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Killing the Chaos Monster: Prepare for the Storm

Live in Kentucky for long and you learn the ways of the storms. They’re pretty regular here. We aren’t quite in tornado alley, but we aren’t far off.  A few years ago through my LittleMissKnowitAll website I heard hundreds of stories of people who lost the entire contents of their freezers and much of their stockpile due to the power outages after the remnants of Hurricane Ike blew through.  I’ve survived tornadoes, and lived through a major hurricane and cleanup (Hugo in ’89).  Not to mention JD wants to be a meteorologist when he grows up–so we are very aware of what the weather is doing all the time! They are predicting major storms in our area again today. Using terms like Derecho (also known as the Land Hurricane) and talking about the high risk of tornadoes. In other words, it is time to prepare! To help in your preparations, I’ve got a few prep tips that will help you keep the chaos of the big storm to a minimum.
    1. Go fill any empty space you have in your fridge and freezers. Take pitchers, soda bottles, milk jugs–whatever you have on hand–and fill them with water. Ziploc bags work as well. Stick them into any empty space in your freezer. If power does go out, your freezer will keep an extra day or two because it is full. A full freezer stays cold much, much longer. Same with the fridge. And if the power doesn’t go out? Your electric bill will thank you, as a full freezer uses less electricity! I just filled mine with bottles of Powerade and Vitamin Water I had sitting in my stockpile. As a bonus, the water in your freezer will give you clean water for a few days if you need it.
    2. Plug in and charge any and all electronic entertainment devices!  If the power should go out for several hours–or even several days–you will want your cell phone, ipods, cameras, laptops and other electronic devices to entertain the troops.  Find the DS, the Leapsters, the rechargeable batteries and charge them now before the power is out.  If you’re in an area where power does frequently go out for days at a time with big storms, I suggest also charging old cell phones as well.  You can swap the sim card from one phone to the other, when the newer phone dies.
    3. Throw a meal in the crockpot now, in case power goes out later.
    4. Find your weather radio, put batteries in it, and plug it in.  Turn it on, and be listening for those warnings.  Tornadoes are nothing to mess with.
    5. Find your coolers and cold packs, clean them out and get them ready. Just in case!
    6. Do you have alternative fuels or cooking appliances?  If you have a gas grill, is the tank full and ready to cook on?  Do you have camping stoves and fuel?
    7. Where are your flashlights and candles?  Stockpilers–where are all those Glade and Air Wick candles?  (You know ya got them!)
    8. If you’ve got kids, what can you do to alleviate nerves and fears when the weather does strike? We keep blankets and pillows in a chest in our basement, next to our sleeper sofa. We will often pull the bed out and pop movies into the DVD player, snuggle up and watch movies while the storm rages outside!

A little prep will go a long way in keeping the chaos at bay when storms do strike. Having a stockpile of food and household goods really helps in times like this!  There’s a long list of things that make me feel better when emergencies threaten:

    • I know I have plenty of food on hand, no matter what.  We love to backpack and camp, so I know that we can make food for ourselves pretty easily for several weeks out of our stockpile.
    • I have a lifetime supply of (free) condensed milk.  No one will be dairy deficient around here!
    • I have a good supply of medicines, bandages, and basic health goods.
    • We’ve got a good supply of personal care products, cleaning products (cleanup after the storm) and household goods to last us a while!
 Before big storms I also go through the closets and garage and pull out some low-tech entertainment devices–board games, puzzles, art kits, my knitting loom, and some favorite books for all of us.

What are some of your tips for preparing or surviving big storms?

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