Although Howard County was lucky to miss the majority of the devastation from hurricane Sandy, there are still winter storms that hit almost every year. While mild in comparison, these storms can still knock out the power and bring in feet of snow, keeping you housebound in Columbia for a day or maybe even several. It is important to make sure you have stocked up on you emergency supplies so you and your family have everything you need for any storm that should hit.
If you do not use wood as your main source of heat, but you have a fireplace, make sure you have plenty of wood ready to go that is easy to get to. Having a toasty fire when the electricity is out can make snowed in days almost like a mini vacation with your family. If you do not have any wood heat, consider investing in a generator to use with a small electric space heater or some other type of alternate heat source.
Emergency Food Supplies
All though it is unlikely you will be stranded for too long, it is always good to have an emergency supply kit that has water, canned goods and other non-perishable items. Keep these together in a tote, with enough food and water for your family for at least 4 days.
Flashlights and lanterns are the best option in a power outage for light. While candles are pretty, they are also a fire hazard and may be unsafe as a light source. Keep a flashlight in all your rooms. You never know where you will be when the power goes out. Make sure you have plenty of extra batteries as well.
One of the worst parts of a storm can be the loss of electricity, but it can also help create wonderful memories. With the power out, families can get away from the TV and computers and spend some time together. Pull out the board games, cards and dice and enjoy the time together without all the technological distractions.
Stock Up Items
On top of food, water and batteries, here are some other items to consider buying to add to your storm kit:
– Self powered radio and flashlight. Batteries can eventually run out so these can be handy little devices.
– Rock salt for driveways and sidewalks
– Can opener, the old fashioned kind
– Charcoal or propane for your grill to cook on. However, NEVER use a charcoal grill inside. A propane camp stove is best for indoors.
– Medications need to be kept filled, with a week or more available at all times.
– Pet food and supplies should also be plentiful
Never assume because you have a generator that you will not need some of these items. Generators can fail and run out of fuel. You should have a back up plan and supplies just in case.
Those of us here at Budget Maids want to make sure all our neighbors in Columbia stay safe through any storms that hit our area. Taking inventory now and planning ahead can make the next storm easier to weather when it hits.