Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Houston, Texas - Hurricane Central
American Red Cross - Disaster Services - Be Prepared
Disaster can strike quickly and without warning. It can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. What would you do if basic services--water, gas, electricity or telephones--were cut off? Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster, but they cannot reach everyone right away. Therefore, the best way to make your family and your home safer is to be prepared before disaster strikes.
American Red Cross - Disaster Services - Winter Storm
Backwoods Home Magazine
Be Prepared - How Scouting Started
BePrepared.com - Emergency Essentials
Blue Wolf Survival and Preparedness
City of Boston Emergency Kit Supplies
700,000 still without power, heat in Northwest (December 16, 2006)
SEATTLE, Washington (AP) -- "Residents of the Pacific Northwest struggled to stay warm Saturday after the worst windstorm in more than a decade knocked out power to more than 1.5 million homes and businesses and killed at least six people." - CNN
Nearly 700,000 customers in Washington and Oregon still had no power Saturday, and utilities said some might have to wait into next week for their lights to go back on.
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire declared a state of emergency, and with temperatures expected to drop over the weekend, officials warned people not to use outdoor grills, propane heaters or other carbon monoxide-producing equipment indoors
255,000 Without Power After Winter Ice Storm (January 29, 2002).
Nearly 9,000 Oklahoma homes and businesses remained without power February 12, 2002, two weeks later (The Daily Oklahoman, February 13, 2002).
Heavy ice brings down trees, electric wires, and electricity poles. Out of State crews brought in to replace thousands of electricity poles and run new wires. The region serviced by Kiwash Electric Cooperative still has 1,330 customers without power (Feb 13). "We'll have power restored to everyone by mid-March," said Dennis Krueger, Kiwash manager.
Nightime temperatures were in the 20's F serveral nights during this period.
"During the recent ice storm we were without power for five days and nights." - Bonnie Moslander, Verona Brady, Oklahoma City, OK, Letter to the Editor, The Daily Oklahoman, Feb 13, 2002.
Are you prepared to live without electricity for 3 days to 2 weeks? Getting ready will prepare you and your family to survive many natural disasters.
1. Alternate Source of Heat:
Without electricity, the central heating and air conditioning will not work. You may have gas heat but it uses electricity to run the fan and thermostat.
a. If you have a fireplace, store a rick of seasoned firewood.
b. If you have a gas starter for the fireplace you can get a gas firelog. The gas will usually work even if the electricity is out. Do not use a gas stove to heat the house. Toxic fumes will accumulate from it.
c. Use blankets to seal off the room with the fireplace so you are not trying to heat the whole house.
d. Use sleeping bags and air mattresses to sleep in the heated room.
e. A backup power generator will only be good for a few days because it will not run without gasoline. Gas stations will not be able to pump gasoline without electricity. Do not store gasoline in the garage or house. Gasoline should be stored in a tank in the ground, or in a metal shed away from the house. Local ordinances will prohibit large quantites of stored gasoline.
f. Use a self supporting tent to create a smaller space to heat. Place the entrance toward the fireplace. Or, you can heat it with your body heat and a candle lantern.
g. Don't forget warm clothes. Wear sweaters, boots, and hats. It's hard to beat a wool sweater for keeping warm.
Flashlights will be the first thing you reach for when the lights go out. Flashlights need lots of spare batteries. Candles will save your flashlight batteries and are a longer term solution for providing light. Kerosine or oil lamps will last longer than candles. This is what Grandma used to light her house before she had electricity. The kerosine should be stored with the gasoline in a metal shed away from the house.
12 volt auto bulbs will run from a 12 volt battery. 12 Volt Lamps made for RVs or camping trailers use 12 volt bulbs. An auto or boat battery (deep discharge is best) can be charged with a solar battery charger. An inexpensive solar battery charger can be bought from an auto supply house for about $20.00.
3. Water for the Toilet:
Store water to flush the toilet. You can use trash cans for this. Without electricity you may not get any water. If you can't flush the toilet the house will become uninhabitable. If the sewer system does not work you may have to use a bucket and plastic trash bags. Get a portable or chemical potty for camping. The cheap one is just a seat that will hold a plastic bag. Dispose of potty bags at least 3 times a day and wash hands after handling. You need soap to wash your hands.
4. Water for drinking and washing:
Store water for drinking and washing. If you do still have water it may not be drinkable. The city water plant cannot purify water without electricity. You may need to boil water for 10 minutes, and/or use water filters. You can get plastic water barrels to store drinking water in from a farm supply house like Atwells. You will need a siphon or pump to get the water out of the barrels.
5. Battery powered radio or TV:
You will need a battery powered radio or TV to keep advised of emergency conditions, like when the electricity may be restored, or how cold it is going to be tonight. Don't forget spare batteries in the right size.
6. Shelter Supplies:
The radio will let you know about community shelters that are opened for people who aren't prepared to stay at home without electric power. Shelters may start out without cots, chairs, blankets, food, or water, so bring some of your own. Shelters have no privacy and will be hot and crowded at first; later, they may be cold and lonely. People may be attacked or robbed in shelters because of inadequate security. Shelters may not let you enter with your pets or any defensive weapons, such as pepper spray.
It is better to be prepared to stay at home than to go to a community shelter. If you are prepared you are not a burden to the community, so the community can better take care of those who are not prepared. If you are prepared, you may also be able to help your family, friends, and neighbors.
Rely on your individual skills and interests to prevent and respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, or any kind of disaster.
Home Security is part of Homeland Security.
Updated August 16, 2007