First on the agenda for today’s article is to say a great big thank you to all of you who have been making comments and telling of your preparedness experiences. It makes such a difference when we can share our thoughts, ideas and encouragement! Keep them coming!
On my preparedness calendar, it appears that we are coming up on September. Good grief, I just took a second to turn around and it is September. That means this is an awareness article or just one more of your fall reminder lists. You can consider this a follow up to the article a week or so ago about your summer to-do list. (I will never be guilty of nagging. Right?)
September is the month the seasons officially change to fall. As you may have noticed in a lot of the APN articles, September is also National Preparedness month. It’s also when, for many people, the Squirrel Syndrome takes over – you know putting all that “stuff” back before the winter storms hit. Consider this that companion article that helps you assess your situation and turn it into your plan-of-action. Has the Squirrel Syndrome hit in your part of the world yet?
This is a practical reminder, part of that “stuff’ needs to be non-foods, such as batteries, new ones. Maybe it means checking your extra blankets, making sure that they are clean and useable. Is your tent in good repair and clean – meaning the sticks, stones and burrs from the last scout outing are out of it, with no left over spiders or other “boy treasures.”
Are the tools you need to get you through a really tough storm handy and useable? Are they gathered together in an accessible place?
Is there enough TP on your shelves for your family to make it through a long term power outage with no store to run to? This is definitely required “stuff”. Remember that it is a very old and very wrong old-wives tale that says you can rely on using catalog or magazine pages or newspaper in an emergency situation or in your luxury outhouse. This could compound problems by creating sores and infections, especially in children who usually have very sensitive skin.
What about aspirin, or Tylenol, or Ibuprofen and all of the “stuff” to deal with the noses that always run everywhere in yucky weather?
Take the time now to do a quick inventory. For example, how many working flashlights do you have on hand? How many do you really need? Is this the year to change over to the LED kind? I don’t think we can be reminded enough. Flash lights are one of those things we see, say “Oh yes, and then sometimes immediately put out of our mind. After all, we see them everywhere; at the checkout stand, in displays at the home center store, Wal Marts, Target, the drugstore … etc. But are the ones (multiples) on your shelf, in working order?
Write down your inventory, or log it into your smart phone. If you have several areas that you are working on, you most likely will not remember all of the items. Make a good all-encompassing list. Even start it now as you read through this article and it jogs your mind with a whole bunch of, “Oh, yeah, I really do want to remember …”
Have you considered what kind of ponchos you and your family need? There are quite a few options available. There is the super- inexpensive, clear plastic kind. Most likely, at the first wearing, or in a very strong storm, the chances of this kind tearing and not holding up are pretty good. That might not be a good thing if it happens to be day one of a seven day storm-front. You might want to consider the vinyl type. Not only are they much sturdier and usually last through tough situations, but they can serve other preparedness needs as well.
If the weather is cold and your clothing is not sufficient for the emergency situation you find yourself in, a poncho will help keep you warm. Use the poncho as a top layering element over your other clothing. It traps the warm air from your body and serves well as an emergency all-weather coat.
In an evacuation situation or other problem times during a major storm, for example, or whatever might cause you to be caught in an emergency situation with a group of strangers, a poncho can provide a privacy shield. Should you need to change clothes or take care of personal needs a vinyl poncho will be a great piece of “wardrobe” with a dual function.
Now might be a good time to stock up on chemical hand/body warmers. I suggest the disposable kind, not the reusable kind. If the intent is to be able to use them in an emergency situation, you most likely will not have the fuel or resources to re-heat the reusable kind. It usually takes boiling water to create the heat. Most of the disposable kind are fairly economical. This kind is easy, just squeeze and the chemical reaction takes place. They can be tucked in a waist band as well as in gloves or pockets. Take a minute to check out the Army/Navy stores or sporting goods outlets and compare prices.
This is also the time to be determining what you are going to use as your emergency cooking stove. I highly recommend the small, portable butane stove as one of the best pieces of equipment to have for an emergency. For you non-outdoors people, or those who live in the city and are never going near the wilderness; camping; or hunting scenarios, this is the way to go. You can rely on it and it is as easy as cooking on your kitchen stove using regular pots and pans. There is no special equipment required! If you are attempting to cook for a family that includes children, instead of just one or two people, you might want to consider more than one stove. It makes dealing with an emergency situation much easier. This little stove is safe to use indoors with butane as a fuel. (Ventilation is always required!) You should not use camping equipment indoors!
You need to make sure that you have sufficient fuel to be able to actually cook on your stove or stoves, which means at least one full canister for each stove. You can safely store butane in a cool place; such as next to an outside wall in your garage or in a garden shed.
And the list goes on … but at least this is a good start to get you thinking as you look at those spaces that should be filled in your pantry or closet. After all, it is September and the first snow hasn’t fallen – yet. I hope the Squirrel Syndrome now has a part in your planning, actually your action plan.
And of course, keeping priorities in place, how full is your chocolate reserve? It could be considered dangerous to let it get too low.