Last night, as a friend and I slipped down a steep hill after cooking classes, I was reminded that it was just a year ago that much of our town was without power for nearly two weeks after an ice storm hit the Northeast. I wonder if more people are prepared now or if a repeat of that event would leave many scrambling again. I am inclined to think that not much has changed, Those families who plan ahead will be ready and the ones who tend to put things off would again be left waiting for help.

If you are new to preparedness, a major storm is a good time to try out your preps and plans and plug up any holes you find. We were among the fortunate who got power bach quickly but we were without long enough to see where we still had things to do. Here is the short list of steps to take if an event is forecast and you find yourself with only one day to get ready.

1. Check on elderly and infirm neighbors and relatives. Make sure they have a way to keep warm and a safe means of lighting their home and to eat during a crisis. Let them know the locations of shelters if that’s needed. Do you have any extra space to offer for someone in need?

2. Check your water stores. A large bin or barrel in a bathtub can store enough water for flushing. That water does not need to be clean enough for drinking. Remind kids that they don’t have to flush after every use if water is scarce. I hope you have socked away a bunch of clean 2 liter bottles for storing water. Soda bottles work well. I can never get milk jugs clean enough to suit me. If you have put this off, buy a week’s worth of bottled water. The shelves will clear out of this item pretty quickly so it is better to have water on hand well before a crisis.

2. Remove anything you might need from the refrigerator or freezer, transfer to a good quality cooler and pack that with ice. You want to open both of those appliances as little as possible when the power is out. Use up perishables first.

3. Make up some meals that can be prepared with the cooking methods you will have available. For instance, if you have a wood stove, make up some stew or soups and keep it on a low simmer on the back of the stove. Make sure you have breads, muffins, cookies, hard cheeses, canned juices and other easy, no-prep food ready.

4. Check your stores of canned food.

5. Check your fuel supplies. Do you have enough lamp oil, propane, wood, wicks, matches, batteries and so on to provide light and cooking options.

6. How is your medication supply? Refill now.

7. Fill your car with gas and park away form dangerous trees and facing out of your driveway. 

8. Make sure you have pet food on hand.

9. Assemble your emergency equipment where you can get at it but secure from small children. You don’t want to stumbling around in the dark looking for the flashlights and the radio.

10. Catch up on laundry and other daily chores. Get out the board games, the extra blankets.

Now you can settle back and enjoy some forced down time. A storm can be a blessing if you are prepared. It can provide and opportunity to kick back and enjoy your family. While ou are secure and warm, remember those who are laboring for you. If you can bring some food or treats to the road and power crews, do so.  A thank you note for a job well done is really appreciated to.

This is preparedness 101 for most of the people who read blogs like this. Pass on the list to others who might not be ready.