Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Single Father’s Guide to Natural Disasters (Time-Permitting) Checklist - Part II

In Part I of The Single Father’s Guide to Natural Disasters (Time-Permitting) Checklist, I included FEMA’s list of items that everyone should have ready in the case of sudden natural disaster. Preparation and planning for the unplanned event must be the foundation to keeping you and your family safe. However, if you have a little warning, there’s even more a guy can do to make “Ridin' the Storm Out” a little more palatable.

Assuming you’re not in an evacuation zone, The Single Father’s Guide to Natural Disasters (Time-Permitting) Checklist includes a few additional ideas to make sure the single dad is ready for the impending calamity:

1)       Stock your shelves: Grab plenty of non-perishable food items including water, canned goods, and staples in case flooding or other consequences of the disaster prevent you (or suppliers’ deliveries) from getting to the grocery store. If you have a generator to keep your refrigerator and freezer running, buy other stuff, too.

2)      Finish those relevant minor repairs and projects: If you haven’t already done it, clean or repair gutters, test your sump pump, and stow any patio furniture or other items that might be blown away, washed away, or otherwise damaged.

3)      Top-off your heating fuel: Unless you have natural gas, make sure that heating oil, kerosene, or propane tanks are filled so you don’t have to worry about heat, hot water, and cooking until your energy distributor’s trucks can get back on the road. If you happen live in a floodplain, your tank is also less likely to float away if it's full.

4)     Get your barbecue grill propane tank filled: In case electricity and other services are interrupted, you may have to shift into camping mode and cook your meals on the barbecue for a few days.
No Electricity? Go Camping.

5)      Fill your automobile tank and approved containers with gasoline: If power loss is protracted, local filling stations may be inoperable or may sell out of gasoline before transports can refill the underground storage tanks. In the meantime, you may still need to drive to work, to the doctor, or someplace else. If you have a gasoline generator, fill it, test it, and have at least a day’s gasoline on hand. For your safety, use only approved gasoline containers.

6)     Charge batteries in electronic devices: Although electronics like hand-held games can be an undesirable distraction from your childrens’ homework during the school week, they can be a welcome distraction for them and, indirectly, for you during unscheduled days away from school when there is no electricity and they can't go outside to play. Make sure the batteries in all your e-readers, gaming devices, and computers are 100%.

7)      Do your laundry: If electricity goes, then so does your washing machine and, if you have a well and an electric pump, so does your water. It’s always nice to have all of your and your kids’ clothes out of the hamper, clean, and back in drawers.

8)     Build a fire: If you have an alternate heat source, make sure it’s ready to go. Wood stove, pellet stove, or even a fire place: have it ready to go even if winter temperatures haven’t yet reached you. Temperature can change quickly.

Some of these tasks are universal; they apply to most if not all of us. Obviously, a single family home owner's list may differ slightly from that of a renter or a condo owner, but adjust and adapt the Checklist as necessary.

Getting all of this stuff done takes some time. Even though some impending disasters, like Frankenstorm, provide some warning, time is still not in ample supply. Tomorrow, in the Part III of The Single Father’s Guide to Natural Disasters (Time-Permitting) Checklist, I’ll include a little, but important, time saving tip to help insure you’re able to do everything you want to do before the cold wind starts to blow.

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