Sometimes we receive weather “gifts” we do not want – too much rain and wind. Or, we don’t get the gift of rain we do want. In extremes we have floods, high winds or forest fires instead. Depending on how widespread and severe, there can be extended power outages lasting more than a day or two.
Emergency preparedness is not specifically the niche of Green Kitchens, although our focus on the topic of ‘kitchen resilience’ does overlap. Having a functional kitchen is more than just a convenience when stores are sold out of necessities and restaurants are closed.
This Season’s Preps
Our own family gets a little better at being prepared each time we go into hurricane season. Last year we had a special plug installed for our generator. This year, in order to be able to keep the generator going for more than a few days, we have added extra 5 gallon gas cans to be filled if need be. The goal now is to have enough gas to run the generator for up to one week. We wish we had a solar refrigerator/freezer, but we don’t – yet. So we are storing some extra dry goods and canned goods. Our home doesn’t have a duel hand pump installed alongside our electric well pump – yet. So we are saving up a few dozen more gallon jugs for drinking water. The generator we have will power only the refrigerator and the well, but not the AC or stove. Charcoal is often sold out before a hurricane and it is not something we ever normally use. So instead of a charcoal grill we got a BioLite portable smokeless wood burning cookstove. This little stove is more versatile because it provides one concentrated “burner” to boil water for making coffee and cooking, and converts to a grill for grilling. Plus there is an endless free supply of twig and branch litter kindling. It’s thermal generator will charge our cell phones. Of course, we have candles, lanterns, and batteries for flashlights and a portable radio.
Most families naturally would prefer to hunker down and stay home. However, in case of evacuation orders it’s smart to have a plan in place. Last year during Hurricane Irma every local hotel and motel was filled and not a vacancy could be found anywhere in North Central Florida. We had no plan then, so have now made one. Should the need to evacuate arise, out-of-state relatives have room for us and have agreed to be our destination if needed. All of our most important papers are already in a small portable fireproof safe that could be loaded in literally two minutes.
No need to reinvent the wheel
The above highlights of our family’s basic emergency preparations is by no means meant as a guide. There are many books, agency websites and pamphlets that comprehensively cover emergency preparedness and also include checklists. Our local power company thankfully mails out an emergency preparedness pamphlet at the start of every hurricane season. It is a great reminder to take heed because it “tis the season”. For a more in-depth coverage of emergency preparedness there are four highly recommended books about this topic on Green Kitchens “Eco-Books” page.
Sweden’s recently distributed civil defense leaflet
Sweden’s government just last month issued to all 4.8 million Swedish households a comprehensive 20 page Civil Defense leaflet on emergency preparedness. It was printed in multiple languages including English. The leaflet was issued because of increasing political tensions in bordering countries. The “Home preparedness tips” checklist at the bottom of this article is an excerpt. In the leaflet’s forward it is stated: “If you are prepared, you are contributing to improving the ability of the country to cope with a major strain.”
People don’t think about hurricanes on sunny days
If FEMA had published and distributed such a booklet in advance of Hurricane Maria it would have gotten people thinking about their vulnerability. Then even if only some people had gotten themselves been better prepared, it would have helped to avert at least some of the devastating consequences due to the lack of community supplies during the aftermath.
Emergency Preparedness IS Insurance
Here in the U.S. we have homeowners insurance, health insurance, car insurance and life insurance available to each of us for prices offered, but none of these provide one bit of help during a crisis. Home preparedness is actually another form of insurance which will help to cover us during any “major strain”. The difference is it does take quite a bit more personal effort to complete an emergency preparedness upgrade than just writing a check.
If not already done, it would be smart for all U.S. householders, their neighborhoods, and their communities to take the initiative upon themselves to put a reasonable amount of focus on “emergency preparedness”.
Source: Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency; Swedish Civil Defense Guide; Publ. no.: MSB1214 – May 2018; pages 10 – 11; https://www.msb.se/Upload/Forebyggande/Krisberedskap/Krisberedskapsveckan/Fakta%20om%20broschyren%20Om%20krisen%20eller%20Kriget%20kommer/If%20crises%20or%20war%20comes.pdf
Article Reference: The Guardian; Sweden distributes ‘be prepared’ leaflet to every home, 21 May 2018; https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/21/sweden-distributes-be-prepared-for-war-cyber-terror-attack-leaflet-to-every-home