Old man winter refuses to leave my neighborhood! I live in the Maryland/ Washington, DC area which was clobbered with snow (28-30 inches!). The snow accumulation was unbelievable and we are still feeling the effects. Fortunately, my daughter and I were safe and warm. Unfortunately, many people in the area lost their power for days and are still struggling through some very cold nights. The snow storm that pounded the east coast was merciless and many families are still suffering the aftermath. Emergency preparedness is extremely important for your whole family. We can’t change the weather, and emergency situations will happen, however, we can try to prepare for the worst. An emergency kit and plan is essential for every family.
Tips to prepare for an unexpected emergency
Don’t Go Hungry
If you know hazardous weather is coming most likely you are at the store waiting in a long line of irate and nervous people. Skip the grocery store and prepare ahead of time. Sure you still may need to pick up bread and milk, but think about food you can store for a long time without refrigeration in case you lose your electric. Get a stash of the following:
- Peanut butter
- Fruit juice boxes
- Bottled water is a must! Buy a separate supply of water to keep in the pantry or basement that will last for a few days for the entire family.
- Protein bars
If you have a baby always have an extra supply of baby food. Also keep a manual can opener and an insulated cooler on hand. If you have pets keep an extra bag of food available for them, after all they get hungry too! Make sure your food supply will last for 4-5 days. I know that may seem long, but our storm kept us indoors for a whole week!
If you live in an area where winter storms are the norm than you know how quickly the power can go out. Have a supply of blankets and warm clothing ready. Have at least two blankets for each family member. Keep your windows and doors well insulated, if the heat goes out you need all the warmth you can get, don’t let extra cold air in.
Don’t Be Left In The Dark
When the electricity goes out there isn’t a whole lot we can do, but wait until it is restored. But we can be prepared by having the following:
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- Battery operated radio to get updates on the situation
- Candles or flameless candles which may be safer if you have small children
- A portable generator can be useful, but always use it outdoors away from doors and windows to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.
First Aid Kits
The last thing you need in an emergency is another emergency! First Aid-Kits are a necessity in all homes. Here are a few essentials for your kit:
- Latex or vinyl gloves
- Sterile dressings
- Antibiotic or burn ointment
- Adhesive Bandages
- Gauze pads
Try to find a waterproof box to put the supplies in and keep it accessible for the whole family. Build your kit according to the needs of your family.
Every family should have an emergency plan. Make sure your family has an emergency exit route out of the home in case of a fire or other emergency. Practice at least twice a year to ensure that everyone knows what to do and where to meet. Keep emergency number in a visible area, own a fire extinguisher, and always check the batteries in the fire alarms in your house. Make sure each family member knows where the emergency kits, blankets, and supplies are located. Also check out the many websites on emergency preparedness for some great ideas.
Keeping our families safe is a big priority for all moms. External circumstances often can’t be controlled but we can control how we handle an unforeseen emergency. Make the best out of a bad situation, stay calm, and get in some family bonding time if you can and always pray! Surviving the blizzard of 2010 turned out not to be so bad, there was plenty of hot chocolate, movies, cookies, cupcakes, painting, reading, snuggling, and fun memories. Most importantly we were together and safe!
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