Things to add to your emergency list
By William F. Mennell
This is a response to Carol Vrooman’s guest editorial in last week’s Ramona Sentinel.
In answer to your question, “Did we miss anything?” Yes.
For starters, water. If the power supply had been off longer, odds are good that the pumps for your supply would stop, and so would your water. Or, the next emergency may be a water line break, which can take days to fix, or a large fire (as we all know) when all available water is used to fight the fire, like during the Witch Creek fire.
Most people thinking about stored water think about drinking water, but what about flushing the toilet? Even if you have a 1.2 gallon per flush toilet, a five-gallon supply would give you only four flushes. Well, you get the picture.
I have heard that 86 percent of Californias do not smoke. So they don’t have lighters, and most modern stoves and ovens have electronic “pilots.” Put a pack of good matches with every candle (out of reach of small children), which should be in all bathrooms, bedrooms and living/dining rooms. Everyone should be able to find them in the dark.
Medical supplies and meds. Clinics and hospitals will be real busy, on generators, so sometimes you may just be on your own, for small issues anyway. And the pharmacies will probably be closed.
It seems to me that just about everyone in Ramona has a dog. So have extra dog food, and carrying case in the event of necessary evacuation.
If you are not on a cable provider bundle, an “old-fashioned” phone that does not plug in. Most phones these days record messages, etc. so need to be plugged in to work. During the last power outage, my cell provider’s server was jammed full, so it stopped working. But the phone lines still worked (for necessary calls only!).
A battery-powered radio is good, but a wind-up is better. Batteries eventually die. And a wind-up can charge a cell phone IF you have the right cord to hook it up, so get that, too.
Did you say flashlights? (and a battery-powered lantern) with extra batteries for them and your radio. Know where they are. Often, we don’t use them every day, and the batteries can fade over time. Check them every once in a while (like when the time changes, just like your smoke detectors).
A battery-powered clock.
Make sure your lawn mower gas can, if full, is also good. It will give you an extra two gallons if needed.
Have an emergency pack already in your car or truck.
Your plan should include putting a ribbon or something on the refrigerator door, to remind you not to open it any more than absolutely necessary, and, when you do, know what you need, get it quickly and get out.
Have some games or good books so you will have something to do if the outage takes a long time. Notice the schools were closed? As late as 1920, most rural homes did not have electricity, so go into a 19th century mode. You might as well have some fun with it.
There may be other things specific to your needs, so think about anything that you could need, in a variety of emergency situations. You could run a drill, pretending any number of things that could go wrong. We never know when or what the next “emergency” may be.
William F. Mennell of Mennell’s Trail Head Adventures is a Ramona resident.
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