Usually I write about food and recipes on Mondays, but what with Frankenstorm bearing down on the lovely state of Maryland this afternoon, I thought I’d share our preparations (some practical, others maybe not
at all as much, but they make me feel better). Here are a couple of prevention measures we’ve picked up from the crazy weather we all deal with now.
1. The most practical prevention we learned after Isabel last year was to clear the basement floor of anything that is not plastic or that will be a disaster to clean up when soaking wet (in case the the basement floods).
Don’t be jealous of our gorgeous basement. While I was gone at a wedding this weekend, D found time after his twelve hour day (he works in emergency management) to clear up anything that would be potentially yucky in a flooded basement – drop cloths, cardboard boxes of ornaments, etc. His dad and I had a blast cleaning up after our sump pump stopped working during a courtesy-of-Isabel power outage last year, so that’s our attempt to avoid it this time around.
2. Which brings me to tip #2. Shop vacs are your best friend.
Here you see ours ready to perform its magical sucking up of tropical storm water. Last year it was buried behind many other various and sundry basement inhabitants (Christmas tree stands, ornaments, painting supplies, lacrosse gear) but it now waits in an easy-to-access place of honor. Once again, hopefully it won’t come to that, but if it does, it will be relatively easy compared to last time.
3. I prepared a “go kit” yesterday. A go kit implies a need to leave and go to a shelter, but really you should have one in your vehicle and your home, for “shelter in place” situations when you can’t (or shouldn’t) leave your home (like right now).
Here’s a list of what you should have ready in your kit. The rule of thumb is you should be able to be self-sustaining, without power, for 96 hours (four days). We have plenty of non-perishable food, a can opener (super important), water, batteries, candles and matches in a waterproof container, re-chargeable flashlights, a first aid kid, blankets, pillows, pet food, other practical odds and ends like duct tape and a mini-tool kit, and a laminated list of emergency (police, fire, power) and family contact numbers. Optimally, I won’t need to burrow in a (hopefully) non-flooding basement, but should the need arise, I’m ready to go. Which brings me to tip #4.
4. Create a space that is relatively cozy to hunker down in.
I stored a bunch more candles, extra pillows and blankets, flashlights, etc. Not being able to leave the basement is, of course, worst case scenario (especially if we get water in), but if the wind were to get so violent that windows were an issue, I’d be ready. And maybe I wouldn’t be thinking about it if the situation got that bad, but it really makes me feel better to have some nick-nacks around that I like – dried flowers, pretty pillows and a candelabra.
Of course I followed other practical tips like ~
1. filling up all the pitchers in my house with water (by the time I got to the store, there was literally no bottled water, but why buy it when I can get it out of the tap?) You should account for at least one gallon per person in your household per day,
2. filling up the bath tub in the event water stops running (to be able to flush toilets),
3. charging up cell phones and computers fully,
4. using as much refrigerated and frozen food as possible in case the power goes out.
If you’re on the East Coast, good luck with Sandy!