Having lived in Southeastern Indiana all of my life, I know how bad storms can be. I thought that I was well prepared on how to weather them. Should my electricity go out, I have a battery powered camping lantern with the batteries that actually go in them. I have two oil lanterns with extra oil and wicks. I have 3 large boxes of matches. I have extra water in my fridge. I have first-aid supplies.
I totally got this…bring on the storms! Well maybe I don’t have this.
The Federal Emergency Management Administration provides this list of things to assemble so that you and your family are prepared for a severe spring weather emergency.
A battery-operated flashlight, a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio, and extra batteries for both
An emergency evacuation or shelter plan, including a map of your home and, for every type of severe weather emergency, routes to safety from each room
A list of important personal information, including:
telephone numbers of neighbors, family, and friends
insurance and property information
telephone numbers of utility companies
According to the American Red Cross a first aid kit may include:
assortment of adhesive bandages
sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes
absorbent compress dressings
adhesive cloth tape
aspirin packets (81 mg each)
first aid instruction booklet - NOTE: Customize your first aid kit to meet your individual and family needs.
A 3–5 day supply of bottled water and nonperishable food
Personal hygiene items
Blankets or sleeping bags
Show family members where the emergency supplies are stored, and make sure they know how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity in your home. Donna Dickerson, Friendship State Bank receptionist, also has a great tip. She freezes bottles of water. The bottles help keep whatever you have in your freezer cold if the power goes out and you have extra water if you need it.
So back to me and how prepared that I thought I was for the storm that we had at the end of May. After arriving home after work, I was thrilled to see that I only had one giant tree limb down and that I had electricity. “Had electricity” being the key phrase.
I was trying to make supper and had just turned on my stove as the power went off the first time. When it didn’t come back on right away, I unplugged a few things to make sure they wouldn’t be damaged by a power surge and headed to Versailles to find some food.
I got back home only to be teased by my electricity. It would come on for a little bit and then be off for an hour. While it was still light outside, I filled my oil lanterns lit them and put them on opposite ends of my house so I wouldn’t stub my toe on anything. I got my battery powered lantern to carry with me. Does it still sound like I was totally prepared for the power outage?
I thought I was, but I was wrong.
One of my oil lanterns, unbeknownst to me, leaked oil all over my counter where I had sat it. Cleaning up spilled oil should have been easy. Sadly, it wasn’t because that battery powered lantern didn’t work anymore. I have no idea why. The batteries were new. I had to go get a flashlight out of my car so I could see the oil that I needed to clean up.
By the time the electricity was permanently restored, I had given up on the day and crawled into bed. I jumped out of bed at the sound of my air conditioner and my answering machine beeping as they restarted. My air conditioner should have been one of the things that I unplugged. Oops.
I had forgotten to turn off the light that was on in my living
room. When I got up to turn the light off, I looked across my house and made a horrifying discovery. I had forgot to turn the stove off!
Thankfully nothing was on the burner. My brother-in-law is my local fire chief and I would never live it down if he had to come to my house in that big red truck that has all of the flashing lights.
Bottom line folks – having all your supplies on hand is one thing, making sure they still work is another. Who would have thought my oil lantern leaked? Why wouldn’t my battery powered lantern work? Have you looked at that tube of antibiotic cream lately? Did you know that they have an expiration date on them? Aspirin and other first aid supplies can also expire. After you assemble all of your supplies, make sure you check on them every once in a while.
Jaclyn Linkmeyer is a Friendship Insurance customer and the Friendship State Bank Trust Administrator, Executive Secretary and IRA Guru. Jaclyn's favorite color is purple and she enjoys baking sweet treats for her co-workers. Don't worry, she is diligent in turning offthe oven (and stovetop) when not it use.