Yesterday, I came home to a pitch black neighborhood and it stayed that way until after I went to bed. It was nice for an evening to sit out on my patio with some take-out, a glass of wine, a book, a bunch of candles, and listening to the sounds of kids playing and grown-ups gossiping. However, having to pick up food from a restaurant made me realize how poorly I’m prepared for an emergency. I grew up in hurricane territory and when a big one hit, my mother was ready. Yes it was stressful, but we always had food to eat, water to drink, and a way to stay in touch with the outside.
While I love eating mostly whole foods made from scratch, that means I have almost nothing that could count as a meal that’s shelf stable. I was afraid to open my refrigerator for fear of speeding up the spoiling process, but even if I could all I had was leftovers to be heated in the microwave, or food that needed to be cooked, and my stove was off limits. The same holds true for my pantry. My only canned goods are veggies, sauces, and jams and those hardly count as a full meal. Of course, if I had a camping stove or grill, I could’ve prepared something, and saved myself $8.25 in take-out last night.
Fortunately, when I got to the restaurant they had just gotten their own power back up and could sell me food and charge it to my debit card. But, I’ve been in long term power outages, and often stores will open without electricity so long as you could pay in cash. My cash reserves are usually tapped by the end of every month. I also realized that my only phone charger needs to be plugged into the wall. Heck, I don’t have a battery powered radio for listening to emergency announcements.
There are a few things I do well in disaster prep. I do keep a case of bottled water handy for drinking water and I know where a flashlight is in every room. Unfortunately, many of those flashlights now have dead batteries. And while this is more due to girly-ness than preparedness, I’ve got candles and lighters in every room as well. In addition, should I have to leave, I have all my important documents in one location and stuff for my dog is easy to get to.
So now I have a few more goals. Immediately, I should set part of my savings aside in cash for a ready supply, pick up some shelf-stable food at Costco, like protein or granola bars, and refresh my battery supply. Longer term, I’m going to keep my eyes open for an affordable camp stove (a grill won’t fit on my postage sized patio) and a battery powered radio.
Are you ready for an emergency?