Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stuff Happens

(Basket by the Longaberger Co.)

Stuff happens. And it often happens when you least expect it.

With storm season in full swing (as many of us in the Midwest experienced a few nights ago) and the economy looking iffy, now is a good time to ask yourself how prepared you are against bumps in the road of life, both personal and communal. I am not talking Major disaster scenarios here but just to be prepared.

Do you have an emergency kit? This is what I am talking about…Grab a sturdy box or basket and fill it with the essentials, just to get you through the next lengthy power outage. Fill it with the essentials:

1. An envelope with some cash and change. An amount you are comfortable keeping in an envelope in the basket for purchasing water or food or in a worst case scenario, booking a hotel for a few nights.
2. A list of all bank accounts and i
mportant documents as well where you can find them in case you need to leave your home quickly.
3. Bottles of water, snack food or energy bars, important medicines for at least 3 days.
4. A flash light or 2 and extra batteries, in case of a power outage and perhaps some candles and matches. They make it fun for making shadow animals too!
5. A spare charged cell phone. Even if it does not have a service carrier, you may be able to use it to dial 911 if necessary.
6. If you have children, having some distractions such as playing cards or a few books and small toys will make Mom and Dad’s lives easier when trying to find help.
7. And do NOT forget the first aid kit!

Our family camps frequently and as a result, we have a Food Box that we keep filled with staples such as dry pancake mix (water only necessary), canned food a can opener, paper plates and napkins, power bars, flower, sugar, and other non-perrishable items. This box has come in handy several times in the last few years as the Chicago area has been hit by some big storms where the power was out for as long as 5 days. So a stash of nonperishable food is a good idea for these situations. Also, a propane camp stove has come in handy as well.

As you are shopping and see items on sale that would fit the bill for this type of kit, pick them up and sow them away for that “rainy” day. You will thank yourself later. Resist the temptation to raid this stash. You will want it there when you need it.

And it's always a good idea to learn basic emergency skills. Everyone in your home should know how to operate a fire extinguisher, turn off gas and electricity, and perform CPR and basic first aid.

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