What’s your backup plan?

It used to be that big storms caught us by surprise, now it seems that more and more we have several days up to a week’s warning, but even with these longer lead times, it’s still a good idea to have a backup plan, a way to survive, at least for the short term while the emergency plays itself out.

It has to be very disheartening to be greeted with empty shelves at the stores when weather emergencies happen, whether local or regional or even statewide. Most, if not all grocery stores have, on average, a 3 day supply of food & stock, that is if there isn’t a run on food, when that happens, the shelves will be stripped in hours, not days.

If you were stuck in your home right now, if you couldn’t leave, how long would you be able to survive with the food you have in your home now? How many days before you are in real trouble? Most of us are living paycheck to paycheck, some of us live in small apartments with not much storage space for extra food.

It’s possible to put up extra food on even the tightest of budgets, you might have to give up some “extras” for a while, but it’s possible to have some extra money to spend on buying foods for emergency backup. What do you do that costs money you don’t have to spend? Maybe downgrade your entertainment bills, things like your TV (cable & satellite), your internet, save that money you would spend on eating out or going to Starbucks… Drop your gym membership for a couple of months and sock that money into extra food to put back.

Curtail your driving, that is money you are putting into the gas tank, only drive when you absolutely have to, combine trips and stop joyriding, carpool to work if you can.

Now that you have a few extra dollars put aside, what kinds of food should you get? That all depends on what you will eat, there is no point in buying cans of baked beans if you hate baked beans. Buy what you will eat, but make sure it’s food that will last, especially without refrigeration, a freezer full of food is of no use if the power goes out. Buy dry foods, canned foods, you can get those foil packs of food like tuna, rice, chicken, even milk that doesn’t need refrigeration.

Your ability to cook may be curtailed because of the power going out, if you are really thinking ahead, you will have alternative ways to cook, propane is good for that. You can get food that doesn’t need to be cooked or needs very little in the way of cooking. Recently I saw quick cooking dry rice in the dollar store, it’s precooked and only needs to have water added to it, cold water would work, I bought up a few bags to try, they are good added to soup or for making any rice dish. Once I decided I liked it, I bought more to put aside for emergencies.

There are many other things to consider, like water for drinking, cooking and sanitation, ways to keep warm in winter, first aid, light at night… Look around your home right now, how long would you survive in a lock down situation? I suspect there are lots of folk finding out right now, I hope they had enough time to prepare, I say it would have been all the better if they had been prepared before the emergency hit.

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