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Be prepared for the next big storm

If you’re a fan of the TV series Game of Thrones, then you know one of the more popular phrases is “winter is coming.” And in many states, that means there’s a great chance for blizzard-like conditions and being stuck indoors for prolonged periods of time.

Storm preparation, whether for a hurricane, blizzard, or other natural disaster is critical for surviving the event with minimal impact. Most people know the basics of filling your car’s gas tank, ensuring you have fresh batteries in your portable weather radio and flashlights, and stocking up on groceries. But are the basics enough? According to an article on CNN’s website titled, “Health checklist: What to buy in advance of the big storm,” the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) says it’s not enough. They recommend at least three days of water, nonperishable foods, and a few other items that will help keep you and your family healthy and safe during a weather emergency.

Let’s start with the easy stuff. You’ll need at least one gallon of drinkable water per person per day. This could vary depending on outside temperature, your age, and activity level. While you probably won’t be jogging around the house, you could be shoveling snow, filling sandbags, or removing debris. A smart tip is to fill your bathtub ahead of time with water. This isn’t to drink, but to fill your toilet tank in order to flush it.

When it comes to food, both apples and oranges can last for weeks at room temperature. Dried and canned fruit, canned vegetables that don’t need preparation, canned tuna, salmon, and sardines, peanut butter, and protein bars are all great to stock up. If you noticed the trend of canned foods, then it goes without saying that you will need a manual (not electric) can opener! Also, FEMA recommends having some “comfort food” on hand. Why? Because during a time of crisis, comfort food can have a calming effect. While you’re out shopping ahead of the storm, don’t forget to buy paper plates and plastic utensils. If there’s no running water, you won’t be able to wash and sanitize your dishes and you don’t want dirty dishes piling up and attracting bugs or rodents.

The last of the easy stuff is a first-aid kit. Make sure it contains bandages, antibiotic ointment that hasn’t expired, hand sanitizer (don’t waste water by using soap), body wipes (since you can’t shower), and dust masks.

A few items you may not have considered are a portable battery charger for keeping your mobile phone charged, a good book, playing cards, and board games to fight boredom and stress, and you’ll also want some garbage bags. That last item isn’t just for throwing away garbage and keeping your home sanitary; garbage bags can also be used as a rain poncho, to cover broken windows, to carry supplies or other items, and even to collect rainwater. Finally, you should also have some duct tape if for no other reason than just because duct tape solves everything.