This title is rather redundant to the blog, after all, my main point of doing these postings is trying to make and keep everyone ready for almost any situation.
In the past few posts I have been discussing emergency preparedness, especially what to have on hand for power-outages. But having the supplies listed, (and the storage information), is just as useful in, say, a flu epidemic, (and believe me anytime more than one person in a house gets the flu, it seems like an epidemic!) There can be all sorts of emergencies that happen to a person, a family or a community.
Let me expound on a few ideas and topics that cropped up from the last postings:
One is laundry.
I had said to consider keeping your laundry done, and I maintain that. Think of a long-time power/water-outage or days of illness and how hard it would be with backed-up laundry or plain out of clean underwear and towels; you are going to create so much more. Please keep laundry detergent, fabric softener,(or sheets) and bleach on-hand .If there has been an outage and you are backed-up with laundry, you’d have to run out and get supplies…and so would everyone else around you, and the stores may run out. If you have been ill, you’ll only stress yourself having to run out and perhaps have a relapse.You may be tied-up for even longer if you were ill and when you are up and about, you can’t get out because you cannot leave others who are sick home alone.
And put clean laundry away. Don’t be guilty of letting it sit in the laundry room, in baskets or piled in a chair or on a dresser.(Even I had been guilty of that. No more.) You will know what you have and what you need.Don’t try to be looking in low light or when you are sick.
The second is more on cleaning supplies.
Other cleaners to find room for in laundry areas or under kitchen and bathroom sinks are basic spray cleaners, as basic and general as you can get. Even an extra spray bottle of window cleaner,(which is mostly ammonia ), will get you through a lot. Read your labels and NEVER MIX CLEANERS THAT HAVE AMMONIA TOGETHER WITH THOSE THAT CONTAIN CHLORINE BLEACH! When mixed, those chemicals create chlorine gas which can damage your mucus membranes, eyes, lungs and can even kill you if inhaled in large quantities. Antiseptic wipes are wonderful when water supplies are short, and are easy to store. Have them on-hand.
The third things that you may not have considered having: Rain gear. Even in what is usually a desert area, you can be hit with a downpour or a flood. Ladies, do you only have high-heeled boots? Everyone should have a real pair of rain boots. They have started to come in some pretty flashy colors the last few years. Do you have a heavy slicker or hooded raincoat? You never know when you would have to get out of your house in a storm. You can’t rely on an umbrella when your hands are full, you are dealing with children or pets or if it is windy.
Four:Know where your power boxes and water shut-offs are located.
The house I live in is basically a rectangle shape with doors on three sides. Guess where my power box is located? Outside, on the only side that does not have a door. I have no idea what the planners were thinking. It is a major pain to throw a circuit-breaker in the middle of the night, or during bad weather. You have no idea how awful it was when a faulty breaker was throwing our heating system off nearly daily/nightly in the middle of one cold winter, or before we made the effort to have a ‘bucket-brigade’ style chain going with all of us posted in and outside the house, shouting as to which lights were going out when which circuit breaker was thrown. They were not labeled when we moved in. Label yours, if they aren’t already done .If you don’t know where yours are, find out NOW.
Five: Keep gas in your car. I mean it. Never get much below a half of a tank. Easy for me to say? No, but if you have to get away fast. either in an evacuation or to pick someone up, to get to a friend or relative in an emergency, you may not have the time to stop and tank up.
Even if you live on very high land or hundreds of miles from any fault line or coast, you may still need to be evacuated at some point. We have no major forest to worry about wildfires, but I live in the Birthplace of Bourbon and shortly after I moved here, there was a horrendous fire at a distillery that exploded and made international news . We were not affected, but many others were. And consider this, railroads and truckers carry dangerous chemicals in gasses and liquid all day, every day and some carry radioactive materials. Not to scare you, but airplanes go over everywhere. You just never know when an emergency or spill will strike.
When accidents occur, you need to be able to get out. I had to evacuate one night due to a rupture in a natural gas main.
Idea # Six:You should have your most important documents in a single place, in a folder or folders in water-proof envelopes, if you have them in a safe. (There are fireproof portable safes, but they are heavy and would be hard to evacuate.) If you can’t get to them or anything you’d like quickly, leave them. People died in a wildfire a month ago trying to get things more things out at the last minute. Scan anything you don’t need originals of and put them on a flash drive. Put it in the envelope.
Seven: Keep your pets’ vaccinations up to date and have their licenses on their collars . I suggest having carriers for cats and smaller dogs, or at least harnesses, and have them where you can get to them. Cats are notorious for hating collars and getting out of them. The last thing you need is your pet getting lost. Spend a couple of dollars to have your name and number on a tag. Many facilities allow pets now, after the horrible things that happened during and after Hurricane Katrina. Which leads us to the next;
#Eight: It is even better if you have family or a friend that you can rely on to take you in temporarily during an emergency. Make a pact with someone now, if at all possible. Know where your local shelter would be, if that is impossible.
And Nine: Something that my son has been after me to remake is an emergency box with a change of clothes, basic personal needs, ready-to-eat non-perishable food ,(and pet food), and flashlight. I used to have one when they were younger. Make it big enough to hold everything,(don’t forget a can opener if needed), or make two mid-sized ones. I know where I can get my hands quickly on everything we would need if we needed to evacuate, but it is still a great idea.
My next post will be ideas on what to have ready for a personal emergency; it can also be a great gift idea.
I have heard from so many people about this series and I thank everyone who let me know how much I had helped them. If there is any point I have failed to make, or anything you’d like clarified, please let me know and I will address it here in the answers or in an upcoming post.
I pray that may you never have to use any of the advice from this series, but I believe in “the better safe than sorry” frame of mind. Something, some time, may well happen.Make yourself as safe and prepared as possible.
I hope that you will continue to read here and get ideas for your lives. My aim is to make everyone a little more confident and comfortable, in hosting and in life.