As I sit here writing this post, Hurricane Irma is baring down on Florida. People are stressed. And panicked. And seemingly preparing for the end of the world. In a lot of the wrong ways unfortunately.
What do I mean by that?
Well um, I don’t want to look down on other people’s ideas of what survival food is, but really Ramen Noodles?! In bulk. Come on no one wants to eat that for a week. And buying 24 cases of bottled water? when you never drink the stuff normally?
Here's the biggest hurricane prep tip I could ever give anyone...BUY WHAT YOU NORMALLY USE. Click To Tweet
Okay, so we know that a storm is coming..A Big Storm.. A Massive storm.. So how do I prepare?
First of all, I maintain a basic set of supplies in the garage. These are things that don’t need replaced frequently and can last from year to year.
- A Sterno stove. You can find this in the camping section of Walmart or online at Amazon.
- Several cans of Sterno
- Water containers like these that fold flat when not in use:
- Lanterns battery operated, solar, and even rechargeable. (Charge them when a storm is approaching)
- Long lighters
- Baby wipes
- Extra towels and rags
- Manual Can opener
- Small pot
- Foil half tray steam pans
When a storm is approaching, I will cook up several pounds of ground beef, chicken breasts, and some spaghetti noodles. I then freeze crumbled ground beef, shredded chicken and pasta in individual one pound portions.
I also make and freeze french toast.
If the power goes out, I can then make Tacos, Spaghetti, Chicken Alfredo, Sloppy Joes, BBQ Chicken sandwiches, and several other meals quickly and easily.
The reason that I precook like this is because I don’t have to worry about reaching the right temperature with meat and I don’t have to use quite so much sterno to cook with. It’s also easier to clean up after cooking when there is no power or water.
Why do I use Sterno?
If it is storming outside, it is very hard to cook on a grill. (Been there, done that) Sterno can be used safely inside. (ever been to a banquet? It’s what they use to keep food warm) Sterno is fairly cheap and also stores well. It takes up minimal room in my garage.
Why do I knock people buying 10 cases of water?
Because that is not what they or their kids normally drink. Why not buy a couple of gallons of water and then buy the juice, or pop or tea or whatever it is that you normally drink? The object is to stay hydrated, not collect as many disposable water bottles as possible. Filling the bathtub or a large plastic container with water will work for flushing the toilet if need be. No one really needs 4 shopping carts full of water. That’s just plain silly.
Once you’ve got the food and drink solved, you can move on to hygiene.
Baby wipes are awesome for this. I would say one pack per person for families with small kids (more for diaper babies) and one pack per 2 people for older kids and adults. Use old towels for keeping water from seeping in under the doors and windows. Keep some bleach on hand as well as the blue Dawn dish soap. They are awesome to keep bacteria and mold at bay.
How to stay cool with no power?
Keep a supply of washcloths or old towels cut into strips. Soak them in a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol. Then freeze individually in plastic ziploc bags. Take one out and place it on the back of your neck to lower your body temperature. These will also help keep things cooler in your freezer. Use them sparingly. Also open the windows if you can, preferably with screens in place, to help with some air flow.
What about boredom?
Keep a selection of board games, a deck of cards, and some art materials on hand. Also books. You can never have too many books. I also make sure that my Kindle is fully charged and pre-loaded with good reading material. This free knock knock joke book is kind of fun to spend some time entertaining the kids. (and myself)
What if the power is out for more than three days?
Ultimately you should be prepared to survive for a week without power. But after three days you may be able to venture out. This is why it is important to have some cash on hand. Not your credit or debit card or even your checkbook, cash. Many of the larger chains of grocery stores have back up emergency generators to power the store. But they may not be able to take checks or cards. This goes for gas stations too.
I may also start cooking outside after the 3 day mark. The weather is usually clearer and it is safer to be using a camp fire or grill.
Surviving a power outage is not fun, but it is doable. But please..