Long before the lights go out and the wind starts blowing is the time to make sure you are ready for any storm, heavy rain, power outage, etc. To do that, we examine what you need for the basics:
- Water: 1 gallon of water, per person, per day and the same for your pets. This is only water for drinking and cooking. Bathing will have to wait or be added to this consideration.
- Food: How will you eat if the power is out? Cold cuts and cold cereal? Or cook over the camp stove? Either way you will need coolers and ice. The newer coolers keep food frozen or cold longer than in the past. Still, once food thaws it must be cooked immediately. Without adequate cooling food will spoil quickly. Consider boxed or canned milk (which must be kept cold after opening). Have the pots and pans you are willing to use on a camp stove. Also, what can you cook this way? No oven?
- Staying cool at night while you sleep: There are few portable generators out there that will run a home air conditioner. The whole house generators are VERY expensive to run (they require a lot of gas) to run your AC. Do you have screens on your windows? Is there only one window in your bedroom? Have you considered a portable AC unit? Usually running on 110 Volts?
- Lighting: Do you have portable, electric lamps (or gas or propane), flashlights and batteries?
- First Aid: What kind of first aid kit do you have? A basic one for small cuts? How about small burns? What are you capable of handling?
These are the very basics of what you need to have to start getting ready. Realize if the power goes off for more than a week you are going to have large problems. Cold and frozen food will thaw by then. If you have a generator you will need a strategy to keep the refrigerators and freezers going, but not 24 hours a day (takes a lot of gas-from where? Powers off!). And the most important thing is this: If you don’t know how to use it BEFORE the event it is a steep learning curve once the event occurs. Also, one is none and two is one is a motto that mirrors “Murphy’s Law” that says “anything that can happen, will.” This means things break when you least expect them to. So have a backup!
Generator safety: Do you know your generator MUST be run outside? The carbon monoxide will kill you if you run the generator in a garage (even if the garage door is open-any restriction will cause carbon monoxide build up in the house-don’t tempt fate!). But then how do you keep the generator from getting stolen? Because that WILL happen if it is outside and not locked up very well! Do you know how to hook it up to your house? You MUST disconnect your main breaker, shut off all of your heavy amp-draw breakers BEFORE connecting your generator to your home! If this sounds Greek to you, call an electrician that is experienced in these things now! When you try to do it the first time is not the time to find out that you’re not sure what to do.
Chainsaw safety: Before buying a chainsaw (or generator) you must gain some experience. Google chainsaw fails and you will see what I mean. Chainsaws can kill you so many ways without cutting you, it isn’t even unusual! Ladders can kill you as you fall off, the tree could hit you, etc. You will need 2 cycle oil, gas, bar oil, extra chains (or know how to properly sharpen the chain-not easy, gloves, hearing protection, eye protection, a helmet and chainsaw bibs-so you don’t cut your leg open! You may quickly realize that it is cheaper to hire someone (and safer). Also, if a tree branch is in a bind (under pressure) cutting it with a chain saw can cause it to either bind up and pinch the chain saw trapping it, or unload it and cause the branch to strike you, your kid, or your dog. Either way you need to know what to look for and how to do it before you go running a chainsaw.
If you need specifics, consider contacting me for a quote. If it is a basic question I may just email you a quick response. Good luck and God Bless!
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