Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Preparing for Irene

Hurricane Season Is Ramping Up
Looks like Irene is getting ready to sock it to us here along the coast of North Carolina so we're bracing ourselves and reviewing what we've got in our emergency stash. We've been hit before and have survived having no power for an entire week so we've learned a few things.

For those who are also getting ready for disasters, here are a few tips.
Before You Lose Power
  • Do the laundry, now. LOL, this is one thing you don't really think about, but becomes a pain in the patootie if you're not prepared. I like to change the sheets, collect all the dirty towels, and catch up on all the laundry because who knows when you'll get to do another load if you lose electricity? (Besides, you may need all those towels to sop up the water...)
  • Fill every container you have with water.
  • Water all your indoor plants
  • Make sure you have everything fully charged, e.g. cell phones, etc.
  • Get a "regular" cheap telephone if you have land lines. We have an old 1960's phone that we use for informing the power company that we have no electricity, or calling for help when no other phones work. You can often pick these up really inexpensively at yard sales, thrift stores, or even at your local "green box mall" (i.e. the dumpsters).
  • Make sure you have lanterns, flashlights, etc, and fresh batteries. We have a rechargeable LED lantern that is fantastic, as well as kerosene lamps.
  • Determine how you're going to cook food, i.e. if you have grills, etc, make sure you have propane, charcoal, or wood. Hibachis are great when you have no electricity.
  • Worst case latrene--the bucket. If for some reason you can't flush the toilets with dirty water you saved, then make sure you have a 5-gallon bucket and some heavy-duty trash bags. Line the bucket with a trashbag and use that. When you need to, you can lift out the bag, seal it, and dispose of it appropriately.
  • Have some tarps for covering openings, e.g. gaps in the roof or blown-out windows.
  • Duct tape.
  • Food that doesn't need heat to prepare. We like canned chicken because I can make chicken salad. Hard boil a few eggs. They last a long time in the fridge and are great for a quickie breakfast. Another emergency food I like to make is quiche. Yep. It makes a terrific emergency food and because you can make it out of anything that suits your fancy, making a few small ones means some variety in what might become a wacky diet. I also stock up on fresh fruits like apples and oranges. You might as well use this as your opportunity to eat healthier.
  • Speaking of food, prepare a few "pocket stews" if you have a grill or way to heat them. Fill a square of foil with hamburger, onions, chunks of potatoes, carrots and whatever other veggies you like (I like parsnips) and top with ketchup. These are great to pull out and plop on the fire/charcoal/grill as they give you a nice "meal in one" and you can eat right out of the foil. Almost no cleanup required.
  • Get packs of foil and plastic wrap. They are useful (see above).
  • Paper plates, plastic utensils, plastic or paper cups--anything that won't add to the "cleaning" burden or require you to use some of your precious water to clean.
  • Get some of those foamy strips from the hardware store (not the adhesive kind, though). During the storm, you can poke them in around windows, etc. to cut down on the leaking. They won't damage anything and you can pull them back out after it stops. I like the long rolls that are "rope-like" (I can't for the life of me think what they are called right now) and about 1/4" to 1/2" in diameter as they can be wedged in around windows perfectly with a butter knife (so you don't accidentally gouge anything. Like you.)
After You Lose Power
  • When you wash your face, wash dishes, etc, with that precious water you've saved, keep the dirty water. You can use it to manually flush toilets as well as water plants (if they need it after being nearly drowned by the storm).
  • Put a few dark colored containers filled with water outside. Let the sun heat them for you. It'll be nice to have a warm "spit bath" after a day or two, believe me. Although I often just settle for cold, room temperature water.
  • Pull out the old board games like Monopoly or Scrabble. Use this as an opportunity to have fun!
That's it! Other than this one last piece of advice: losing electricity may turn out to be the mini-vacation you need, so take advantage of it. Enjoy yourself, go birding, play cards, read a book--it's a gift, not a curse. Laugh, because what else are you going to do?


Beth Caudill said...

You forgot candles, lighters, and books. :)

Thanks for the laundry tip. I hadn't thought about that yet. I had hubby check the batteries because we recently had some power outages that we needed the lights for. So I wanted to make sure we had plenty of spares.

Amy said...

You're right! Those, too!
And I forgot to mention that women may want to invest in a jar of Noxema. It's great for washing your face with just tissues. It's even good for washing your arms after gardening. I'm really allergic to a lot of stuff in the garden and when I come in, if I wash my arms with Noxema, it keeps me from getting hives so often.

Lots of good tips out there, I'm sure. Hope people will add more in their comments, etc.