Growing up on the West Coast, I don't remember a time we weren't conscious of the BIG ONE headed our way. For those that don't know, that would be the giant earthquake that is something like 100 years overdue. But there are plenty of other smaller scale disasters that occur on a regular basis there. Flooding, from the sometimes monsoon-like rains. Fire, whipped up from the Santa Ana winds. And, when I was a kid, we regularly lost power due to the flocks of birds that would perch on our power line and knock it out. When you live in the country, there is no water and the toilets don't flush when the power goes out. You learn that pretty quick.
I've lived in the Midwest now for going on 15 years and there are plenty of weather events that can cause havoc here. Of course you have tornadoes, which I find it difficult to prepare for, because we don't have a basement. Winter weather is our biggest threat, snow and freezing temps can be life threatening in a matter of minutes. Summer weather can also be dangerous. Extreme heat mixed with humidity has been blamed for many deaths over the years as heat sickness can be fatal. Our animals are often threatened by heat and we did lose our best hen last summer during a particularly brutal heat wave. We also get some pretty wild storms in summer which can spin off microbursts, a powerful downdraft that can flatten a tree like a bug on your windshield.
And then there are hurricanes.
Whatever your regional weather dangers may be, what is your emergency plan? Can you survive without power? For how long? Do you have a way to charge your cell phone or mobile devices? If you have a generator, how much fuel do you stockpile? Do you keep a water reserve? Canned food? Blankets, matches, firewood, flashlights? Do you have equipment to dig yourself out of a predicament? Do you have air conditioning? Do you have a way to cool your animals? Do they have a place to escape the weather? Do you keep animal carriers in the event that you have to evacuate and take your animals with you?
There are so many ways to prepare and even the simplest steps can be a lifesaver. I once returned home from work to find the power out and the temps below zero. The house was COLD! Having a firestarting log ready to go allowed me to get a fire going in the fireplace in just a few minutes. Pretty soon we had a toasty place to wait out the storm. We also rigged up a power inverter to my truck battery that worked like a generator and allowed us to keep the heater and frig running for a longer power outage. Nowadays, we are lucky enough to have a generator, but still you have to plan ahead to have fuel ready and be able to switch your electric panel over to generator power. Remember you should not have your generator churning away in your basement or garage! Several Hurricane Sandy survivors have died from carbon monoxide poisoning due to improper generator usage. If you don't know what you are doing, hire a professional to install one for you.
The bottom line here, is you need a plan. If you live in an area where space is limited and you cannot store the necessary supplies to sit out an emergency, you still have the ability to stockpile a very important reserve...CASH. Many folks that hunker down when they should be evacuating, lack the necessary funds to escape their situation. You shouldn't have to put yourself or your family in harms way if a few hundred dollars can buy you a hotel for a couple days. It just might save your life.
Take a moment to pray for those folks burdened with the task of rebuilding their lives that were damaged by the Hurricane. Send a donation to www.redcross.org if you are able. And then, take a good hard look at your situation, and make your own survival plan. Today.
Post your survival tips here and on our FB page, www.facebook.com/thepocketfarmer. Thank you!