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Living in Ohio, I haven’t had to deal with a whole lot of worrying about natural disasters. We live far enough inland that we don’t have to regularly worry about hurricanes or major flooding, or earthquakes. We have an occasional tornado, and flash floods but things are usually back to normal in just a few hours. A few years ago we had a huge storm roll in with ‘hurricane winds’ and it threw us Ohioans for a loop. Power was out for days and weeks for some, and it seemed no one was prepared. It was uncomfortable, stressful, and boring! At the time I had a newborn baby, and 2 young girls. So I promised myself that I would have a plan (and a stock of Duracell batteries) to keep them occupied – and a survival kit – in case it ever happened again.
The first thing I did was make a trip to Walmart. There were a few things I needed to restock, and a few new items to pick up for my ’emergency backpack’. I knew the biggest thing I needed to stock up on was Duracell batteries. Pretty much everything we need to use in an emergency needs batteries. My battery-powered lanterns, flashlights, and storm radios.
I picked up quite a few necessities to make sure we are prepared ‘just in case’. Here is a simple, easy to follow list of ‘must have’s’ in case of an emergency.
You will need:
- Water—one gallon per person, per day
- Food—nonperishable, easy-to-prepare items
- Battery powered or hand crank radio (NOAA Weather Radio, if possible)
- Extra Duracell batteries
- First aid kit
- Medications (7-day supply), other medical supplies, and medical paperwork (e.g., medication list and pertinent medical information)
- Multipurpose tool (e.g., Swiss army knife)
- Sanitation and personal hygiene items
- Copies of personal documents (e.g., proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, and insurance policies)
- Cell phone with chargers (car chargers to charge your phone off your car battery)
- Family and emergency contact information
- Extra cash
- Emergency blanket
- Map(s) of the area
- Extra set of car keys and house keys
- Manual can opener
I also picked up a few things, and made a list, to keep the kids busy if the power does go out -since they won’t be able to watch movies, play video games, or chat with their friends via instant messenger (I kinda’ can’t wait for the power to go out..shh! don’t tell them)
1. READ by flashlight – My kids love to read. It’s a great thing, but a lot of times they get too busy with tech gadget and friends that they don’t read as much as I would like them to. I played smart and picked up some classics (think Beverly Clearly) from a yard sale this summer. I put them in our ’emergency bags’ for reading material while the lights are out.
2. Play board games. Too often again, we don’t sit down and play together as much as I’d like. We play family video games, outdoor games and such, but not a lot of board games. I made sure to have a deck of Uno cards, The Game of Life, Monopoly, and Beat the Parents. With our handy little battery-operated lantern we can sit in the living room or at the kitchen table and literally have hours of fun!
3. Have a Dance Off. Having a dance competition with the kids has always been fun. It’s great to get a laugh (usually at me), and plus it burns the extra energy the kids have built up by being stuck inside (BONUS)
4. Camp out. If the weather isn’t bad, and you’re just waiting for power to come back on, camping out in the back yard is a great idea. You can roast marshmallows over the fire, roast some hot dogs, and sit around and talk. It’s a great way to make the best of the situation, and the kids always love the adventure!
5. Pay it Forward. My family has always been big on helping others. Taking extra bottles of water, food, or medicine to needy neighbors can definitely help the kids realize how important it is to be prepared – and to take care of each other.
6. Take a Bubble Bath. O.K. so this one is more for Mom, but relaxing in a bubble bath with some candles is a nice way to regroup, refresh yourself and prepare yourself for what might come next. Taking time for you is important no matter what is going on.