Cold Weather Emergency Preparedness

The first weeks of 2018 have created a range of cold weather issues which highlight the changing nature of the environment in the 21st-century. There are a number of steps that can be taken by a family looking to become prepared for the increasing problems with extremes of cold weather seen from parts of the Deep South to the most northerly regions of the U.S. over recent months.
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Thundersnow and Power Outages

Just 4 days after my post, Is It Spring Already?,  we had snow, thundersnow to be exact. Have you ever heard of thundersnow? It is simply a thunderstorm with snow instead of rain. It is not a common thing. This one was a doozie! The thundering was loud and plentiful and the lightening was bright! Have you ever heard that 10 days after thundersnow there will be another snow? I always have. I guess we will wait and see.

It has been raining pretty much non-stop since Monday. Everything everywhere had standing water. Yards, field, and some roads were looking like lakes. Thursday afternoon the wind was really strong. It had the potential for some serious downed trees and power outages. The lights flickered a few times. So, I filled the upstairs garden tub with water and told everyone to charge all of their electronic devices now in case the power went out.  We had one flicker long enough that the TV did not come back on by itself.

Then, Thursday evening’s temperatures dropped changing the rain over to sleet and quickly to snow. It was some of the biggest flakes I have seen in a long time. Several of my facebook friends within 30 miles or less were reporting power outages. Luckily, we never had any power outages this time, but it is good to be prepared.

Our primary source of heat is an electric heat pump. The home is also equipped with older electric baseboard heat that we do not use due to the lack of efficiency.  I do check them once a year to make sure they are working in case we have to rely on them if there is ever an issue with the heat pump. I did rely on them for a couple of weeks about 6 years ago when the heat pump went out in February and had to be replaced. The power bill tripled from just 2 weeks of use! Still it was nice to have a backup and much better than freezing.

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First Aid Kit and Organization

We have been following A Bowl Full of Lemons weekly blog series Emergency Preparedness in 8 Weeks. Each week we have tailored the tasks for our needs a bit. Additionally, there have been somethings that we had already done in our prior preparations that we simply just skipped. But I believe this is a nicely structured step by step process for someone who does not know where to start. This is not an extensive long term preparedness plan, but a short term (few days) emergency plan.

First Aid Kit Organization
First Aid Kit Organization

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Hand Crank and Solar Power Weather Radio

Information is powerful. One problem with many emergencies is getting the right information or getting any information at all. Even a weather related emergency from a winter storm can cut a family off from all lines of communication. It is important to be able to hear news updates, weather alerts, and the current state of affairs so that you can make informed decisions.

We recently purchased the Discovery Expedition AM/FM/SW Weather Radio. We actually bought ours from Sears as we had some shop rewards to redeem. I can no longer find it on the Sears website so the link is to the same radio on amazon. This is a reasonably inexpensive small model that has AM/FM, shortwave, and NOAA Weather. It has a hand crank on the side and a solar panel on top that can charge the built in Ni-MH battery. It also has a handy USB port that can charge phones, ipods, or anything equipped with a USB charger.

Discovery Expedition D105X AM/FM/SW/NOAA Weather Radio - 5-Way Powered Flashlight USB Port
View of the box and hand crank

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