1. The Usual Stuff: Create an emergency kit that can be used in the event that you are without electricity for more than a few hours. When we built our kit, we purchased an emergency hand crank radio/flashlight combo. This one also has a cell phone charger which could be really helpful should the power be out for an extended about of time. (BTW, be sure your cell phones are fully charged before an expected storm reaches you.) Be sure to have a simple first aid kit that includes enough items for your family size. And of course you'll need a nice supply of flash lights and batteries. We try to have at least one flashlight per family member - children feel much better knowing they can carry their own flashlight around a darkened house. We love our battery-operated lantern because you can set it on a table and feel like you've got light in the room. Its also great cause it lets you sit around the lantern and play family board games that don't get played nearly enough. If you live where its cold, you'll want to collect some cozy blankets.
2. The Special Stuff:
FOOD: Once you've gathered some basics, you'll want to think specifically about your family. What will you eat and drink if the power is out? Realistically, most Americans would be just fine to live a day or two at home with the food they have on hand, but its nice to think ahead and be sure your family will be taken care of. If you are without power for more than a day, you may need to start eating from your fridge to avoid throwing out spoiled food (unless you've got a generator keeping your fridge cold). Stock-up on non-perishables that will be easy and safe for your family to eat. Try to choose items that your family will eat anyway, so that if an expected storm ends up passing by without causing much trouble, you won't have wasted money on food items you'll never use. Here's my short list of food items I've stock up on for this coming storm.
- Peanut butter
- Gluten-free bread (I bought a loaf since I wasn't sure I'd have time to bake homemade bread)
- Corn chips and salsa
- Fruit and Veggies - Think apples, grapes and carrot sticks which require no preparation.
- Cook some chicken: I thought I'd bake a few chicken breasts and stash them in the fridge. We can cut them in strips and make a cold chicken strip salad for dinner - no electricity needed.
- Canned goods such as baked beans and tuna
- A gallon of water - We have city water and don't anticipate loosing access to water, but it just seemed like the sensible thing to do (though one gallon of water isn't going to get a family of 5 very far - ha!).
- Almond milk - the kind in the box is shelf stable. I got a few because even my non-allergic family can drink this.
- Gluten-Free Cookies - Since this storm is about a day away, I still have time to bake a batch of cookies. I'm betting that will bring a smile to my kids' faces when I pull out the cookies during that family game time I'm hoping for. You could also buy some store-bought cookies like Kinnikinnick sandwich cookies (yummy!).
MEDICATION: If you have family members who require medication, be sure you have enough of a supply on hand.
If you anticipate the need to evacuate, you'll need to bring along allergy-friendly foods. Most of the things on the above list would be great to pack in a go-bag if you think you'll need to leave your home due to a storm.This is by no means a complete list, but hopefully it will get you started on preparing in case you loose power or have to evacuate due to weather-related emergencies. What other ideas do you have? Please share them so we can all help each other to be prepared.
Here are a few more articles to help you think about preparing for emergencies: Kids With Food Allergies Emergency Preparedness, FEMA's Are You Ready Guide, and American Red Cross Plan.
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