Sunday, January 15, 2017

Are You Prepared For An Emergency?

Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio, Weather Radio, LED Flashlight and Smart Phone Charger
I walk a fine line between being prepared versus being paranoid in dealing with possible emergencies. Ever since the Northeast blackout of 2003, I keep a pitcher of water in my refrigerator, a small flashlight and a transistor radio in a drawer. Now I'm diligent about having a supply of tealight candles and batteries also. Luckily, I had all of these items to use during the blackout. (The radio was a Christmas gift ... when received I thought, will I ever use this? The tealights were leftover from a party. It's not that I prepared for a blackout, I was just lucky.) 

My Mom, who as a child lived through a war and its aftermath, once scolded me by saying that she could survive the chaos of war and hard times, but I would not!" Unfortunately, at the time I was a teenager, who shot back, "Oh, you can survive a war, but can you live in peace?"

Perhaps I was disrespectful (yes ... yes I was!), but when you think about it, we are both right. Primarily, we should enjoy life and not live every day expecting the worst; and yet, we are wise to prepare for a few events that inevitably go wrong: a car breaking down, a heavy snowfall, or a power outage.

At another time my Dad scolded me for wearing flimsy shoes when driving a car in winter. He said, "If your car breaks down, you'll freeze to death because you couldn't walk in the snow to get help." He continued,"At least, keep a pair of boots and a blanket in your car." In addition to noticing how adults liked to jump on my case (for no reason, I sensed) the lessons stuck.

Lately I'm tempted to buy the all-in-one Emergency Solar Hand Crank Radio, Weather Radio, LED Flashlight, and Smart Phone Charger manufactured by Brolar. For under $30, it's compact and offers enough power and survival tools to make it a smart buy. I'm not convinced yet, I need one in New York City. I do think it's one of the best available for the price, and is perfect to keep in a car.

Photo: FlickerBox
In Manhattan, we lost power for 2 long days during the August, 2003 blackout. The elevators were out. Without electricity, water pumped up to the floors in a tall building stops running after an hour. We soon couldn't flush our toilets. Neighborhood businesses closed, including banks. 

Our area was one of the last grids to have power restored. I showered at a friend's apartment who had electricity restored before me, and I attended a Broadway show to escape the heat, as well as, to use the bathroom! No tall glasses of water, or ice tea for me during that time.

I learned two important lessons during the emergency. Always have money at home in case the banks can't open; and if there's a power outage in a high-rise, always fill up your bathtub and sinks with tap water. You can then transfer water to your toilet to flush it. Well, live and learn!

Here's a comprehensive list of supplies to have for emergencies, according to the CDC. You decide how much of an alarmist to be.

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  1. A timely reminder of being prepared Debbie. I am not very good at this, but from time to time I make an effort to line up the necessities. We can have lengthy power outages and also be unable to leave our area when there is a big flood - this is rare but has happened 2-3 times in the 12 years we have lived here. I have known to fill the bath with water, not that we live in a high-rise, but the water supply can fail. I now have a battery operated radio, and try to keep some tinned food on hand. In 2011 we were actually away in New Zealand when a big flood came through our city and our street had no power for three days and noone could get out to go to work. So the neighbours had a long street party, with gas barbeques in the cul-de-sac. Sounds like I missed out on a fun time :)

    1. I love when comradery comes out of a hardship! I'm sorry I missed that street party also! I'm definitely more like you than my mom in this area. My strength is probably having enough food in the apartment. Usually I keep died nuts and protein bars in the cupboards, as well as, cans of staples like tuna, salmon, tomatoes, etc.

      Often I have meat and frozen vegetables and sometimes ice cream in the freezer, but luckily didn't on the days of the blackout, so I didn't have the waste experienced by people who had a freezer stocked with food. At the time, we had a Ben & Jerry's ice cream shop down the block, who gave away all their product before closing for 2 days. I'm sorry no longer to have them in the neighborhood! Love their ice cream!