-to-keep-cool tips.
If you’re on a fixed income, pick up an extra can of food, batteries, etcetera as you are able each shopping trip. Put aside some cash in a safe location. ATM’s won’t work in a power outage. If you need some cash you’ll have it. Doing what you can little by little is better than doing nothing.
If anyone depends on electric-powered medical equipment, talk to your medical equipment supplier about options during power outages. Some items have batteries that can fill in during an outage. Other equipment may need a generator. *Let your power company know if life- sustaining equipment is being used at your address.
The second emergency that is most likely to occur no matter where you live is a fire. Frankly, this one terrifies me! I figure that preventing a fire is worth a lot of effort and thinking.
Tip #2: Prevent fires at all costs and have an evacuation plan.
https://youtu.be/ST-Prt800ZA Fire Prevention info.
https://youtu.be/Wab2pt7RaKk Creating an evacuation plan.
I watched these videos and they are not scary, so you can use them with your children. Also, if you are having trouble paying for smoke detectors, many communities have programs that will install smoke detectors for you. Your local fire company should be able to help you with this.
*To avoid overwhelm, only move on to tip #3 when you have tackled and implemented the first two tips.
Tip #3: Think about the kinds of emergencies that occur in your area.
If your area is prone to more than one kind of weather emergency, pick the one most likely for the current time of year. During my research, I discovered that being struck by lightning is the most prevalent weather risk. Check out Thunderstorm Safety below for tips on preventing being struck by lightning. Only read about the most likely event for you to prevent overwhelm. Having emergency supplies is common to all of these emergencies.
http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/important-tornado-safety-tips-1/30770 (Where to shelter in a building)
Winter Storm Safety:
Tip #4: Try to remain calm. Panic only makes situations worse.
Practice and review with your family what needs to be done in the most likely emergencies for your area. Knowing what to do will make it easier to remember in a real emergency. Knowing what to do will reduce panic.
Finally, use whatever tools you have to help you and your loved ones stay calm. This includes prayer, deep breaths, distractions(music, games, books), and gratitude.
A Personal Experience With A Winter Storm Emergency
As an example of how to manage a weather emergency, here’s how I coped with a winter storm. I think it happened in the winter of 2010. I was working the night shift at my hospital and I was called in to replace someone who called off for that Friday 11-7 shift. It was snowing when I left for work. During the night so much snow fell that we had near 2 feet by morning. The governor declared a state of emergency which meant no one could leave the hospital until replacement staff could get in. I called home on a landline to let my children know what was up. My oldest was 23 or so and my youngest was in 4th grade.
The power had gone out at home, so I instructed them to grab blankets and all pile together in the living room to keep warm. I also told them to dress in layers and wear hats. I got extra groceries before the storm hit so my 6 kids had plenty of food to eat. We had a gas fueled hot water tank so there was hot water for them to use.
I was not able to get home until late morning on Sunday. I asked them to shovel out a space for my car. I had to go back to work that night. On my way home from work, I stopped at an open grocery store near the hospital for food. My kids had eaten everything that didn’t need cooked, so I picked up more things like peanut butter, bread, bananas, jerky, etcetera. We could see our breath in the house; it was that cold.
Thankfully, when I got home on Monday morning our power was back on. Since then, I purchased a Coleman camp stove to use for cooking if this ever happened again. (This has to be used outside due to the carbon monoxide fumes it gives off.)
It was very stressful, but we did make it through this experience without anything dangerous happening. My parents did not have power for a week and they had to evacuate to somewhere with power. It was just too cold to go that long without heat.
You can prepare yourself and your family for emergencies one step at a time. You can do this. I have faith in you.