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Ahhh… it’s been a busy week as we’ve been trying to get back into the school routine and trying to keep an eye on a storm that was headed our way. Earlier in the week, our fears were confirmed and now every county in the state has been declared a state of emergency. The models have been changing almost every time I check for an update and the latest ones I have seen are predicting that it will be a Category 4 by the time it makes landfall south of where we are.
Needless to say, there are a lot of people panicking and some evacuating. Many Floridians, like ourselves, will be staying and weathering out the storm. This means that we need to be prepared for at least a week without power. Maybe that doesn’t sound too bad for some of us who may enjoy those camping trips but if you aren’t prepared for this it could be a disaster. The little town where I grew up was known for power outages that lasted a week or longer at a time. They could happen in the dead of winter so we learned to be prepared.
What are we doing to prepare?
As far as food goes we have been keeping the pantry stocked with canned foods and dry goods. We also have a good supply of freezer meals that can be reheated on the grill or over a campfire. If we had a gas stove cooking wouldn’t be such an issue but ours is electric. We also have a huge supply of frozen PB&Js ready to go. I also try to keep some dry, canned, and/or shelf-stable milk stocked so we have it for emergencies.
Yesterday I did a Walmart Grocery Pickup for a few items. We also stocked up on some fresh fruits & veggies, snack items, and bread from the bread store. Most of the bread went into the freezers to keep longer. I had planned on filling up with gas as well but that didn’t happen. The stores in our area are already experiencing gas and water shortages as everyone is racing to prepare for this potential disaster.
Luckily we already had some bottled water in our pantry as well as quite a bit in the freezer. After our hurricane experience when we first moved here we began freezing water in empty milk jugs and keeping it in the bottom of the freezer. This can serve two purposes as it will help to keep the freezer cooler longer and the jugs can be defrosted for drinking or cooking. We also have our wonderful Berkey water system that we use to filter our drinking and cooking water.
In addition to food and water, I stocked up on some disposable plates, silverware, and napkins. We already had plenty of toilet paper and paper towels from our last Sam’s Club run. I double-checked all of our hygiene supplies and medications (being cooped up for days on end can give anyone a MAJOR headache!) to make sure we had everything else we needed and grabbed some baby wipes (and a pack of cleaning wipes) to use in case we are out of power for a bit. We have a HUGE container of hand sanitizer in the bathroom that will also come in handy if we lose power.
We do have a couple of generators that we will get put in place so we can be prepared if/when the power does go out. We have used these before to get the water pump and to help keep the fridges and freezers going. We started them up last month to make sure everything was in working order as well and I believe that the guys have a couple of cans of gas for them but we probably need to check on that as well as checking the propane tanks for the grills.
Yesterday I had the kids do a quick pick up in the yard and on the porch so we could corral any loose toys and debris. We will put a couple of larger items like picnic tables and chairs in a building tomorrow. When the winds start blowing anything can be a potential missile.
This weekend I will be making sure everyone and everything gets a quick scrubbing, including the dog. When the power goes out and things heat up EVERYTHING can begin to STINK! I’ll probably try to squeeze in another load of laundry, if possible, I’m not sure if the weather will be good for hanging out clothes or not. The house will definitely get a quick HOME BLESSING beforehand just to make sure it is a clean and odor-free as possible. I will also be making a couple of gallons of sweet tea and a thermos or two of coffee to have on hand. I may try to do a quick written inventory of our freezers and outside fridge to keep close by in the event of an extended power outage so I will have an idea of what we need to get cooked.
The kids have had a few lessons this week on EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS as well as learning about the weather. We also had a couple of Skill Trek lessons that taught about hurricanes and emergency preparedness. I may or may not copy some worksheets to have on hand for next week. We do have plenty of books to read, coloring pages, and board games to keep them busy if we are without power.
Most of all I have been praying for everyone in the path of the storm because we always need prayers. I have also been praying for the thousands of first responders who will be on call during this time. I have two kids in the National Guard who have already been activated and I know there are many other Mommas out there who are worrying about their family members. I try not to worry and just leave it in God’s hands but sometimes the fear and worry sneak in unexpectedly.
Even if we don’t lose power we may find that we can not travel to and from locations. When that first storm hit us after we moved we were able to take a ride on the four-wheeler were we saw the devastation around us. All around us, within a mile or two, roads were blocked and flooded. Many houses were flooded to the point that you could only see the roofs. In the floodwaters, you could see toys and other household items floating here and there. It was a very sad thing to see and experience and my heart hurts to think of all those who lost so much in the past and those who stand to lose so much in the upcoming days.
All in all, we are trying to continue on with life as normal as tonight we have a dance and tomorrow we have a meeting to attend. I plan to continue adding to our emergency preparations just as I have over the past couple of years, a little at a time. We ask for your prayers for all those who may be affected by this storm and we are praying for you if you happen to be in the storm’s path.
If you need more information please check out these links or check with your local agencies for assistance.