Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When a Weather Disaster Happens, You Need This Stuff

The last few days have been a whirlwind of snow, icy roads, sub-freezing days and nights, a power outage, and a shuffling of relatives who came for the holidays and were surprised by the treacherous weather. Even though I would much rather hang onto my cash these days, when a winter storm hits, these items can be priceless:
  • Flashlights and extra batteries.

  • A battery-operated radio.

  • A car cell phone charger.

  • A cell phone that allows internet access.

  • A shovel.

  • A windshield scraper.

  • Candles and matches.

  • A fireplace with lots of seasoned firewood.

  • Extra blankets.

  • Winter clothing (heavy jacket, hat, gloves) and winter boots.

  • Food that is simple to prepare and eat and which doesn't require cooking.

  • Tire chains.

  • A chain or rope (to pull or be pulled from a ditch).

  • Bottled water.

  • Pipe and faucet insulation.

  • An alternate heat source (like a kerosene heater).

  • An alternate cooking source (like a camp stove).

  • A full tank of gas.

  • Other stuff you can't do without and can't easily access if roads are impassible (prescription medicines, diapers, extra oxygen canisters, etc).

  • A generator and fuel.

  • A chainsaw and fuel.

Obviously it would be pretty expensive to run out and buy all of these things at once, however it is a good idea to start with the things that are most important to you (in my case, flashlights, a radio, and bottled water) and put aside a little money each month to stock your emergency supply kit. Also, many of these items can be bought cheaper than retail by purchasing the items at the dollar store, the thrift store, and at garage sales. Finally, you may not need all of these items. Apartment dwellers probably won't need a chainsaw or generator. If you don't have a car, you can skip the tank of gas, tow rope, and window scraper.


  1. Being the safety freak the I am (plus its part of my profession) I feel compelled to remind everyone that combustion appliances (e.g., diesel or gasoline generators, propane stoves) must be operated ouutdoors to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and death. Although I think some kerosene and propane heaters are designed to be operated indoors, ventilation should be provided (e.g., a few windows cracked open). Ultimately, read AND understand AND follow the mannufactuer's instructions completely. It is best to do this much in advance of the anticipated need of these items.

    On recommendation on the chainsaw, etc.--see if two or more of your neighbors can come up with a cooperative agreement for sharing the items.

    Thank, Ms. Cash Only, for all the good informattion in this and your previous posts! Hope you and your family have an enjoyable Thanksgiving despite the weather.

  2. Thanks Karen--great ideas! It seems simple enough to buy a generator, chainsaw, or heater and just use these items to fix whatever the current problem is (no power, a downed tree, a cold house) but there really are dangers associated with using these items which people don't use on a regular basis and/or have no knowledge of using which can be really dangerous so caution is totally warranted!