• Prepare for Winter...In the Summer

    Today marks the last day of July, which means winter is coming.

    Wait, what? But…don’t we still have August left? And what happened to September and October?

    Alright, you caught me. Those months are still on the calendar, and we can get really nice weather those months (fall weather is amazing, after all). But the truth is, winter is coming, and while it may still be a few months off, it is wise to start preparing for it now.

    Prepare for Winter...before everyone takes all the thingsAs is the case with most severe weather, we sometimes wait until the storm is looming ominously before us before we run to the store and grab some necessities. While this works sometimes, other times it can leave us without the essentials we need. This is one reason why it is best to be prepared well in advance. And, some things are just easier to prepare for while the weather is still nice. If you wait until it’s cold and snowy, some things may be harder to accomplish (not to mention that’s when everyone else starts getting ready, too, so prices may go up and contractor availability may be hard to find).

    Without further ado, here are some ways to prepare for winter…in the summer.

     

    Winterize Your Home

    Winterizing your homePrepare for Winter...Bundle Up Your Home is one of the best things you can do to prepare for winter in the summer. Make sure you have sufficient insulation in your home, and most especially in the attic. Hot air rises (at least that’s what my science teachers always said), so if your attic is poorly insulated, that hot air will escape through there.

    Caulking the drafty areas around windows and doors will also keep that warm, inside air from escaping (and thus saving you all kinds of money). Weather stripping is another good idea for the gaps in doors and windows, too.

    Other things you can do to prepare for winter is cleaning out your furnace, replace air filters, and have that chimney cleaned out.

     

    Prepare Your Car

    Prepare for WInter...Car PrepThe first really cold or snowy day of winter usually has me searching for my ice scraper. It’s usually hidden somewhere that I can’t remember since I haven’t had to use it all spring, summer, or fall. Before the cold temperatures come, gather together the essentials that you’ll need in one location, so when the frost does come you can easily find it again.

    Summertime is also a good time to stock up on needed supplies and tools for your car, and even a car emergency kit (more on that in a second). Consider replenishing and updating your first aid or emergency kit. Get a shovel for your trunk (the 4-in-1 Mini Folding Shovel even fits in your glove compartment).

     

    Build Your Emergency Kit

    Emergency kits are lifesavers. There are certain things you should have in your winter emergency kits, including items that provide warmth, alternate power, and of course, water and food. Build a 72-hour kit before the storm comes, because once it does, you may not be able to get out. Let me illustrate that with an almost-personal example.

    Prepare for Winter before the stormA number of years ago before we were married, my wife was trapped in her home with her family during a huge ice storm. They couldn’t leave for days because of the slick roads. The power was down and heat was at a premium. Fortunately, they already had what they needed. If they had waited…I can’t imagine how unpleasant that experience would have been. Instead, when she talks about it, she talks as if it were all some grand adventure. Which I’m sure it was, since they were prepared.

    For your vehicle, consider keeping sand (for traction), a shovel, extra blankets, hats, gloves, and other warm clothing, and some emergency food and water rations. Bright colored flags or signs will also help people see you should you get stuck or stranded in a blizzard.

    For your home, the same things should be kept, as well as rock salt for melting ice on walkways. You will most likely be able to have more supplies on hand, since your home is a bit bigger than your car’s trunk, so use it! Plan ahead, and when the storms come, you’ll be ready and you’ll also be able to think of it as a grand adventure rather than a stressful, how-will-we-manage type experience.

     

    While there are plenty of other things you can do to prepare for winter, it really depends upon you, your home and vehicle, and your individual needs. The important thing for you to remember is to prepare for winter. Sure, it’s still super hot outside, but that’s the point of preparing. If you put it off, you may have an unpleasant first storm. If not…well, the snowmen are waiting to be built!

     

    How do you prepare for winter in the summer?

    Posted In: Planning Tagged With: winterize home, winter is coming, prepare for winter, summer, Winter

  • Preparing Pets for Emergencies

    Preparing Pets - FloodIn May 2011, storms and spring runoff combined to produce some of the worst flooding in a century in Memphis, Tennessee. The local government ordered more than 1,300 homes evacuated.

    Some people had to evacuate so fast they left their pets behind. Others took pets but found housing them in hotels was costly – if allowed at all. The American Humane Association, which sponsors an animal rescue group that travels to emergencies, reported it took in 187 animals. It pulled 50 of them from the flooding, including a cat that bore four kittens after its rescue.

    When preparing your family for emergencies, don’t forget pets. Preparing pets is just as important.

     

    ID your pet

    Preparing Pets with TagsYour pets should have current ID tags in case you get separated from them. The Humane Society of the United States suggests putting an out-of-state contact on the back of the tag, since an evacuation might force you out of your home. Pets with microchips in them have been found halfway across the country, so if possible, get your pet microchipped and enroll it in a recovery database, said the Humane Society.

    “If your pet gets lost, his tag is his ticket home,” said ready.gov.

    Once you’ve tagged your pet, make sure you keep its records handy in a waterproof container.

    Your pet’s records should include a veterinary history and name of your veterinarian, feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues, in case you have to board your pets apart from you.

    You need a current photo of you with your pet along with its description. That can help others find your pet and prove it’s yours if you get separated.

     

    Make a pet disaster kit

    “Keep in mind that what's best for you is typically what's best for your animals,” said ready.gov.

    Pets need disaster kits just like people do.

    The Humane Society of the United States has a great checklist for a pet disaster kit.

    It suggests packing food and water for five days (check out our freeze-dried pet food, great for long-term storage). Remember a can opener. Though your pet doesn’t need a gallon of water per day, the checklist recommends keeping an extra gallon of water on hand to clean your pet if it gets exposed to chemicals or flood water. You also need equipment to collect pet waste: a cat litter box with litter and a scoop and garbage bags.

    Preparing Pets with Meds, etc.You should have first aid supplies for your pets as well as for your family, including medicines and a pet first aid book.

    “There are many minor injuries you can deal with at home before going to a vet, especially in an emergency or when you can't get in to see a doctor quickly,” wrote Deann Shepherd, director of communications for the Humane Society of Utah in an email.

    A pet could end up staying in a carrier for hours or longer. The Humane Society of the United States recommends a carrier large enough to allow a pet to stand comfortably, turn around and lie down. Small pets should have a secure cage with blankets or towels for warmth and any species-specific needs. Also bring leashes or harnesses. If possible, a pet’s bed and toys from home are useful to reduce its stress.

    Other useful items include paper towels, trash bags, grooming items, and bleach.

     

    Find a safe place to stay

    Most shelters won’t take pets. See if you can arrange for friends or relatives outside your immediate area to shelter you and your pets, the Humane Society said. If you have more than one pet, you may need to house them in separate places. A kennel or vet’s office might board your pets. Or, though this will be more costly, you can track down a pet-friendly hotel.

    The Humane Society has a list of online resources for pet-friendly hotels, reproduced below. Be aware that many hotels will have a pet surcharge.

     

    Find Pet Friendly Hotels:

    Bringfido.com
    Dogfriendly.com
    Doginmysuitcase.com
    Pet-friendly-hotels.net
    Pets-allowed-hotels.com
    Petswelcome.com
    Tripswithpets.com

     

    As a last resort, ask your local animal shelter if its staff can watch your pet, the Humane Society said. However, be aware that shelters often have limited resources.

     

    Plan for your pet in case you're not home

    Ask a neighbor or nearby family member to take your pets if you’re not at home when there’s a disaster. Give that person a key and show them where your pets are likely to hide and where you keep emergency supplies. Make sure that person knows your pets and vice-versa.

     

    What solutions have you come up with for preparing pets for disasters? Tell us in the comments!

    Posted In: Planning Tagged With: preparing pets, pets, disaster

  • Preparing for Minor Emergencies

    Minor Emergency - Train Derailment This derailed train forced us to evacuate our home.

    When I was a young, budding teenager, we lived on the outskirts of town. Everything to the front of us was houses, subdivisions, and city, but behind us were trees, a farmer’s field, and further still, railroad tracks. One chilly winter evening, we received word that we had to evacuate. As it turned out, a train had derailed and spilled its contents of ammonia.

    5,000 people were ordered from their homes.

    We were definitely unprepared for this abrupt evacuation order, but we just as certainly couldn’t stay home. And, if my memory serves me correctly, we didn’t have too long before we had to be out. Fortunately, we had some relatives on the other side of the city that were out of town, so we were able to stay there for two days until the spill was cleaned up.

    But what might have happened had we not had that familial resource across town? We had no other shelter or way to cook food. We would have been eating at McDonald’s for the next two days (which us kids would have loved), but that most certainly would have strained the family budget.

    Not only that, this happened in the winter time. Up in Canada where I grew up, winters can be brutal. There was no way we could camp out in the family minivan. We were lucky we had somewhere to go.

    This isn’t the kind of disaster we normally worry about. Never in my imagination would I have thought I would have to evacuate my home because a train dumped ammonia everywhere. There are other minor emergencies and disasters we might not consider. Power outages, broken water mains, locking yourself out of your home, medical emergencies, and other situations we just can’t quite comprehend ever happening to us. But, just like the train and ammonia event, we have to be prepared for anything.

    Victoria Gazeley of Modern Homesteading suggests that if you’ve been preparing for major disasters, it’s highly likely that you have a lot of what you need for the smaller, more minor emergencies. Power outages are a more common occurrence than ammonia spills, but are you ready for one of those?

    Minor Emergencies - Power OutageJust in case of a power outage (or other minor emergency), Gazeley recommends having a backup method for cooking food, like a Kelly Kettle. The Optimus Polaris Stove is another great alternative option for cooking when the power goes out. Alternate sources of light, power, heat, and water are also important resources to store. Check out the Government of Canada’s site for more information on preparing for power outages.

    These resources are not only good for power outages, but a host of other minor emergencies as well. Remember, a huge tornado or a massive earthquake aren’t the only things that can come in and disrupt your life. While it is still important to prepare for those major disasters, take the steps necessary to ensure that you will also be prepared for minor emergencies as well. When there’s a proverbial ammonia spill, the time to prepare has ended.

     

    How have you prepared for minor emergencies? Let us know in the comments!

    Posted In: Planning Tagged With: ammonia spill, minor emergencies, power outage, evacuation

  1. 1-3 of 929 items

Please wait...