Your Survival Guy is writing to you this chilly December 15th morning as all of the Northeast prepares for winter storm Gail.
I’ve run through a “go, no go” Apollo 13 (I hope not!) checklist. The “go” are the following: Water/Food/Generator/Self-Defense/Satellite phone/Go bag/Evacuation plan. The “no go” list is usually discovered in the heart of the storm or later. But seeing that Newport, RI lost natural gas on the coldest day of the year in 2019, I’m not taking any chances.
Here’s a list of what you need to prepare for a winter storm that might knock your power or gas out. Remember, this is the bare minimum.
- Drinking water, remember to keep this in the warmest place in the house so it doesn’t freeze if you lose heat.
- Food you can eat without having to cook it if the power is out.
- Extra blankets (if the power goes out, it can get very cold, very fast).
- Alternate heat source (kerosene heater, fireplace, wood stove)
- Light: candles, lamps, flashlights, etc.
- Power source for your cell phone. This could be a crank system, or solar.
- Water for flushing toilets. This doesn’t have to be potable, but you’ll need a lot of it if you don’t have running water. Tip: You can always melt snow if necessary.
Here are some other things that come in handy if you can afford them:
- Generator: Whether whole house, or just something small to keep your refrigerator cold, a generator can pay for itself quickly by keeping your house warm and your food cold.
- Satellite phone: When all other forms of communication fail, a satellite phone will be your best backup.
- Second home: An alternate location out of harm’s way can make a big difference in your comfort level if you need to evacuate. A winter storm that forces you to evacuate in 2020 could land you in a cramped public shelter trying to avoid catching COVID-19 from fellow evacuees. Not a pleasant picture.
One of the advantages, if you can call it that, of living in New England is that you have storms that make you think about your vulnerabilities. They remind you of how ugly things can get. And as Your Survival Guy can attest, if it’s going to happen to someone, it happens to this guy. You can learn a lot about what not to do from me. So here I am, writing to you when I have a few more things I should be doing to prepare. That’s OK. (Note to self: Don’t forget to get dog food!)
Action Line: When it comes to your life, I want you to be ready for anything that might come your way. I want you to be prepared for storms like Gail, and I want you to be prepared for storms like a crash in the stock market. Both can and will happen. Now, imagine how hard life will be with these disruptions in the winter of COVID-19. It’s not pretty to think about, but think about it, you must.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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