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Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

Are you prepared?

Posted Friday, December 9, 2011, at 8:31 AM

As near as I can tell, winter is nearly upon us.

A month or so ago, as I recall, weathermen everywhere were predicting that this would be a harsh winter.

In my humble opinion, long-range weather predictions are good contra indicators of future weather. If the wooly worm says it will be mild and NOAA says that it will be harsh, I'll go with the wooly worm every time.

Nevertheless, even a blind pig occasionally finds an acorn. The prudent person considers the possibility that the weatherman may be right.

Most years, our part of Indiana doesn't get large snowfalls. However, freezing rain is virtually a yearly occurrence. Freezing rain is more likely to knock out your electricity than any other weather phenomena as tree limbs frequently break under the weight of the ice and fall into utility lines.

I am not talking about Armageddon here. Most of the time, you only have to be prepared for one to three days before things get back to normal.

For most of us, we don't have to look back any farther than our parents or grandparents for prudent preparation.

Every home should have a pantry. If your family likes corn, sometime instead of picking up a couple of cans, buy a flat or two for the pantry.

Do the same with canned fruits and dinners like ravioli; but only the stuff you know you will eat. When the first flat is gone (or half gone if you only have one) put it on your grocery list. Imagine virtually never having to run to the store to get something you are out of to make dinner.

It seems that whenever the prediction is for snow, the grocery appears to have been looted of all bread, eggs and milk. Why? Nutritionally, bread is no different than rice or pasta. So long as it is kept dry, pasta should last virtually forever. I have never seen rice go bad, but I guess it could if it hung around for a year or few. If you bake, you probably have canned or powdered milk on hand. A small box or a few cans should be more than adequate for anything likely to occur.

Every home should have a few candles and a couple of oil lamps. Not only do they provide light and a small amount of heat, they are an efficient way to start a fire. Even with stubborn kindling, one match to light a candle and using the candle to start a fire is much better than trying to use matches or a lighter to get a fire going. If you can afford it, having an indoor approved propane heater is not a bad idea.

Don't forget your car. Although you are not likely to be stuck for a terribly long time, you would be wise to keep an old blanket in the trunk. A bag of rock salt, a small shovel and a couple bottles of water are probably a good idea.

My parents always kept a couple of candles and a lighter in the car during winter for light, heat and to start a fire in a pinch. If you drive a lot, a couple of army surplus, "meals ready to eat," in the truck is probably a good idea.

My attitude on emergency preparedness is similar to my attitude toward motorcycle helmets. I spend a lot of money to buy a really good one and hope that every penny was wasted.

But it makes me feel a lot better knowing it is there if I should ever need it.



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