As I lay in bed last night, listening to 50 mile-per-hour wind gusts shake and rattle my home as though it was nestled in close proximity to Grand Cental Station, I wondered if my family was truly prepared to deal with the potential of sleeping on top of an oak tree, or having a portion of our roof available for sledding. Seriously, here it is late February and, having lived in New England a major portion of my life, you would think a winter ritual of emergency preparedness would be in place by now. Yet there I was, 12:30 a.m., no power, punishing winds, two feet of snow, walking around my house in a dark daze looking for a flashlight, that once located, was barely bright enough to illuminate the inside of a shoebox.
So, this fresh experience made me think, What a great topic for a safety blog! What steps could people take to get ready the next time your local forecaster states: "Big storm on horizon, tune in at 11:00."?
- Have home evacuation plan in place. Review the plan and conduct a drill on an annual basis.
- Determine how you will escape from the second story of your home. There are several emergency ladders for sale today that are meant for one-time usage.
- Gather Emergency supplies at home (radio, flashlights, batteries, blankets, warm clothing, first-aid kit)
- Consider temporary heating sources (fire places, wood stoves, portable heaters) and the fire dangers associated with their usage (fire extinguishers, chimney fires, carbon monoxide exposure)
- Provisions are an important consideration. Have plenty of high calorie, nonperishable food and water on hand.
- Toilet usage can be continued by filling your washing machine or bath-tub and using the water to flush toilets.
- Ensure communication with the outside world by having one phone that does not require power for operation.