So, am I ready to be a port in a storm? Maybe, with a few adjustments.
For most of my life, I lived in Northeast Ohio, where we used to say, “Don’t like the weather? Wait a few minutes. It’ll change.”
Now, my husband and I are in North Carolina, renting the World’s Smallest Home. (OK, maybe it’s not that tiny, but I sure miss our Amish Country farmhouse.) Although it’s two hours inland from the Atlantic, the Cape Fear River Valley still gets regular tropical storms. It’s hot, summers are humid, and there are tornadoes and ice storms too. With new weather patterns and limited storage space, we have lots of adjustments to make to our shelter-in-place planning.
The Red Cross three and seven day plan recommends basics. Mike and I prefer the three-day shelter-in-place plan. We feel it’s long enough to know if we should stay, or hightail it back to Ohio.
Here, we fail, and fail big. At the moment, we only have two gallons of water, which may sound like plenty, but isn’t really. We each drink about a gallon of water daily. So for three days, we should lay in six gallons, minimum. We do have a five gallon picnic cooler, so we could fill that, but if a storm comes in suddenly, would we have time? If we had to evacuate, would we have room for it? We would need water for our four cats too.
A small filtration unit and bottles are definitely on our list to get, so we can use any water source available and make it safe for us and our pets. Plus I need to get about five gallons to have on hand. When we know there’s a bad storm coming in, we fill the bathtub too, for non-potable water needs.
Let’s see…the list recommends canned food, and a can opener. Soup and tuna fish are in our cupboard–might not be the most interesting things to eat for three days, but we’ll survive. This isn’t the place to experiment. If you have picky eaters in your home, your kit needs to have non-perishables they’ll eat. In an emergency, there will be plenty of stress to go around. You don’t want to add another point of it trying to get a family member to eat.
We have a small charcoal grill that we can use for cooking, at least until the charcoal runs out. One thing I’d really like to add to our emergency kit is the Multi-Fuel Survival Stove. Our small town is relatively wooded. Filling three gallon tote of kindling from our yard would be easy. Backing up the grill with the survival stove seems a smart move to me.
We also like to keep at least a week of food on hand for the cats. They eat dry food, so that’s easy to store.
Back in Ohio, this was a big one. In our area of North Carolina, although it does get below freezing, it’s not as cold as long. We hear the first frost won’t be until late November. Still, it’s important to have warm, waterproof blankets and layered clothing to shelter in place. Our blanket chest is packed full, so I think we’re OK here. Plus, you know, we do have four cats. I’m sure they’ll be all about being cozy.
There’s nothing better to read or work by in non-electric light than an Aladdin lamp. I’m really glad we invested in a Genie III Oil Lamp and parts kit. Just knowing we have the spare parts handy makes me more comfortable. I set it up in no time (click to see video!), and we use it often. We definitely need to stock up on lamp oil though, as we’re down to about a pint left! That wouldn’t hold us three days, that’s for sure.
Here we do well, at least with prescriptions. Going over our first-aid kit, though, I can see I need to stock up on bandages in various sizes, and that it’s time to replace the injury cream. I’m also going to add Cinnamon and Lemon Natural Handmade Soaps. They’re lightweight, and biodegradable. And it’ll make it easy to wash up if the soap’s handy. I like that cinnamon and lemon are natural antibacterials too.
We’ve had a battery-operated weather radio for years, but I’d love to replace it with this solar model: radio, flashlight, cell charger. How cool is that? And I’ve been able to play with this Hand-Cranked Radio at the office, and I love it. My vote: if you can charge it without electricity, and it can charge your cell phone, all the better. Both of these make the grade.
Important Papers, Contact Information, Vehicles & Cash
All of our important documents are in a waterproof folder in our file cabinet, which is right next to the closet that holds our first aid and medicine kits. All three stay packed all the time, so if there’s an emergency and we have to leave, we can grab and go.
Because we have pets, and we want to be able to move as quickly as possible, my husband and I tend to keep tabs on our supplies. If we have to evacuate, we want to get the critters rounded up and get on the road, not waste time chasing around for meds, documents and the like.
We don’t like to get caught short on fuel for the cars either. So we keep an eye on the weather and make sure we have full tanks, so if we have to abandon our shelter-in-place plan and move out, we can do it with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of efficiency.
Finally, we have an ‘escape fund’ tucked away, because we may not be able to get to a bank or ATM in a crisis. It would be prudent to have cash on hand.