Originally published on 10/28/12 but republishing because there’s a winter weather emergency declared in the DC Metro area again.
Something’s coming our way.
Something big. Something named Sandy who is bringing with her high winds, ‘astronomical’ tides, and rain like we’ve not seen in decades.
I’m trying hard–hard!–not to get swept up in the hype. I’m trying hard to maintain my calm, find my zen, and be that calm, cool, and collected mom I strive to be. But I am having a really hard time.
I’m way nervous.
My husband and I failed miserably a few snowstorms ago with our immature lack of preparedness. We really did.
But we’re older now, and a wee bit wiser.
And though my husband is playing Joe-Cool now, I, too, am slowly finding my calm–only as we seriously prepare our family for this impending weather emergency. This collision of fifteen storms, the ideal situation–the Perfect Storm–which will be arriving shortly over my very own home and making her way up the coast to my extended family, my sisters, parents, Nana, and friends.
Here’s the skinny. . .
- How to Prepare Your Family for a Weather Emergency (especially in the DC Metro area): I say, ‘especially in the DC Metro area because we have a tendency to totally freak out over here.
I mean, like totally freak out.
Like here’s the water aisle in my grocery store at 6:30pm on the Friday before the Sunday middle-of-the-night storm kind of freak out:
So it’s easy to fall into the hype. Plus, we almost always lose power–for anywhere between hours to days. And way back when–before we had kids–and we had fewer cares in the world–no power was fun. It was cool. It was . . . romantic, even.
But now? It’s so not fun, it’s not even a little bit funny.
So here are 10 things we’ve done–and we usually do now–to prepare for any type of weather emergency, be it hurricane, blizzard, tornado, Perfect Storm, whatever:
1. Store water. We buy water–about 2-3 cases, and we fill our water bottles, our pitchers, small sports coolers. And sometimes–if the tub’s clean, we’ll fill it, too.
2. Find ice & gather coolers. I’ll bag up the ice from our ice-maker, filling a few gallon ziploc bags. And (thanks to my smart sister, Mary) today is the first day I’ve filled quart bags of water, flattened them out, and froze them. That way, they’ll fit nicely into a cooler if need be. Because we don’t have a generator, if we lose power, we’ll have coolers close to save what food we have in the fridge–our house fridge and our garage one.
3. Gather towels and rags. In a big basket on our lower-level floor, we keep these guys close because, well, you never know. And buckets. We grab buckets, too.
4. Charge devices. This should be numero uno, I know, but sure–everything’s charged. Our battery packs. Our re-chargeable radio (we quite frankly love and want to marry the one my parents got us last year–an Eton Self-Powered Digital Flashlight Radio that is an all-in-one-dream. Solar powered, flashlight and cell phone charger). We fill our gas tanks because we can always charge our phones in cars if need be. We make sure our extra gas can is filled. My pal Leticia covers just about everything you need to ‘digitally’ prepare for a weather emergency–it’s totally worth reading.
5. Cook food. Any meats in the freezer, I cook. Eggs in the fridge, I boil. We bake cupcakes and cookies–if we have time–because why not? Might as well have sweets if we have no power. And we gather matches because our gas stove can still be used if we can light it. I grab plastic forks and knives, napkins, paper plates, and garbage bags. I make coffee and keep a container of it in the fridge.
Baking helps–in any situation–
and having protein to grab if need be makes me feel more prepared.
6. Prepare house. We try to do the wash (who knows when we’ll be able to do it again?). We try to pick up toys & tidy things (who wants to be stuck in a dirty house?). We gather games, playing cards, craft supplies (who knows when we’ll see other people again?). We gather blankets, socks, sweatshirts, pillows, flipflops or boots–whatever we may need. We turn up the refrigerator to the highest setting to keep it cooler.
7. Prepare yard. Obvious, I know. But pulling in the yard furniture, placing it all either in the garage or under a tarp and against our house helps. We keep the area under our windows free and try to keep things low and flat. We cover our wood pile and clean gutters–my husband’s most favorite job in the world. He’ll go up on the roof and get all of the junk out of the gutters so that the rain will flow freely. Out of our gutters and down the drains properly.
8.Prepare kids. We try to keep it cool. We talk frankly and honestly about the situation, telling them the information they need to know and we do not–I repeat, do not–leave the news on the television. Not in this situation or ever. We think our kids are way too young for it, and though we read the newspaper with them every day, we really pick and choose what we cover. The hype of the storm on tv will do nothing but freak them out.
9.Prepare self. Mostly prepare me–I should say. If a storm’s a comin’, vain me will shower and do my hair because I know it will make me totally cranky to go without for several days. I’ll get myself into the ‘game’–I’ll finish up on my work so that I’m a little bit ahead instead of feeling behind and totally stressed out (even though I can’t control it). I’ll let all of our ‘game time‘ tickets fall to the wayside so the kids can fill up on electronics while I catch up.
10. Pray. Really. For sanity. For safety. For strength in any situation that may arise. For clarity and for thanks for all we have.
11. Relax. And try to have a little fun with it.
And that’s it. I’m sure I forgot a ton, but I’ve got some brownies in the oven and a load of wash to fold. And then the fun begins. . .
- FEMA’s Natural Disasters Resources
- CDC Natural Disaster Resources
- Take the Winter Preparedness Quiz and see how you compare to others
- Weather Channel Family Emergency Plan
- USDA Family Preparing for Emergency Safe Food Handling Information
Do you have a family tradition that helps you get through events like this, weather emergencies or something similar? Please do share them with me! I’m always up for learning more. Wishing everyone a safe trek through this weather emergency. . .
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