Day 7 – National Preparedness Month Challenge – Evaluate your Emergency Light, Heat & Fuel Plan
It seems that every winter we have a storm that knocks the power out. Last year we were without electricity for three days because of a wind storm. At our previous house we had a fireplace to keep warm and provide some light, but now we live in a subdivision and don’t have the security of the fireplace. So I find myself evaluating my emergency light, heat & fuel plan and how we will stay warm if the lights go out this winter.
I have fond memories of the winter of 1978. I was living in Portland, Oregon and we experienced a severe ice storm. The power was out for a week. We piled in front of the fireplace with blankets and sleeping bags. I’m sure it was a challenge for my parents, but we were happy and warm as kids. It was an adventure.
Now as an adult, I have my supplies an old trunk in our house. I use it as the staging area for our candles, flashlights, oil lamps and other necessities for when the lights go out. We know we can go to there and find what we need.
I began my evaluation by making an inventory of that old trunk. I found a new flashlight (only one), a few batteries (maybe 10), a bunch of candles (enough and to spare), and two oil lamps (but no fuel!) I have some work to do…
Today’s Challenge: Evaluate your Emergency Light, Heat and Fuel Plan
GOOD: Evaluate the light, heat and fuel you have on hand, make note of what you have and where it is. Make a list of what you need to get. Here are some ideas to include in your plan.
- // A flashlight for every person in your family. Consider at least one crank flashlight
- // Battery operated lamps or rechargeable lamps
- // Batteries to match the things you are using to prepare
- // Oil lamps and oil
- // Candles – found on sale or at discount stores. Make sure you have something safe to put them on and always be mindful of fire safety if you plan to use candles
- // Matches and/or lighters
- // Propane and white gas lanterns. They can be used indoors only with adequate ventilation
- // Light sticks – (like these Snap-On Light Sticks for Power Outages) you won’t do a lot of reading by these…but they are comforting for children and work great as path markers and to clip around the house
- // Wood burning or pellet stove – do you have a way to section off the room to keep the heat centralized?
- // Kerosene or propane heaters – produces carbon monoxide, so make sure you have planned for ventilation to circulate fresh air
- // Carbon Monoxide Monitor
- // Warm clothing including: heavy wool socks, gloves/mittens, scarves and hats
- // Blankets or sleeping bags
- // Hand or body warmers
- // Gasoline to run a generator
- // Wood or pellets
- // Oil Lamp fuel
- // Propane for cook stove
Evaluate – Do you have enough fuel for your heat source? How long are you trying to prepare for – a few days, a week or longer? Consider more than one way to provide warmth for your family, a back-up plan is always good.
BETTER – Create a staging area for your “lights out” supplies. Get a plastic tub or chest. Make sure it is easy to get to and your family knows where it is. Don’t bury it under other supplies in the basement – you want to be able to get to it as soon as there is a need. Consider flashlights, batteries, lamps, fuel, extra water, hand warmers and emergency blankets.
Tomorrow’s challenge: Cooking without power