My dad is the master of preparing for disaster. He can out prepare the Boy Scouts. For the most part, I picked up that trait, but mixed with a splash of procrastination (that was decidedly not from him). Last year before Hurricane Irene, I listened to his advice about filling our bathtubs so we would have water if the power went out, but I put it off a bit too long. After 4 days of filling up water jugs wherever we we happened to be showering that day and carrying them home, you can be sure I remembered to fill up the tubs before Sandy.
I also heeded his advice to have cash on hand- and once again, glad I did, with so many places not able to process electronic payments for a while. We had our batteries, did the laundry, and filled up all of our gas tanks. My daughter questioned us about why it was necessary for ALL of us to have full gas tanks; if we needed gas to flee the storm to Ohio, would we really need to take separate cars? (she’s quite the comedienne) But who would have thought it would be difficult to get gas?
All in all I was pretty pleased with our preparations, but there were a few things I wished I had thought of:
#1 Sterno– Monday night when it was still storming, it wasn’t a good idea to go outside and use the grill. Heating up the leftover chicken on tin foil over a candle crossed my mind, but we wondered if it would taste like Yankee Candle “Home Sweet Home.” I remembered some leftover sterno and thought it would do the trick. But after searching high and low, I realized I must have used it all up. Add that to my shopping list to keep for next time.
#2 Battery operated carbon monoxide detector– I have a plug in one (a gift from Dad), which does absolutely no good when the power is out. Although we didn’t use anything like a kerosene heater or generator, I still was afraid our propane fireplace was poisoning us (even though it has never set off our plug in alarm, you never know). An early morning run out to True Value took care of that, but it was the last one. Should have had that ahead of time.
#3 Tent– This one I picked up from a woman in the CCP Clubhouse while waiting for a turn in the shower. She set up a tent in her house, laid a blanket over the top, and they all slept in the tent. The tent kept the warm air inside and they didn’t have to sleep in multiple layers of clothing. Genius I thought.
We had it easy in our neighborhood. Sure, it was inconvenient to live without electricity for almost a week. But our house is still standing, our loved ones are safe, and the only thing close to damage we had was our cat lighting his tail on fire (he decided to check out our candles and when I shooed him away, he turned around and swiped his fluffy tail in the flame. Of course cats run when you try to catch them, so we had a few scary moments chasing him to make sure the fire was out, then a laugh because he never felt a thing). The real victims of this storm were those who lost their lives, their homes, and their loved ones. So many are still suffering and need our help and prayers.
Still, this storm really made me think about how dependent we are on electricity, and with storms like these seemingly coming more frequently, we could be better prepared.
What are the top preparations you forgot to remember and the things you were glad you did? Please share them in the comments so we can all learn from each other.