Speaking on the phone yesterday with a (non AT) co-worker in New Hampshire, she told me from her rotary phone that her village of 1,100 had been without power since the early hours of last Friday morning. Living on a pump system, her family is also without water. What I heard from her over and over was how although she wasn't fully prepared for something like this, she did have several gallons of water saved for emergency needs, many cans of soup (thankfully she has a gas stove), batteries, candles, and plenty of wood for their wood burning fireplace. With a sense of humor in tact, she likened the experience to camping in the mountains, and was taking the time to enjoy her family without distractions of daily modern life...
I realized, however, that my home is far from prepared for long-term power outages. While different regions (AT:SF and AT:LA created lists) of the country may prioritize different items, in general no power is no power.
Since my co-worker's village is entirely powerless, this also means that the corner store is empty: what little they had on the shelves was gone during the first day or two. No debit or credit cards accepted (cash only or bartering possible); she also couldn't get gas and didn't have enough in her car to get to the next town over, 30 miles away.
Living in cities does not make us immune to isolation and going without, so it's time I finally get on the ball. We're starting with:
- Various battery sizes (check your flashlights, radios, etc. for which you need)
- Canned soup, beans, etc.
- Dried foods
- As many gallons of water as possible
- Toilet paper
- First Aid supplies
- Any special daily items needed for infants, seniors or pets in your family
There's a lot more recommended by the CDC for Emergency Preparedness (blankets, books, copies of identification), but we think getting the basics in order is a good starting point.
More on topic from AT:
- Self Reliance: Do You Have a Food Storage? (AT:CHI)
- Emergency Disaster Home Kit (AT:LA)
- Emergency Preparedness Kits (AT:SF)
- Best Solar Powered Emergency Gadgets (Unplggd)
- Preparing Your Pet for Disaster (AT:SF)
(Image via National Snow and Ice Data Center)