A disaster could happen at any moment that would take away the normal conveniences of your life: the heat, power, lights or your ability to run to the store.
Before that happens you need to know:
- What can I do to be ready in case of a disaster?
- How do I deal with darkness?
- What kinds of food should I have in my house for an emergency?
So what can I do to be ready in case of a disaster?
Disasters happen. It’s just a fact of life. There is an ever-increasing need for the common sense, knowledge, and skills of personal preparedness that will enable you to cope with, and confidently live through Mother Nature’s temper tantrums and man-made technological disruptions. These types of events take away the normal ingredients of our lives: power, heat, light, the ability to run to the store for supplies and so on.
Sometimes food, equipment, and supplies may be available in surrounding areas, but they cannot be brought to you, and you can’t get to them. Sometimes they’re just not available, period. Your house may be intact but you are without the utilities that you count on as necessary. So having your personal First Aid Kit ready is imminent.
It’s a fact that you need to be able to rely on yourself. In the immediacy of most crises, there is not the manpower nor resources to take care of everyone instantly, nor all at the same time. It may be days or weeks before utilities are restored and life gets back to normal. In the meantime, you are on your own. No one else will be there to step in and feed you or keep you warm. You determine how personally disastrous these disasters will be so set up a well-thought and efficient emergency plan yourself!
In other words, your practical preparation now could very well make the difference between coping and chaos. It’s time to think now about what you’ll eat if you can’t go to the store for several weeks. How will you cook your food and what food should be there in the first place? What if there’s no running water? How do you deal with sanitation issues, or discouragement, or darkness? Crises and disasters do not make appointments before they come calling. You need to be ready for them prior to their knocking on your door.
How do I deal with darkness?
When the power is out, every person in your household needs the security of reliable light. Flashlights are usually the first light source that comes to mind. Make sure each member of your household has a flashlight with charged batteries. A standard flashlight with two new “D” batteries and bulb will yield about 7 hours of light, more or less. Keep flashlights in all the major rooms of your home and be sure that everyone knows where the flashlights are and can easily access them.
While the light switch is still working, have a practice session for finding flashlights in the dark. This is key when you are not experienced and don’t know where to start. Explain where they are in each room, including bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, etc. Take the time to “walk through,” finding the flashlights in each area – in the dark. Pay particular attention to those who may have physical needs that will require placement of flashlights to be within easy, but perhaps not usual, reach.
It isn’t unusual to reach for a flashlight in a time of need only to find that the flashlight is missing or has dead batteries because it was used for other purposes or ignored too long. Establish rules about when and where emergency flashlights can be used. This is easier to do if you have other flashlights or perhaps a few solar powered devices available for use in non-emergency times, like when you need to find something in the attic or when a child wants to read a scary book under the covers.
I’ve found that a plug-in flashlight works great for these needs. These plug into an electrical outlet for charging and are always right there when you need them (as long as people remember to put them back after they’re used.) They hold a charge about as long as a set of batteries and make also sure your children know how to handle this well.
One way to make sure your flashlights have working batteries when you need them is to calendar consistent updating and changing of the batteries. Change the batteries on emergency flashlights on a regular basis, every year or six months, whether they need it or not. Place the ones that are taken out of the flashlights at the calendared time in a box labeled “Used but not dead.” They can be used for portable cd players or hand-held games or even for use in non-emergency-use flashlights.
That way they are not wasted, but you can count on emergency flashlights working when you need them. Flashlights aren’t the only source for light when the power is out. Candles, battery-operated lanterns, and fuel lanterns are also options. Whatever you choose, having a reliable light is a major source of comfort and security.