When you get word that big weather is heading our way, take these simple and basic steps for your safety and comfort. You may need to hunker down at home for days — with no electricity and no way to get out for supplies.
Stock Up on Food: Check your non-perishable food supply. It doesn’t have to be fancy; cans of tuna and beans will get you by.
Store Water: Store one gallon per day of drinking and cooking water for each person in the household. If you are on a well, do you have emergency power for the pump?
Check Batteries: Check all your battery operated devices. Stock up or recharge as needed — radios, flashlights and cell phones.
Prepare to Stay Warm: Severe cold can kill, and furnaces need electricity for the blowers. What’s your backup? Gather your sleeping bags and extra blankets if you don’t have a fireplace or woodstove.
Get Cooking Fuel: Stock up on charcoal or propane for your outside barbecue. Never use them inside. Carbon monoxide kills.
Collect Medical Needs: Stock a couple of days of any prescription medicines and medical supplies, such as syringes, for all members of your household, including pets. Check and refresh your first aid kit.
Gas Up: Gas up the car. Cars make excellent survival tools. They can provide warmth and shelter, charge your phone, and move you to a safer spot. Plus, your car probably has the best portable radio you own. To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, do not run the car inside a garage.
Check the Generator: Fuel it. Check the oil. Test start it. Review operating instructions. Show everyone how to disconnect household power before starting the generator. You could electrocute a power lineman by reverse energizing the local grid!
Make a Plan: Go over your family emergency plan. Give each person a pocket card with contact phone numbers and a place to meet if separated.
Contact Neighbors: Call next door and make plans to ensure everyone is okay during the emergency. Can you pool tools and supplies, and maybe even put someone up in a spare bedroom for shelter? A storm is a great time to re-energize your Neighborhood Emergency Response Organization (NERO).
Get Cash: In a big emergency, ATMs and credit cards may not work. Cash will get you emergency supplies when all else fails.
Tune In: Review ways to get emergency information, especially through Voice of Vashon — 1650AM, the VoV smartphone app, Facebook or VoiceOfVashon.org.