If you’re joining us late, you might want to go back and read Rational Prepping Part 1: Financial before reading part two here. We’re talking in this series about the fallacy that prepping is only for the “crazies”. As my blogging pal Shannon, from Financially Blonde learned after going 10 days without electricity courtesy of Hurricane Sandy, prepping is for everyone.
In the first part of this three-post series, we talked about prepping for financial disasters. Today, we’ll talk about prepping for weather-related disasters. Weather-related disasters can come in all shapes, sizes and forms. Tornadoes, hurricanes, droughts, windstorms, severe thunderstorms, etc – the list goes on and on. It might surprise you to know that it doesn’t take much of a serious weather disaster to leave you in a situation where you need to have preparation techniques and supplies in place.
In fact, it wasn’t two years ago that a simple, consistent semi-heavy rain took out our power here for several hours. Without electricity, we have no heat (even the propane part of our heating system needs electricity to kick on), and no water (electric well pump). That may be fine in the midst of summer as far as heat is concerned, but having no water access can amount to a big problem real quick, especially if you’ve got horses or other farm animals.
And this, my friends, is why prepping is not just for the nutcases. It’s for everyone. For every person on earth.In that vein, here are some tips on prepping for weather-related disasters.
Prepping for Weather Disasters
Know Your Shelter Options
Sometimes in weather related disasters you have options. Sometimes you don’t. When we lost our power for several hours in May of 2014, it wasn’t due to severe storms, so we had the option to head down to the cities to stay with family or friends – however, there were still the animals to consider.
Some storm-related disasters allow you to leave your house/area – others don’t. But if you know your options – even if you know that you don’t have any options but to stay home – you’ve got a good start.
Which reminds me: This is why we always keep our gas tank at least half full. If you’re in a situation where you need to leave your area and leave it quickly, everyone else is likely in that same situation, which means everyone else will likely be hitting the gas stations to fill up. Don’t put yourself in that type of a situation. Be “always ready” to be able to leave your area by having your gas tank no less than half full.
If you can leave your area, have an emergency plan made in advance so that you have a good idea about where you will go. If you have family/friends within driving distance, is it safe to go there and do they want you there? If not, is there a nearby hotel and do you have the cash to pay for it? Often times in storms businesses won’t/can’t take credit cards or debit cards, but they will take cash. This is why in our financial disaster prepping post we recommend always having some cash on hand and hiding it securely.
Prepare As Much as You Can if You Need to Stay Home
- In the case of an impending rain storm or thunderstorm, make sure all storm windows and other windows are closed, and be sure that your sump pump is working properly. Put all patio furniture and other movable outside objects in the garage or shed so that they can’t blow away and damage the house or windows. Put cars in the garage.
- In the case of an impending tornado, get down to the lowest level of your house and stay there. That’s not being paranoid, it’s being smart. And have a weather radio with ample battery supply so that you can keep abreast of the situation.
- In the case of an impending blizzard, hurricane or other type of storm where you could be stuck in your home for several days, have an ample food supply that doesn’t necessarily need to be heated. Have plenty of bottled water on hand. Have a backup heating source such as a generator. Have backup lighting sources such as a battery-operated lantern and a heavy-duty flashlight. Here are four options we use at our house.
Lighting is vitally important to surviving a power outage successfully, as we learned when we found our “not charged up” lanterns in that May 2014 storm.
- Have plenty of blankets on hand. Have a plan in place to care for your animals and provide for their needs as well: have plenty of cat litter and food if you have cats, have a plan for taking the dog out to pee and poo if you have a dog, and put the farm animals in secure shelters if you have farm animals. Also, have all cold weather gear, such as shovels, sand or salt, snow pants, snow boots, winter coats, hats and winter gloves readily accessible in case you do need to go outside.
- Have plenty of medicines on hand, both over-the-counter and prescription meds, that are needed for each person in the house.
- Have plenty of diapers, wipes, baby food and formula on hand if you have a baby in the house
- Have a quality first aid kit and medical supplies on hand to handle both minor and major emergencies. Things like a splint, an ace bandage, suture supplies, neosporin, hydrogen peroxide, liquid benadryl (the kids stuff – for any allergic reactions), ibuprofen, acetaminophen, plain aspirin, ice packs and heat packs, etc., should be on hand and in proper working order at all times.
- Make sure you’re stocked up well on things like toilet paper. There’s nothing so frustrating as being fully prepared – except for that you have no TP in the house. 🙂
The point in the case of a storm where you cannot leave your house is to have everything you need to survive well at your fingertips. Think “big picture” for the type of weather-related disaster that is coming your way, think in advance about all of the things you’ll need that might not be readily accessible, and have a plan to gather them well in advance of the storm.
Obey the Authorities
I can’t speak too much from experience here, but it always stunned me why so many people on the news chose to stay in their homes when the authorities pleaded with them to leave. I’m not talking about those who couldn’t leave, I’m talking about those who chose to stay. Since Rick worked for 23 years as a firefighter/EMT, we are all too familiar with stories of troubles that came upon those who chose not to obey authority’s warnings regarding weather-related disasters. These guys and gals know what they’re talking about when it comes to emergency prepping and safety. They deal with it every day at work. Listen to them, people!
Having had plenty of experience with weather-related disasters in my time, I can say that I’ve been prepared, and I’ve been “not prepared”. Being prepared is MUCH, MUCH better. Don’t take chances, my friends. Prepare and be safe.
Next up: Prepping for Personal Threats and Violence.
Readers, what tips do you have for prepping for weather-related disasters?
We have a septic system, too, so a power outage means minimal water is available. If we have notice, we fill pots and a bathtub, so we at least have some water on-hand to use for flushing and brushing teeth. We also have bottled water. And, fortunately, our propane fireplace can be little for a small amount of heat.
That’s great that you guys have solid plans in place, Amy. Having experienced a fair share of power outages and no water/heat, we’re learning quickly that that’s not the optimum way to go. 🙂
We definitely do home prepping living in Houston. Hurricane City!
So very glad to hear that, Adam! It’s a smart thing to do. I’ve heard those hurricanes can be horrible!
Don’t wait until the last minute to get ready. Extra batteries, flashlights, water,etc can all be purchased well in advance, at the start of the season and stored, if you have supplies from years past double check them to make sure they are in working order as well.
“Don’t wait until the last minute…” Exactly!!! Great tips, Brian – thank you!
Here we are much more likely to be without power and with icy roads for a few days than to have any other type of damage. That’s why we keep a lot of fuel for our grill and have plenty of blankets on hand.
We need to do better about our emergency first aid kit. We keep using up all the supplies!
Smart move on keeping the fuel for the grill. Our goal for 2016 is to do the same. Thanks, Hannah!
Hey Laurie, I had to laugh about the toilet paper because I always say if I have milk and TP I can make it through almost any emergency. In fact, we’ve taken advantage of so many great TP sales my hubby informed me we have over a hundred rolls I out basement! Talk about prepared. 🙂 At any rate, good suggestions, especially remembering the animals who depend on their humans to take proper care of them. Here’s hoping for a emergency free new year.
LOL, we are TPalicious in our house too!! There are many, many things I will do without if necessary – TP is NOT one of them. 🙂 Although we are well aware of where all of the Woolly Lamb’s Ear is located on our property, as it makes a great TP substitute in an emergency provided it’s not winter, LOL. In fact, the kids know the plant so well now that when they see it they say, “Look! Toilet paper!” 🙂
I have never experienced a severe weather disaster – though there was a close call in ’98. The ice storm of that year has become legendary in these parts. We personally experienced minor power outages, but others – especially those in nearby rural areas – experienced days and even weeks without power. Multiple community efforts were launched in an effort to keep people warm, clean, and fed. Billy Graham even made it known that he was praying for us. Close as that call was, it didn’t really hit home to me as the type of thing that might actually impact us personally. I don’t think I have it in me to follow all of your suggestions, but I’ll start with a few. Thanks for the wake-up call.
A start is better than no start, my friend. Ruth, you’ve grown SO much in the last few years – keep up the awesome work!
I’m thankful that we didn’t have snow storm this December because last year we had. It was like the worst ever. Because of that experience, we are always prepared. I actually have a backup heating source just in case when needed. The tips and products you shared are really helpful. Thanks Laurie.
I’m so very glad to hear that, Jayson!! Being prepared makes a world of difference, doesn’t it?
This is some really good advice Laurie. I know here in TN we had some crazy winter weather that we hadn’t seen in years. Being prepared and knowing your options is critical.
Seeing the beautiful picture with all the snow made me homesick for Michigan 🙂
Happy new year to you and your family!!
Hi Laura Beth! Yes, people don’t quite get the magnitude of this type of disaster until they experience one. Living in the country now, I really appreciate the value in being prepared. The few times we were without power/propane here were super eye-opening. Happy new year to you too! Here’s to a wildly successful 2016!
Wow! That snow does not look welcoming at all. I’m not a fan of winters at all and I prefer to stay indoors during rainy days too, so snow and ice storms are definitely something I want to prepare for by leaving the country 🙂
But on a more serious note, I think it’s most important to stock up on food and fuel supplies because you never know what kind of trouble the next weather disaster will bring along.
This is really good advice Laurie and something that everyone should think about. Just look at the weather over here on this side of the pond at the moment! The flooding is horendous!
I really feel for those folk as in the late 1970s my parents lost almost everything due to flooding. My father was very ill at the time and my mother managed somehow to carry him upstairs to eventually be rescued by rowing boat. They mangaged to keep each other’s spirits up whislt waiting, and praying, and even had a good laugh over the fact that the police officer rowing the small boat was named PC Haddock!
Yes, I’ve read about that – how horrible! What a great story about your parents. So glad all turned out okay and that they were able to find humor amidst what I’m sure were scary circumstances. Thanks for sharing!
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