Need Advice Emergency Preparedness for the Family


Hello all!

I got thinking tonight about being prepared for an emergency.
We have aobut 7 days of food and water and some candles, battery operated lanterns, wind up radio, mini stove, etc.

However, we are supposed to have a wicked ice storm here for the next 2 days and the BIG problem is if the power goes out! We have a gas stove so that should be fine but electric runs the furnace and the sump pump.

We can’t afford a generator at this time so to make a long story short…

What are your suggestions for keeping warm if the power goes out? (and snuggling as a family only goes so far :wink: )



Extra heavy blankets and plastic to cover the windows/insulate them. That will leave more heat in the house. Also, if there are certain rooms that are always exceptionally cold (a family member’s house is one of the bedrooms and the bathroom), then keep those doors closed at all times. If it happens to be someone’s room that is always extremely cold, then that person can sleep on the floor in the living room. Obviously, the room that has the most comfy furniture without a lot of open space, usually will have good “self producing/protecting” heat. If you’re limited on blankets/plastic to insulate the windows, then start with the windows where the wind most effects the window and the room (in my house it’s the south east corner that gets the brunt of the shivers from the wind and the windows).


Also shut as many doors as you can – keep yourselves in a small space which will heat faster (I recommend a room with a bathroom attached… cold toilet seats, yai).

Stock up on water – fill up the bathtub, get pots out and fill them too, and keep them someplace which will stay above freezing. Leave a faucet dripping for your pipes; but there’s still the possibility of a main rupture, and then you’re out of luck for a while.

The gas stove is good, but those pipes can break too – and it can also be dangerous, especially if you’re running around in the dark with candles. Keep an eye on the pilot at all times – if it goes out while the gas is on, kill the stove. You don’t want to suffocate without noticing.

And get matches and a few cigarette lighters!


Dress in layers and keep active if the heat goes out. Make sure you have take food safety precautions. Seeing that your in NY, I’m sure there probably could be emergency shelters if the power is out too long, even if your in a rural area atleast your not in Central Nebraska!

Oh make sure there is gas in the car, oil is checked, and all other basic maintenance is good. If you do have to leave and it is a major emergency event, watch out for down power lines.


do nut turn on your gas stove and open the door for heat, and do not run a kerosene or propane heater indoors without ventilation. burning wood in a conventional fireplace pulls more hot air out than it helps. in these situations many people die from CO poisoning who could have lived perfectly fine without the heat. before the storm comes, consolidate one place, the warmest spot in the house, for basic living and sleeping, close off distant rooms.

in Michigan many people have a franklin stove for such emergenies, which is vented by pipe to outside, heats a room well and has a top that can be used for cooking. burn hardwood, not pine or charcoal that makes more fumes. There still needs to be some ventilation for draw and safety.

fill a clean 30-50 gallon garbage can with water and get a bucket to use for flushing the toilet, and do this at least 2-3 times a day to keep line from freezing. don’t cook with charcoal or other fuel that causes fumes in an unventilated area. stock up on non-perishable foods that don’t need heating. get twice as many water bottles as you think you need, do it now before there is a run on the stores. you can also fill up all the pitchers, pans and jars you have with water now.

when you are out get some baby wipes and packets of personal “bath” wipes that are used in hospitals after surgery, so everyone can clean themselves from time to time if this goes on for a week or more. In-laws just went through this in Seattle, no power for a week, and personal hygeine was their biggest complaint!. stock up on Rx meds, get refills, baby supplies etc.


Visualize camping out … inside the house.

Ski jackets and gloves.

Sleeping bags.

Fill the tub with water ( with a plastic liner ) for an emergency water supply. Ration that water. No baths. Minimal flushing.

Be mentally prepared to do stuff in daytime when there is natural light. Be mentally prepared to go to bed early, when the sun goes down, to conserve candles and lanterns.

Candles, by the way, (and any open flame) are EXTREMELY dangerous. If one tips over, the house could burn down. Besides the soot from the candle dirties up the ceiling.

Instead of candles, use lanterns with batteries. Cabella’s and Sportsmen sell all kinds of lanterns. We found some flashlights that have a folding tripod on the bottom and a tilting head on top, with a switch that has settings for full, partial, or off.

Have rechargeable batteries available and keep them charged. Use LED flashlights and lanterns instead of lights with bulbs as LED’s only use 5% of the power of incandescent bulbs, and the batteries will last 20 times longer. The batteries will lose their charge eventually, so they have to be checked monthly and recharged. LED “bulbs” last almost forever … like 20 years and you don’t have to be concerned about their burning out.

Buy some MRE entrees. MRE’s actually taste pretty good and can be eaten cold. Buy some Tabasco sauce for those who require flavor “enhancement”.

Some tarps in case a window breaks or there’s a roof leak.

Have a deck of playing cards and some board games … Monopoly, etc… Learn to play “Battleship” on paper.


There is a government sponsored website with template plans and good lists of what to include in your plan. The website is ready dot gov. Good thinking getting ready- you never know what can happen!


I wonder if you’re getting the ice storm we just went through here in the midwest. A lot of people are out of power in Springfield, MO. Not fun.


…in western NY…yes…the trees have been slowly bending lower and lower since daybreak. I expect to hear some gunshot sounds soon as limbs and trunks begin to snap.

I’m not aware of any power outages yet but that is still a good possibility.

Fortunately I have whole house generator power so I can remain comfortable and in touch with what is happening.

LynieLew…be sure to keep everyone’s head covered with hats… heads are the number one place for heat loss.


Get to know your neighbors - during ice storms here, there seem to be some houses nearby that HAVE electricity. Last ice storm, we were that somebody who still had power - and we had neighbors sleeping on our floor, coming over to cook and to take showers…


In addition to all the recommendations here:

Flashlights, all sorts, with batteries unless they are the Faraday Effect ones, or the Russian ones with the squeeze handles.

Glow Sticks.

At least you won’t need ice if the power goes out. Just get some garbage bags and a clean shovel.:wink:


There is an outstanding TV show called “Survivorman” … a fellow who maroons himself and a couple of TV cameras in the boonies. He has to survive for seven days with nothing except what he has in his pockets (plus his “Multi-tool”). He has to find water and food, build a shelter and make fire.

Very interesting. It’s repeated quite a bit.

Virtually a training film for survival for the average person under extreme conditions.

He also did an urban disaster survival program after Hurricane Katrina.

I will try to find a link for you.

[Of interest, on the TV show “Mythbusters” they attempted to make fire using a variety of techniques and failed with every one. Yet the fellow on “Survivorman” uses all of the techniques routinely … “almost” with ease.]

His name is Les Stroud. And here is the link to the Web site:


Now if you have those cases of tuna, for the bird flu…

Well it’s a good time to try to get a disaster kit together. I’m sure some thought some of the prep stuff for bird flu was a bit over the top. Never the less, it’s a good idea, cause you never know when disaster can strike.

Hey Al, I see that survivor man is on Discovery Health a lot. I agree it’s a good show to watch.


THere is another show with the same premise with a young English fellow. I am not sure but it is also great!
Last week she stranded himself in the Amazon!


I think the English fellow is Ray Mears.


I found it! His name is Bear Grylls and he has a show called Man vs. Wild on the Discovery channel.

It is a fantastic show.


Has anybody mentioned bandages—not just band-aids or the like, but the ones which you can wrap around a big wound—if your are in a snow storm or something, it might take an ambulance quite a while to get to your home. You might want to consider first aid training before the next time a snow storm hits as well. What about a cell phone?

BTW, where may I find MREs? Do they have them at Target?


MREs can be purchased from camping supply stores and on line.

Sportsman’s Guide has them.

In today’s mail, there was a catalog from Brigade Quartermaster. or call 1-800-338-4327.

Page 58 had “Sure-Pak meals by Sopakco” … they appear to be identical to MRE’s.] “Case of 12 meals includes an assortment of six different entrees like beef stew, spaghetti with meat sauce, chili mac or several other tasty varieties. Each meal includes entree, side dish, dessert, cracker pack, beverage mix, and utensil/condiment pack. Five-year shelf life.”

Catalog number BMRE12 Case of 12 meals. $74.99.
BMRE1 (individual ration pack) $7.49.

If you shop around (go on line and google for MRE) you may be able to get only the entree, which would be a lot lighter and more compact. Shelf life is probably MUCH longer than 5 years.

[Thought: try ebay!]


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