Avoid Humiliation, Get Storm Ready

My lowest preparedness moment was in 2005 during a snowstorm on Vancouver Island. Since it was just my hubby and I back then, the first two days were actually pretty fun. Card games by lantern light – what’s not to like? But by the time day four rolled around, the cupboards were bare, the hot water gone and the road to our little house buried.

Desperate for grub, we managed to dig out our tiny beater and make it to the main road. I vowed to never be so ill-prepared again while stealing a hot shower at the local hockey arena, the knee-buckling smell of sweaty sports gear wafting around me. I disclose this humiliating tidbit in the hopes my cautionary tale will stick in your head. My state of poor preparedness was not a good feeling. In fact it was downright embarrassing. So learn from my pain, get storm ready, and may you never experience the joy of a locker room shower. 

Pack an emergency kit:  If you have one of these you’re pretty much prepared for anything. Basic rule of thumb is enough food and water to comfortably support your family for a minimum of 72 hours – and I do mean minimum. If you can stock more, do it.

Let there be light: Storms mean power outages. Have a good supply of flashlights around the house along with two full replacement sets of batteries. Candles can be romantic, but it’s best to avoid them. One unattended candle can lead to a whole other emergency.

Go camping: That gear can come in handy year round. Store your sleeping bags and Coleman stove in an easily accessible place. Just remember to use your stove outside where it’s not going to pose a fire or carbon monoxide risk.

Portable generators: These can be a lifesaver, but only if used properly. Follow all manufacturers’ instructions and just like camp stoves, never run one indoors. 

Fashion forward: Dress to stay warm by layering. Since we lose a lot of heat via our head and hands, add gloves and a snug knit hat.

Grab & Go: Storms don’t always hit while you’re at home. You could be at work or on the road. Make sure to have a kit for both the car and office.

Stay in touch: Have a battery-operated radio to track power outage info and directions from local authorities. If you’re a social media fan, follow the #BCStorm hashtag along with these reliable Twitter handles:

Don’t open it! Avoid opening your refrigerator and freezer as much as possible. A freezer that's fully packed will hold food safely for 48 hours. A freezer that's half full will hold food safely for 24 hours. Keeping containers of water in your fridge or freezer is a good way to fill extra space and maintain an extra water source.

Pull the plug: Unplug computers, TVs, stereos and other unnecessary electronics to avoid a power drain or surge when service is restored.

Stay clear: Wind, ice and snow can bring down power lines. Give them a wide berth and call 911 with the location.