Storm Preparation Checklist
Storm Preparation Checklist - Focus on Critical Things
I just spent the past four days digging out from Winter Storm Gail. While it appeared to millions to be just an ordinary winter snowstorm, she unleashed her full wrath on a narrow band of New Hampshire dumping up to 48 inches of snow in just twelve hours. Much of the water Gail gulped and slurped from Nantucket Sound she spewed on my roof, my driveway, and 8 frozen feet of it on my front porch. You can read all about my saga at Winter Storm Gail 2020 Central NH
I know, you might be dealing with 39 inches of sunlight today and you wear flip flops in January on the beach. Or maybe your typical winter is a light jacket and once every five years you get a dusting of snow. Perhaps you only see snow from a distance coating the tops of mountains near your home. But trust me, this column has your name written all over it. This column is going to save you agony as well as copious amounts of money. It may also save your life or that of a loved one.
Why is a Checklist Important?
I’m going to do my best to convince you in the limited space I have that it’s absolutely essential that you be prepared for the unexpected and that you become a disciple of self-sufficiency. You might be one of the tens of millions of homeowners I feel are fumbling around in the fog of complacency.
In a nutshell, all I really needed was two gallons of gasoline for my snowblowers. Fortunately, I purchased this invaluable liquid while Gail was getting her panties in a frumple 800 miles southeast of New Hampshire. But stop and think about you. What is that tool, product, or job you’ve been sweeping under the rug that you’ll wish you have when the you-know-what hits the fan?
Are People Becoming Weak?
I’ve seen a deeply disturbing trend develop over the past fifteen years, maybe twenty, and you might have been one sucked into this vortex of coddling and comfort. You may be a person that thinks nothing of calling 911 when something goes sideways. You may be one that thinks nothing of calling your contractor friend when you need this or that. What happens when ten, one hundred, or one thousand people call 911 or that contractor all at the same time?
What Should Be On the Checklist?
Stop. Think. What happens when that monster storm, or fire, or earthquake, or pandemic hits and you can’t get what you need? What are you going to do? Are you going to curl up in a ball quaking and crying on your bed? Or, are you going to be like some in your neighborhood who react and protect themselves and their property with the few simple tools and materials they need to survive until such time as things get back to relative normal.
What About Water?
Here’s an example. When I was a small lad, I used to help my mom rinse and fill empty white Clorox bottles with clean water. This was decades before bottled water was sold in stores. We had about fifteen of them stored on our basement floor. It became a running joke and my mother endured all sorts of trolling about these bottles of water until that cold winter day when the water main outside our house broke and we had no water. That fifteen gallons of water saved the day. God bless my Mom!
Do you own a simple and affordable pipe wrench? Do you know how to turn off the valve at your gas meter? Do you even know where your gas meter is? Do you know what the shutoff valve looks like?
The same is true for your water shutoff valve. Do you know how to prevent your home from being flooded with thousands of gallons of water should a pipe burst?
Do you have the skills, tools, and materials on hand, even a simple fiberglass tarp, to make emergency roof or window repairs? Is there a person in your neighborhood that has these skills in case you don’t?
Do you charge your cell phone each night? Do you have storage batteries that will allow you to charge your phone multiple times should you lose power for days?
Do you keep your car or truck gas tank filled all the time allowing you to travel 300+ miles non-stop? What happens if you need to evacuate and the gas stations are clogged with frantic people and the station runs out of gas because the tanker trucks can’t refill the station?
The list of simple tools you need to survive and help yourself is not that big. The skills you need to survive are not insurmountable. There are hundreds of YouTube videos you can watch now before your cable line is taken down by a tree limb.
What Skills Do Neighbors Have?
Now is the time to have a simple neighborhood meeting to see who has what skills. One of my neighbors is an ER doctor. Do you have a doctor that lives near you? Make an inventory of who has what tools and who can do what.
Remember, when disaster strikes you and your house are the LEAST IMPORTANT things in your community. Your first responders will be busy saving community assets, not your house that no one but you cares about. This is the paramount reason why you need to learn to help yourself. It’s that simple.