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Ready, Set, Prep!

Take a few minutes now to make sure your home and car kits are up to date before you need them.

Remember those things you said you wanted to do after the last bad storm? Do you still have that list of items you were definitely going to take care of way before the next storm so you would be ready? It’s easy for emergency preparations to take a backseat to everyday chores and the demands of work and family. It’s not too late to get the items you need so your family will be prepared for the next storm. Setting aside an hour or so can make big changes in how you and your family “weather” the next storm. Small items  can make a huge difference in your comfort level and possible survival.

One thing I have been meaning to do is buy spare parts for our generator and chain saw. Things like spark plugs, oil, filters and other parts are a necessity to have on hand because when the power goes out, they disappear off the shelves. Running a gas generator requires frequent oil changes. If you don’t change the oil, your generator will seize up and quit working. Here is an article with great tips for generator maintenance.

Find the User Guide for your chain saw and generator and look up the parts. If you can’t easily find your Guide, go out to your garage and find the manufacturer and model of your equipment. You can use the internet to find part information very quickly. Don’t wait. This will take you about 10 minutes! Make a list and go to your neighborhood hardware store and purchase three of everything you need.

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Some interesting facts about hurricane season can be found in this article from The Weather Channel online. The average date of the first Atlantic hurricane is August 10 (1966-2009 averages) An “average” Atlantic hurricane season (1981-2010) would still deliver the following after Sep. 7:

  • 7 more named storms
  • 4 hurricanes
  • 2 major hurricanes

Put another way, 61% of all Atlantic named storms form from September through the end of the season.

While you’re thinking of it, get the basic disaster supplies together. Check here for more info. Items include:

  • cash in small bills, ATMs don’t work when the power is out
  • generator
  • chain saw
  • important documents such as insurance policies and bank statements
  • food storage (tips and lists)
  • water-1 gallon per person per day
  • bleach and liquid dropper, use to sterilize water
  • fire extinguisher
  • paper plates, napkins, utensils
  • batteries
  • rechargeable batteries and charger
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
  • flashlights/lanterns/headlamps
  • matches/lighters
  • manual can opener
  • duct tape, my favorite brand-Duck Tape!
  • gas for cars or generators
  • work gloves
  • whistle
  • siphon
  • power cords, make sure to get the heavy duty kind-find great info here
  • first aid kit including any necessary medications
  • fire escape ladder
  • plastic sheeting and dust mask
  • pet food
  • solar chargers for cell phones and small electronics
  • infant formula and diapers
  • personal hygiene items
  • games, books and a couple decks of cards

Other items (not normally included in emergency kit lists) we love in an extended power outage are:

  • tv antenna, purchased ours from Radio Shack, great to have a few channels to watch
  • wood and a fire pit or outdoor fire place, nice to have s’mores, etc.
  • solar flashlights and solar lamps, easy to charge outside and no battery changes!
  • solar battery charger
  • fire starter
  • small, portable electric heater
  • hand warmers and instant cold packs
  • electric blankets
  • hot water bottles-put them in your kids’ bed when it’s cold outside and they will love it, so will you!
  • corded phone for your house. phones still work when the power is out but not the cordless ones.
  • bathtub aqua pod, single use food grade plastic that can store water for you to drink
  • transfer switch, place your essentials on one sub-panel and then just plug your generator into that, no more getting out the extension cords

Items to include in a general emergency car kit is available here.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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