Welcome Instapundit Readers! Please note that I do not claim to be a preparedness expert, and would like to encourage your thoughts and comments, particularly anything specific to your neck of the woods!
Two days ago, my town was ravaged by a massive storm. Trees were ripped out of the ground throughout the city, and thousands of us were without power for long periods of time. It was ugly, though my community dodged a bullet since, despite the number of trees down, remarkably few were hurt.
Also luckily, the power outage at my place was from 10:30 pm to about 8:30 am, a time when most people are doing some sleeping. However, it still reminded me of just how important it is to be prepared for situations like this.
I’m not talking about going full on prepper, though that’s not a bad way to be prepared for a nasty storm, but I am talking about the basic preparedness that even the United States government says you should take on.
Men, it’s in your roles as both provider and protector that you should take it upon yourself to make sure you’re prepared for such events. However, I will also say that this isn’t just a man thing. Everyone should be prepared for disaster.
First, the most likely thing you’ll have to deal with is power outages.
In the day time, power outages are a mild annoyance, but as they go on, they can become an issue. First and foremost, you need light. Many folks like the idea of a propane lantern for camping, and they work great for that but do not use one in your house. It can kill you.
Instead, I used a combination of oil lamps, battery operated lanterns, and candles. (I’m assuming you already have the ubiquitous flashlights floating around the house.)
The oil lamps and candles come with a fire risk, so do not leave them unattended and have a fire extinguisher handy. Battery lanterns are, of course, perfectly safe. However, I do recommend that you have plenty of batteries on hand for obvious reasons.
While it wasn’t an issue for us, the cold could have been a problem, so make sure you have plenty of blankets on hand to keep warm. If you have a fireplace or a wood stove, even better. My next home will have one of the two, just so it’s not a concern.
Next, you may need to eat during the time the power is down. Sure, if power is still up in some places, you might be able to order a pizza, but don’t count on that.
If you’ve got a wood stove, a fireplace, or even a gas stove, you’re probably good to go. The wood stove and fireplace will probably need cast iron cookware and practice before you need it, though, so don’t forget about that. Luckily, your gas stove should be fine.
But what if you don’t have one of those?
Camp stoves exist, and if weather permits, you can use those on the porch to prepare supper. Like the lanterns, if used in the house the possibility for carbon monoxide poisoning exists. You can do it if you have proper ventilation, and you’re also using it for a shorter duration, but I’ll be honest here. I had a close encounter with carbon monoxide ages ago, and I’m more than a little paranoid about the stuff. Personally, I lean more towards having stuff I can eat without cooking if I can’t cook outside. If you do use a camp stove indoors, that’s on you.
Obviously, you will also need food. For power outages, if you keep your fridge and freezer closed, they’ll generally hold onto the cold. After 10 hours of no power, we had nothing in the freezer thaw and everything in the fridge was still cold. So minimize trips to the fridge as much as possible.
I recommend having some foods that can be heated up and served. Dried foods like beans and rice can be cooked, but they require a fair bit of fuel for whatever you’re using. If you have plenty, then no worries. Otherwise, I’d stick with canned meals like beef stew, chili, or even canned pasta. No, they may not be healthy, but eating is the most important thing right now.
Those are the big things but don’t forget about the small stuff. For me, I have an inner ear condition that causes dizziness from time to time, especially under conditions like near total darkness. We normally have a light on somewhere so I can get a bit of that light and not have a problem, but with the power out, that’s an issue. That means this is something I need to account for and plan accordingly.
Of course, if you’ve got the money, a generator will take care of all of your problems. Fire it up and have power for your whole house. Unfortunately, they’re expensive and most folks have a hard time justifying the expense.
Now, this isn’t a comprehensive list, just something to get you started. I recommend every man be ready for such emergencies. After all, small stuff like this will happen from time to time, so make the necessary adjustments so it’s nothing more than a mild annoyance.