If anything has been made clear over the past 6 months, it is to be prepared. Pandemics, snowstorms, hurricanes, power outages - we’ve seen it all. Circumstances beyond your control can cause you to be homebound for a few days or a few weeks, and it is of utmost importance to be prepared. The time to prepare is now, when you can get organized, shop and make plans. Not sure what to do? Over prepare and get organized. Last year, we recommended having 3 days supplies on hand for weather emergencies. Learning from COVID, consider increasing that to at least 2 weeks.
- Have at least 2 weeks of any prescription or over-the-counter medicines that you need. Consider converting your prescription to mail order delivery if possible.
- Get an ATM or credit card to use for online shopping.
- Keep a current list of emergency contacts - see p.12.
- Have first aid supplies including a thermometer, pain reliever/fever reducer, bandages, Neosporin, anti-diarrheal and antacid medicines. Check with your doctor on what is best for you or if anything interferes with your other medicines.
- Have 2 weeks supply of groceries in case you can’t go out. Don't hoard or buy things you would never use - that got out of control last spring and some people bought toilet paper to last them for years. Add a little extra to your shopping each week to build up your supply.
On top of preparing for COVID disruptions, be ready for severe weather. In addition to everything above, if severe weather is predicted, get organized with:
- Three days' supply of nonperishable, ready-to-eat food like peanut butter, crackers, granola bars, and snacks.
- Have a battery-operated radio and extra batteries handy.
- Charge your cell phone and all your devices – laptops, iPads, anything you might use - before the storm and get a rechargeable battery pack.
- When a big snow storm is predicted, fill your car with gas (the extra weight gives better traction in the snow).
- Have a plan, in advance, of where you could go if you lose power or heat and pack a “go bag” with 3 changes of clothes, medicine, water and snacks in case you need to go stay with family or friends.
- Have a supply of water on hand. Fill up pitchers and water bottles, or buy bottled water.
- Have cash on hand, enough to pay someone to shovel snow, for deliveries or in case the ATMs are down in a power outage.
- Leave flashlights at your bedside and convenient places in the home, and make sure you have extra batteries.
- Have blankets out and ready to use.
Being prepared is not only practical, it can help alleviate the stress and anxiety many of us feel in uncertain times. You may never need to do all of the above, but you will feel better knowing you are ready for almost anything.