– by: Carrie A. Blakley
With the cold Winter months upon us (yes, I used the W word), we need to really start taking stock of our stocks. Food, wood, emergency and pet stocks. While many folks up here have become used to the power going out every time the wind sneezes the wrong way, or when ever the local squirrels have a tree party that involves power lines (on any level), most folks get the town’s generator power relatively soon (read that as: ‘before Hell freezes over, and we can float Noah’s Ark down Main St’). That being said, even with power, we still have mud slides, land slides, mountains sliding into the river, hills sliding into the ravines and the over all laziness of the boulders, which tend to take naps in the middle of the highway whenever it suits them to do so.
If you haven’t already, prepare for these power outages, and other such problems, now. First, and foremost, play it safe. Make sure you have a good escape route you, and your family members, can take in case it becomes necessary. We have very active bears right now (no kidding, right?) in the area, but be rest assured, they are not the only native members of this local tribe of ours that are active. At this point in the year, every living creature (including humans) is preparing for the long winter months ahead. They too are stocking up, so be aware of this when you think about keeping coolers handy to store your cold items outside. If you have no choice but to take that route, make sure the coolers are locked and anchored to something a large animal can not move, even with a back hoe and a lot of leverage.
Keep a land line phone handy (if you don’t already use one regularly), in cases of emergency, or to contact friends and relatives to let them know your situation. Keep a phone book, and an address book, near the land line phone. No power means that your cell phones, cordless phones and computer systems will not be able to recharge that quickly, even if you’re able to use a car battery for charging purposes. Be safe at all times. Do not risk illness, just for a can of soup. Check the expiration dates on your food items, especially canned meats. If they’re beyond the expiration date, do not take chances…throw the items out, and replace them with new items. You’ll also want to be sure your pets are well taken care of. Add extra blankets to the dog/cat beds. If they have medical conditions that require daily treatment, stock up if possible on these treatments. If it’s a snow storm that knocks out the power, that also means that you might not be able to easily get out of your home. Also make sure that your own medical needs are met (if you have an). Talk to your doctor about the possibility of a power outage, and see if there is an alternative treatment that you can use during those outages. This especially holds true if your medication requires cooling/refrigeration (as is the case with some Diabetics).
Finally, keep a running list of the items you will need to keep on hand. Batteries, lamp oil, candles, working flashlights, matches, fire starters, wood, kindling…whatever it is that you will need, make a list, check it twice and when you buy them, buy them thrice. Remember, during power outages, our emergency services are stretched beyond their capacity. You will need to be able to keep yourselves as healthy, and warm, as possible during the outages. When an outage occurs, unplug anything possible, so that a potential power surge can not damage your electronics. This is also true for a brown out condition. So, be prepared, and don’t wait to start stocking up. You can do it! Have a warm, and safe, week everyone!