Monday, September 20, 2010

What if?

Imagine being without running water or electricity. Imagine you have only several gallons of water to use. What would you use the water for? Drinking? Absolutely! Cooking? Of course? Washing dishes? Well, if you must. However, how much better it would be if you could save the water for an absolute necessity.

We’ve experimented with living without running water just to see what we would do first. If you have a baby or young children in the home, they definitely need water for their care. We all need water to drink and to cook with. But laundry and washing dishes would be a luxury. Here are some things that we have learned:
1) One of the hardest things to do without running water is brush your teeth. Experiment and see how much water it takes to brush your teeth.
2) You can take a sponge bath or clean up with a wash cloth and a cup or two of water.
3) Plastic knives, forks and spoons (sturdy) and paper plates will be a lifesaver so you don’t have to wash dishes. It's also a good idea for everyone to have a plastic cup with their name on it that they can use more than once.
4) When you know there is no running water, it is surprising how much thirstier you are. It’s a great idea to store bottled drinking water as well.
5) Paper towels, though not a necessity, are very helpful.
6) Baby wipes or anti bacterial hand wipes are an awesome way to make sure your hands and face are clean. Especially if you are the one preparing the food. It’s is surprising how many times we turn on the water just to rinse or wash our hands.
7) Aluminum foil is a great aid in cooking or baking. Food can be cooked in it, eliminating the need to wash another pan. Baking sheets or pans can be lined with it as well.
8) If showering or bathing is limited, extra socks and underwear can be helpful.
9) It is extremely important that you have alternate cooking methods. A cook stove is probably the most efficient. If you have a way to heat a can of soup or make pancakes, etc. you can survive okay. This will also help to keep you warm. Think of the different weather extremes as you plan your cooking and heating sources. You may be able to build a fire outside to cook your dinner, unless you have extreme wet or snowy weather. Do you have fuel stored such as firewood, matches etc.?
10) Do you have lighting, like oil lamps etc.? It gets dark awfully early in the wintertime.
11) Make sure that you have extra warm blankets for every member of your family. The blankets and quilts, warm socks, slippers and warm clothing that we normally wear would not be adequate in extreme conditions. Take an inventory to find out what you have on hand for each family member and how much more you need. Does each member of your family have their own warm sleeping bag in case you were forced to leave your home or even if you are just at home without electricity?
12) Keep on hand some high energy foods that require no cooking for an emergency. If the emergency lasts for an extended period of time this will give you an opportunity to get yourself ready for an extended emergency, if you and your family have some snacks that will keep them from being hungry and scared until you get things figured out. Granola bars, beef and cheese sticks, peanut butter crackers, cereal bars, etc. are great for the first while in an emergency.
13) Keep your 72 hour kit up to date and the food in it rotated for when you actually need it. A flashlight for each child is reassuring. Chewing gum is comforting. Plan for each person in your family’s individual needs.

Plan for the worse and hope for the best. One of the most common reasons that we struggle with being prepared is that because we are basically optimistic, we don’t really believe that anything is ever going to happen that we’ll need what we’ve prepared. Having been through a disaster myself, and having to evacuate with just a few moments notice, I can tell you that one of the hardest things when you are left with only the clothes on your back and the things that you took with you, is that little voice in the back of your mind that keeps saying, why didn’t you take this or grab that. How come I didn’t prepare for this? I wish I had….the list will be a mile long, I promise.
I can almost guarantee at at some point in your life you will face some kind of emergency. It may be a short term one and things will quickly get back to normal or it may be life changing. But the worst part, other than seeing your kids go hungry or without, will be your feelings that you have failed your family by your lack of preparedness.
*I have included the link to one of my favorite sites for buying snacks (beef and cheese sticks) for our 72 hour kits and just to have on hand for an emergency. These are good and provide some protein. I scroll down to the “Trail's Best Vend” section and get the 1.125 oz. beef and cheese stick combo. These are great for any occasion. The more you buy the cheaper they are. A great idea is to go in with several friends and buy them by the case. I think you even get free shipping depending on how much you buy. Check it out!

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