The process of building a family is a lifelong responsibility that is filled with cherished moments and difficult choices. Where should you settle down? Will you pick the right schools? Among these complex and unavoidable issues that you will face, you know that you need to keep your family safe no matter the cost.
If you’re living a comfortable middle-class lifestyle in a first world country, the worst you will most likely have to worry about, with regards to safety, is the effect of inclement weather in your region. With hurricanes coming in from the Gulf, earthquakes and hard rain on the Pacific and tornadoes touching down in the Midwest, it seems that there is weather to put you at risk of power failure everywhere you may live.
Even if you live in a climate unaffected by harsh weather, power failure is always a possibility. We rely implicitly and without question on the power companies who provide us with electricity – but the truth is: without a standby generator installed in your home, you are always at risk.
So, how do you prepare your family for an emergency situation? This guide is going to lay out the simple steps required for adequately preparing your family and home for any emergency situation.
What is Power Grid Failure?
It doesn’t matter what the specifics of your inclement weather are, the main issue is if it will effect the power grid. When the power grid goes offline, so does the electricity to you, your neighbors and everyone running along the grid. Unless you have a standby generator of some kind installed in your home, you are pretty much at the mercy of the utility company and their ability to fix the issue.
What Will You Need?
You are going to need some basic supplies to get through the outage, but the best thing to maintain is a positive attitude. Do whatever you can to keep the spirits of your family as high as possible. Take this opportunity with out electronics to “rough it” with them – play board games, invite your neighbors over, treat yourself to the ice cream that is sure to go bad soon.
When stocking up on supplies to get you through an emergency event, you’ll want to invest in plenty of water. The general rule is that you should keep around 1-2 gallons per day for each member of your household. A two week supply for a family of four is in the ballpark of 56-112 gallons of water. If you have pets, you should consider their water intake as well; a rule of thumb is one ounce of water per pound of pet per day – a 15lb dog would need at least 15 ounces of water a day.
To make sure you have clean drinking water, invest in water purification packets. They will allow you to pull clean water from an unclean source.
For food, you will want to plan three meals per day, plus some snack foods for each member of your house – and don’t forget your pets, you’ll want a two-week supply for each of them as well.
Choose items that require minimal heating and that your family won’t hate eating. Canned foods that only need to be heated are preferable to any canned items that need to be boiled. Shop for oversized cans if you know your family is hungry enough to eat all of it, or else the leftovers will go to waste.
A convenient option to have around, with a conveniently long shelf-life, are MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) – which were made for military use, but you can buy them at surplus stores or an online vendor.
In the event of power failure, your electrical light sources will not be available, so you will want to have a stash of lights somewhere on hand (IE flashlights, headlamps, candles – and don’t forget the batteries!). You should also invest in a lantern that is bright enough to light an entire room, whether powered from batteries, propane or hard crank is up to you.
Taking care of your family is a lifelong job that takes time, money and effort – but, what is the point of any of those things if not to take care of the ones you love?