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Are You Ready?

Emergency kit

There’s a huge winter storm coming! It’s shaking people up to see just about all of the United States east of Cheyenne Wyoming with some kind of winter storm watch or warning. Weathermen are predicting freezing rain, sleet, snow, ice and then powerful winds. This storm is expected to hit central Indiana over the next two days. In fact portions of our area are receiving freezing rain RIGHT NOW.

This has prompted many people to get prepared. . . are YOU prepared?

It only takes 1/2 inch of ice buildup on the lines to bring them down, especially if there is high winds causing them to sway and tree branches to fall. Ice storms are known for causing wide-spread power outages, so it is wise to prepare. If you hear “popping” or see sparking and wires down — stay away and keep others away and call your electric company or 911 immediately. (some phone numbers at the end of this post).  If you are in your car and the line falls on it. Do NOT leave the car unless told to do so by emergency personnel.

Are you and your family ready if your power should go out during this winter storm? Have you talked with your kids and have an emergency plan in place ? If you were told that you must be out of the house “NOW” (gas leak, fire, evacuation) would you be ready?

The American Red Cross says you can prepare by putting together a disaster supply kit, to be used in your home in the event of an emergency, and a “go kit,” which is something you would take with you if you need to evacuate to a shelter.

Your disaster supply kit at home could include such things as:

  • at least 3-day supply of food (ideally eaten w/o heating, granola bars, cheese and crackers, cereals, etc. — don’t forget the can opener if you have canned goods)
  • possible food-heat source, (ie. gel fuel, propane for outdoor cooking only)
  • water at least a gallon a day
  • first aid kit,
  • flashlights and batteries.
  • heating sources- candles, tea lights, lanterns, (+ matches in water proof cont.)
  • Warm Blankets and clothing.

I.D. and Documentation. Always being sure that everyone is carrying some kind of Identification. You can have fun and create one for your kids with an index card and their photo, name, your name and cell phone number.  Also, it is good to create a secret word to know if someone is claiming to be taking them to you.

Remember that with power out… you will not be able to CHARGE you cell phone or mobile devices. Many people have all there important phone numbers stored electronically, so it is wise to transfer important contact information, accounts etc. into a small address book or notebook that you keep in your purse or on your person.

A digital camera (with extra batteries) may be of great use if you suffer some damage from the storm. I ALWAYS carry one with a set of extra batteries for it. This is especially important for capturing and documenting news as it happens. I keep my cell phone for only communication not photos.

Our First Aid Tackle Box

A “Go-Kit” (can be grabbed if you must evacuate in a hurry or go to shelter) . Place the following type items in a rolling suitcase or backpack:

  • bedding,
  • clothing for all family members, Warm & weatherproof
  • medications,
  • personal care items,
  • toys or books for the kids and snacks.
  • a notebook/folder with important addresses, phone numbers, & accts. info & key family photos.

Dog Bucket to Go

Don’t forget your PET Emergency family needs: (We keep ours in a five gallon bucket always ready in case of emergency evacuation.

  • food Lg. ziplocs work well
  • and water for your animal (reused gal. juice container)
  • leashes and collars (be sure I.D. tag is on animal)
  • toys, blanket, brush or comb, ziplocs for cleanup
  • extra rope is always good to have for tie up or makeshift muzzle.

If you plan on using a grill, make sure it stays outside. Don’t operate it in a garage or a basement due to carbon monoxide and fire concerns.

Get Ready:

  • Fill your gas tank
  • Charge cell phones
  • Have extra cash
  • Stock non-perishable food
  • Consider back-up methods for food/water, heat and lighting
  • Have ice melt and non-clumping kitty litter on hand for melting and traction.

Electrical Power Providers:

IPL power outages.  To report an outage or a downed power line, please call 317.261.8111 or 317.261.8222 or toll-free at 1.888.261.8222. or 911 if an emergency.

Duke Energy outages. If you see a fallen power line, call Duke Energy at 1-800-343-3525 and select Option 2 or contact your local emergency services immediately.

Vectren outages. Call (800) 227-1376 to report an outage or downed line.

These are just suggestions based on my understanding of what the American Red Cross and local news reporters are suggesting, along with personal experience. Using your own common sense trumps it all. The purpose of this post is simply to prompt you to ready yourselves and consider items you may not have thought of.

I very much welcome other personal suggestions that you would make. What kind of experiences have you had with emergencies that caused you to better prepare for the future? Please feel free to send a comment and I will post it if it is helpful.

Now, people … get ready!