Yes folks, it's that time of year again. That time when you realize too late that you are out of milk, bread, and eggs...and of course it's the night before a snow storm hits. This happened to us last night. I realized suddenly that Mr. B was out of food. He's quite picky, and has a limited number of items he will eat. He was down to oatmeal and a few smiley face potatoes. He had pepperoni, too. But he can't eat that kind of stuff late at night, or in large quantities due to other health needs. So I emailed M a rather long store list that included, among a bunch of other things, milk, bread, and toilet paper. He had just gotten off work, and I sprang the email on him. Poor guy. I hadn't thought about it being rush hour after work just before a snow storm. I guess you could say, it wasn't on my radar! (See what I did there?!) So um...yeah. He was battling the Big Blue Box Store the eve before the snow.
I am usually much more "disaster ready" than this. I always keep tons of toilet paper on hand. Because, lets face it, few things could be worse than diarrhea with no toilet paper, and no way to get it. Amiright?! I am. So yeah, paranoia at play. I also usually have an extra 3 days of his meds, and a week's worth of food for him. But with flu and norovirus season upon us, I've stayed in the house. Ain't nobody got time for that! So yes, I am always prepared....except this time haha.
How do you prepare? What do you do?
I have certain things I always keep on hand, both at home and in the car. With out of state dr's visits all the time, and autism on the home front, we HAVE to stay prepared.
2.) MEDS! Meds are important. I ALWAYS make sure we have at least 3 days dose, and a week preferably. It's hard when insurance will only allow a refill a day or two in advance, and snow is coming. But we do our best. He has a couple of different options, so we are blessed that way.
3.) Activities. Yes, playing in the snow is fun. But it's also cold, wet, and leads to colds. And you can't very well play in the snow if you are stuck on the highway in it! For home, I make sure we have a lot of hands on activity kits, books, and DVDs in case the cable goes out. Board games and candles are perfect for power outages. In the car, he has books, activity books, and electronic games that occupy him when we are stuck.
4.) STAY WARM! We are looking into whole house generators, but right now the cost is prohibiting me from getting one. I NEED one since power outages are a huge trigger for his autism...but alas, I've not been able to afford it. (Any Generac people want a product review? I'll write up the BEST review ever for a Generac! Just saying....) But yes, warmth is so needed given his immune system. We have a kerosene heater that uses K1...and as much as it terrifies me given his sensory issues, and impulse issues, we have to stay warm and use it when the power goes out. I also have lots of blankets, warm PJs, and we keep things like handwarmers on hand that can be stuffed into clothing for warmth. In the car, I keep a coat for him all the time, and blankets.
5.) Keep the car fueled up. If you are stuck on the highway during snow, that's bad. If you are stuck on the highway, 50 miles from home with 1/4 tank of gas...that's worse. I always fill up before leaving, and when we get to 1/2 tank I fill up again. If I'm not even down to 1/2 tank, I always fill up before getting on the freeway since the one we take has limited stops for gas, and I don't want to be stuck in the middle and run out.
6.) Think safety. Keep an emergency kit in your car at all times, not just in the winter. I frequently drive 3-6 hours one way for his appts. That's a LOT of distance covered. I keep blankets, water, food, jumper cables, basic tools, spare tire (check the air in those!) medical/1st aid kits all in the car. I also have extra oil. windshield washer fluid, and stuff to clean the windshield. Once I was out and a semi in front of me blew an oil line. It sprayed oil all over my windshield! Fortunately, I was near a service station so I was able to go in and grab a bottle of Dawn dish detergent and use that mixed with their windshield stuff to clear my windows. Another lady wasn't as fortunate and had 0 money on her. I shared the love of my Dawn, and helped her, which leads me to my next prep...
7.) HAVE CASH ON HAND! I can't say that enough. Debit cards and checks have their place, but I've only had 1 instance where cash wasn't accepted, and it was a 6th floor hotel vending machine. Have cash on hand in the event a storm causes stores or gas stations to not be able to accept cards. Same for restaurants. It's good to keep cash in different place, too, if you are going out and about. your purse, locked in your glove box, your shoe...whatever. Just don't keep it all in one place for obvious reasons. Keep enough so that you can get gas, grab a bite to eat, and get help. Even better if you can cover that plus the cost of a new tire if needed.
8.) Keep cell phones charged, and have extra back up "pocket juice" style chargers charged too. That way you can maintain contact, get assistance and help, and weather reports if needed.
9.) Know where everyone is, and keep your shoes near by. In the event of a tornado, put your shoes ON. That way you aren't trying to walk through debris barefoot. Know where everyone is, even in the house, so that if the power goes out you can find them in the dark. Have a plan in place for such events.
10.) GLOW STICKS ARE AWESOME! They really go a long way into providing needed light. They are cheap. And, they are easy to use. I keep several around my bed post, and we have them in our "go bag." It's great to use one on a string as a necklace for each kid so that you can find them, just make sure they "breakaway" easy so that the child doesn't hang themselves on accident. Exercise EXTREME caution anytime your kid has anything around their neck!
These are just a few things we do to stay prepared. Each family will have their own unique set of needs, so it's best to create a preparedness plan for yourself, keeping in mind these tips and tricks!