I’m sure you have heard about the winter storm that is supposed to hit us starting tomorrow morning. I am going to keep saying “supposed”because I don’t want it to happen. Most of you know how to prepare yourself for a winter storm but I know there are a lot of new people to the area, including those who didn’t experience the horrible ice storm of 2009. It was so surreal and scary to lay in bed and listen to the branches break and fall to the ground. So for those not sure what a real Arkansas ice storm can be like, I thought I’d share a few tips to prepare yourself and your family for the icy weather.
Let’s talk about the emergency kit you should have prepared. We always keep enough stuff ready in case we can’t leave the house for 48 hours (and some say you should prepare for as long as 72 hours!). You should have enough non-perishable food items to last that amount of time. For example, I like to keep a carton of shelf stable almond milk on hand. I know people say that if your electricity goes out you can just move your perishable items outside, which is true for a while but eventually they will freeze. So keeping a supply of non perishable cans, dry mixes, and staples is a must. For example, we have a lot of wonderful soup mixes in our Bulk department. Also, you are going to want to have foods that are filling and full of protein because that keeps you full. If I make a soup, I will add some quinoa or brown rice to it. If you have a bowl of plain brown rice made ahead of time, you can mix it in to some soup or add a little sweetener and milk to it for a breakfast cereal. It is very versatile. Remember to choose foods that your family will eat. You don’t want to have a bunch of food nobody likes, that will turn a bad situation into a worse situation – trust me. Another thing to remember about your food choices is to choose foods that will not make you thirsty. This means choosing foods that are low in or free of salt.
Speaking of being thirsty, let’s talk about water (it is kind of ironic to think about how much water you will need on hand when the whole reason you are in this situation is because of frozen water)! The general rule is to have at least 1 gallon of water per day per person. If you have children or elderly people in your family, you might want to have more than that on hand. You want to keep water on hand because your pipes might freeze up and you won’t be able to get water out of the sink.
Some other basics to have around are plenty of blankets and sleeping blankets. Make sure you have flashlights and batteries. Also, candles! These are used for lighting plus you can cook with them. During that horrible ice storm of 2009, we used candles to heat up tea and chili. Also, having a hand cranked or battery operated radio is also a wonderful thing to have. Check your first aid kit and make sure everything is stocked. Also, pull out those board games, art supplies, and books. Even though an ice storm can be horrible, you can try to make the best out of the situation by keeping the family entertained. Make sure your car is full of fuel as well. You can use it to charge your cell phone if need be.
Here is to hoping we don’t have any use for any of this. But it is worth being prepared. After all, this is Arkansas.