Tuesday, August 19, 2008

She is Prepared

When I recently posted about our electricity being out for several hours, a friend left a comment that she had heard reports of people out driving all over town looking for a restaurant to eat at.

The next Sunday when we got home from church, we had no electricity once again. No storm or apparent reason, yet no power for about an hour. I pulled out the sandwich fixin's once again and this time made wraps.

I have to admit, that I was very surprised and shocked at the idea of people being without anything to eat at home that they had to go out during a power outage. I know we can't fix our usual meal without an oven or stove top, but isn't there something we could find?

These thoughts have really disturbed me as I think of what would happen if we found ourselves in some sort of emergency. As a friend's husband said, "We expect public unrest after a certain amount of missed meals, but if it is after the first - we are in trouble."

When I mentioned this to David he mentioned that our nation as a whole is, "dependent on luxury." And, I agree - we are.

Lately, I have been spending a lot of time thinking about Proverbs 31:15-16 as I've been working on the next two projects in the Proverbs 31 craft series.
"She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard."
The thing that has jumped out at me above all is what a planner she is. She plans to rise early and does it. She provides food for her family by thinking ahead to what she will serve and taking care to have the needed things on hand. She allows time to fix it. She puts thought into making wise purchases and saves for the future.

I'm not trying to put us into panic mode or even pick on anyone who isn't prepared. I'm also not promoting that we can be prepared for everything that comes our way - only God can handle that responsibility! And, since He knows what will come - we can certainly trust Him with our future.

But, I am very concerned about us being prepared to care for our families in case of an emergency. Where I live, there is hurricane season. Other areas may prepare for a possible blizzard or other weather related situation. We simply cannot sit by and watch everything happen with no plans for our household.

We can pull out the sandwich fixings or even peanut butter and jelly during a storm. If the electricity is still out at the next meal - maybe we can grill some of that meat that will be ruined if not cooked from our freezer.

We can have bottled water and extra batteries on hand. We can stock canned goods which can be heated on the engine of our car, in a pan on the grill or on a cooking stove (learned the car trick from my law-enforcement husband!). My mom suggested freezing water in cardboard half-gallon milk cartons to have big blocks of ice available in case of no electricity - they would last a lot longer than ice cubes!

No, we should not have fear about or think we can control the unknown. But, I do think we should be wise in being able to care for our families the best way we can.

Ok - let me hear your thoughts on this. How do you prepare your household for a possible emergency situation? I'm looking forward to hearing your ideas!


Katy said...

So true! I am like you...pull out the sandwich stuff!!! LOL...also our stove is gas...so we can still cook on it if our electric goes out...which is nice.
But you are right...being prepared is so important. It's a part of having the wisdom God has supplied us with!
Thanks for this post Monica! Hope you have a great day! :)

Edi said...

We do have a small pantry of food that would work for an emergency, a kerosene lamp for light and a handcrank flashlight/radio also.

We might be one of those out looking for a restaurant - not b/c we'd starve without - but sometimes with no electricity at home it means that it is either FREEZING inside (if it happens in the winter) or BOILING inside (if it happens in the summer) and I'm just looking for an excuse to head somewhere warmer or cooler.

Don't usually have bottled water on hand b/c we drink tap water - but there are usually a couple of boxes of diet soda :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent post Monica! I to have been thinking about this. Just being somewhat ready, for whatever. Somethings i have put back the past few months (besides what you posted) canned nuts, granola bars, juice boxes,a little candy (m&m's for good cheer),canned fruit(no heat needed),paper plates,wet wipes(clean ups),T.P. and other essentials :-)! Thanks for thinking of this, i think it is important for us to be ready for all sorts of situations. And i think your husband is right about luxury living. Although my ac is broke and i sure miss it about 4 or 5 in the afternoon :)!tammyp

Melissa said...

We have a Coleman camping stove and lots of extra kerosene for emergency cooking needs. My husband is an Eagle Scout so we are typically prepared for any kind of emergency - things are stashed all over the house.

Anonymous said...

This post reminded me of when we were preparing for the year 2000 (remember Y2K?). I bought an oil-burning lamp then which we've never had to use, but still have in case of a lengthy power outage. We also have our camping lantern. We have a gas grill and wood-burning fireplace for sources of heat for cooking or staying warm. Our pantry is stocked with canned items (such as soups, canned fruit, and peanut butter). I love Tammy's idea of M&Ms for good cheer! We have bottled water on hand as well as cleaning wipes and batteries. I also try to keep some cash in the house because if there is a major emergency or power outage, ATM and credit card machines won't work either. I've also stocked some of these items at my office in case of emergency there. I like the Boy Scout motto -- be prepared! :) Great post! Love you, Mom

Chrissy said...

AMEN!!! As you know, we live where hurricanes are a very real possibility, and this week this is very much on my mind.

I have battery powered candles (purchased at WM), kerosene for a lamp, and batteries for my radio in case I can't track the weather any other way.

I have a stash of canned goods such as soup which can be heated in a pot on the grill. I also have a couple of plastic tarps on hand in case there were ever any structural damage to my home. This is just off the top of my head - I'm sure there are things I could add...

This is an important topic. Thank you for encouraging your readers to spend a little time thinking ahead.

Jen - Balancing Beauty and Bedlam said...

Wow - I am a new blogger, and a first time visitor here. I have been sucked in for the last....well, won't even tell you how many minutes.:)I could have written half of your posts and will enjoy reading so many of your archives. This post made me chuckle as I, too, thought about Y2K. I was trying to be balanced about it, and at the time was making 6-8 loaves of bread, grinding my wheat etc. Well, life has been busy for the last, oh, decade, and I am still trying to make my way through all the grain...too funny. Still making bread, just not consistently. If you get to NC, I have plenty to share.

Anonymous said...

Although we do not use our grill in the winter...we could. I can fruit, and your Mom is correct about the ice. Keep the fridge and freezer doors closed and food will stay fresher longer. Salads with cubed deli meats and rinsed canned beans is always a good meal. Also, you can have precooked meats in the freezer for such times...like cubed turkey or chicken. Whatever the situation, it is always good to remember that the situation is only temporary.

Ruth, PA

Paige said...

Last year the power went out in the winter, I had the wood stove already going but was horrified when I realized I couldn't make coffee because I had no already ground beans. So NOW I keep some coffee grinds, ready to go in my french press, when that time comes again. Me without my coffee and no power is akin to a tribulation of sorts, it isn't pretty.
The oil lamps stay out all the time, the lighter is next to them. Crackers, peanut butter and canned fruit is the immediate food. I have pots that will cook on the grill OR on the wood stove, depending on what time of year. I have water purifying tablets. Heck I've got a geiger counter and radiation suits but that's not what this topic is about....
We'll be alright, as long as I've got coffee ground. That little french press is worth it's weight in gold too!

Mary said...

I can't say that we have really put thought into emergency preparation, but we do have tons of camping supplies and I generally have plenty of canned items that could be heated on the grill or our camp stove.

On a side note, I just found your blog a few days ago and it's wonderful! When I have some time I plan to go back and read all of your posts on a Clean Heart. I read a couple and they really spoke to my heart.

Julie Willis said...

I totally agree.
Last year we took a very frugal trip to check out a new home for our family. I was trying to figure out what to prepare for our 1st night's meal. My grandma suggested a roast on the engine! She said that's what they had done on there way to FL from NY!

Christy said...

This is a topic that has been on my mind for the last year or so. I'm planning to try the art of drying foods for preservation, which doesn't require refrigeration (you reconsitute the food in water). Also, our only mode of energy right now is electricity and we live 1/4-mile off the main road (slower service from the electric co. if our lines go down), so I'm thinking of how I can raise enough money to install a wood-burning fireplace in a spot in our house that was designed for one (it currently has an armoire in the spot).

Frances said...

To all the great ideas already shared, I must add: have a stash of candles and matches and know where they are! I have fun memories of power outages in my childhood because my parents let us older children use our own candles to get ready for bed. I felt like Laura Ingalls!

Amy said...

You are so getting added to my notebook entry this week. I don't understand the attitude that you can't do the things that you stated, but I think that sometimes people are just looking for ways that they can avoid an inconvenience instead of delighting in the candlelight like you did.

Our emergency preparedness needs to be addressed and I will definitely be working on this. We do have food, a gas stove (if the electric went out), but there are things that we can be doing to be more prepared like stocking bottled water, making a special spot for candles and flashlights and making things more accessible in our basement in case of a storm.

Love this post, Monica!!

rohanknitter said...

I think it's a smart idea to have at least some water and a couple boxes of granola bars stashed somewhere-- at a minimum. In an area that could get hurricanes or such, I'd think it would be smart to have some kind of "storm survival kit" prepared. We were recently without power for 40 hours - basically 2 full days. We went out for dinner both nights, not because we couldn't make sandwiches, (that's what we did for lunch) but my husband works hard all day at a physical job and likes to have a hot meal at the end of the day. He also works out in the heat often this time of year and wants to eat in air conditioning, and I certainly don't have a problem with that. : )

Anonymous said...

I, too, am amazed at how people freak out when they lose power, water, etc. Last year, due to a blizzard here in Nebraska we were out of electricity for 48 hours. Did we freak? No. Yes, things were a little inconvenient but we had plenty of wood for the fireplace that kept our living room bearable. We had suspected the possibility of a power outage so we filled 3 five gallon buckets with water before the storm hit so that we could flush toilets (no electricity, no water!). We drink bottle water so we were ok there. We roasted hot dogs in the fireplace and played lots of board games. I guess this long narrative is just our example that we need to be prepared and depend on ourselves, not the local fast food joint!


Melody said...

We have a lot of things that people have mentioned like a crank radio, a Coleman camp stove with kerosene, candles, etc. but they are not all in one location.

I think I need to have a central area or tub that I put this stuff in so that in case of emergency I know right where it is.

My kids wouldn't know what to do without PB&J so we always have that on hand with fruit of some kind.

Jenny said...

Funny you should write about this today...just last night, over 2000 residences here in Spokane, WA were without power!

My husband loves to mountain climb in Nepal, so he's a big down feather fan. Ever slept in a down sleeping bag? Whew! They sure come in handy when you don't have heat for several hours.

Sarah said...

I agree completely! I am a member of the LDS church and we are very keen on getting prepared in case of natural or unexpected disasters.

As a family we buy cases of water and store rice, wheat, legumes and caneed goods. We also have 72 hour kits for each member of our family in case of an emergency.

Many don't realize how vital it is to prepare for future happenings.

Anonymous said...

We keep some water stored in big glass wine jugs in the basement. It's enough to last us a few days, just in case. I periodically use this water to water my plants and refresh it.

I have a pretty substantial pantry and I'm sure we could eat for a little while without too much trouble. Your idea about heating things up on the car is kind of funny, but good to know. We don't have a grill.

We have plenty of candles, several flashlights and batteries. I always loved it when the lights went out with a storm as a kid.

I also keep some money on hand most of the time, since we do the envelope system.

Lastly, we know many people within walking distance, and I'm sure we'd be able to pool resources and stay safe longer.

Wendi said...

I try to always have a well stocked pantry. That way I have plenty of canned goods. When we lose power we ended up cooking on our gas grill. My hubby is a former Boy Scout so he makes sure we are always prepared! When things like that happen the last thing I want to be doing is running around. I like to be close to home! ~Wendi

Jenn said...

I agree. We are very very slowly preparing for... ...whatever may come. We have 40 lbs of white rice and 40 lbs of broken jasmine rice in long term storage as well as 40 gallons of water. This is nothing compared to what our family of 8 should have, but it is our slow start. We are also gathering candles and matches.

Recently, we bought a coleman camping stove and a couple of fuel cans. We need to buy a lot more fuel cans. We could then cook even should the power go out. Granted it wouldn't be easy to cook for 8 on one of these tiny stoves, but it would be better than nothing.

I am surprised that some would have no food at all that could put some sort of meal together. We don't have a lot that could carry us too far, but our humble cabinets are full of canned goods, pasta, sauces etc,...

Good reminder to prepare. We have no one to blame but ourselves if hard times fall when we plan to fail...err, fail to plan. Then again, there's no guarantee we'd be able to even use the food if we should have to flee our area and not be able to carry it, but it's still a worthwhile activity in my opinion.

I would also love to learn to forage and identify wild edible plants/herbs and pick up some survival skills. I've always been interested in that kind of thing.

Aubrey said...

A house without peanut butter...well, I would be at a loss living there. We keep plenty of fresh fruit and veggies on hand, so add that and maybe some chips to a PB sandy, and while it's not fancy, everyone in my house is happy and has a full belly.

Mother of Many said...

I have studied a lot about how we in America eat. Many don't even realize where our food comes from...it certainly isn't your town. Many people don't realize something as small as a highway outage could leave a population without food. It is an enourmously interesting subject to read about...I encourage everyone to consider the "where" their food comes from when thinking about longterm issues of feeding a family.

I must also state that I think it is unfortunate when many of us live in an area where providing food for our families is as simple of placing a seed in the ground. Yet, we think it's okay to have frest aspargus in December. Not realizing the distance it had to travel. Gone are the days of victory gardens.

Anonymous said...

The American Red Cross website at www.redcross.org has information on having a disaster supply kit avaiable that you can make yourself or you can buy one from them.

It's always good to be prepared. Our weather across the nation has been quite different the last few years especially those who live in the midwest or southern states.

Thanks for the post Monica.

Devonne, ID

Liisa said...

When our power was gone for a couple of days a few years ago we were fine food wise and had water and it was summer so heat wasn't an issue but we had no gas in our vehicle and no cash. Debit machines do not work when there is no hydro! Since then we are always sure that we have gas in the vehicle and I keep money hidden away in the house that I never touch because it is there for an emergency.


Tamara said...

Excellent post, Monica. I recently finished reading the Restoration Series by Terri Blackstock, and I was very convicted by all the things we think are necessities. We're so spoiled by luxuries!

In terms of preparedness, it's important to remember a few days' supply of any prescription medications taken by family members. It's also a good idea to have an adequate first aid kit on hand, particularly during weather-oriented emergencies. And in hurricane country, we always make sure our cars are filled up with gas before the storm hits.

Bell said...

I think of this from time to time. I am really not prepared. I do have green beans I have canned from my garden and jelly I have made---but how long could we live on green beans and jelly? And I have stuff I have put up in the freezer, but that wouldn't last long without electricity. I think this is something I need to consider as a steward of the things God has given me. I also need to remember that nothing takes Him by surprise and He is able to supply all my needs in any situation.

3boysmama said...

I think most people just use the electricity to be out as an excuse to be able to go out. Maybe they don't want to open the fridge too much so that it preserves what's left of the cold??

Our power was out for 5 days in 2006. We live in a major metropolis too, not out in the country. It was during the winter, so it was COLD! Fortunatley we have a gas stove, and gas water heater so we were able to cook and have hot water easily. We kept our fridge items outside in a cooler since the temp was the same as our fridge was suppose to be! We have a wood burning stove so we kept that going. My husband had to wake up and immediately chop wood to get the fire going. I put handwarmers in the kids' beds and filled up nalgene bottles with hot water and we slept with those. Those instant hand warmers are an excellent thing to keep around. They were VERY nice to have! Most stores ran out of candles, batteries, and groceries, so we've learned to keep those around. Gas stations ran out of gas or were closed b/c of power outages. The first morning my husband immediately went to the gas station and had to wait 1 hour to get gas. If a storm is coming we now make sure our tank is filled up! It was a big wake up call to be prepared! That was QUITE the experience, I must say! After that I immediately put together a box of emergency supplies.

Milehimama @ Mama Says said...

I thikn a very important part is exposing your family to the "emergency rations". If you have powdered milk set aside, let the kids see you make some (at the very least for cooking) so it's not entirely foreign (the last thing one needs in an emergency is MORE STRESS!)

If you set aside 12 cans of black eyed peas for a protein source... well, perhaps you should at some point make black eyed peas for your family so it is more "usual fare".

Also, I have powdered milk set aside, and also a can of Ovaltine. Added vitamins and makes it taste good, too!

Tracey said...

I keep 2-3 gallons of water on hand, gas stove, gas fireplace...i guess we could open it and cook weenies if we had to! I keep lots of batteries etc...

Good post...I guess I don't think about it much, so I need to think about it more...hmmm...now you've got me thinking.

mama k said...

We usually have lots of fresh produce on hand so I'd make a salad or use the grill.

I honestly think that it was probably a case of people wanting to get out of the house when the electric goes rather than they didn't have ANYTHING to eat, kwim?

I do think about the water thing though. We drink tap water so if that ever ran out, we'd be in trouble.

Michelle said...

I have recently discovered your blog and am enjoying reading your posts. Great writing!

Monica Wilkinson said...

Thank you for all the great feedback here! I have learned some new things today and been reminded of things I need to care for in our home.

I also appreciate some of you who shared good reasons for going out during a storm - I had not thought of those things, so thank you.


GranthamLynn said...

The amazing thing is that so many people are dependant on "eating out" etc. I live in an area that is all about living with it all.
But "it all" is temporary it is sad to see. Your post was inspiriing as always. BTW I loved your craft posts. Are you working on one?

Netta said...

I agree. Each time I shop I purchase a couple of extra canned/bottled items and store them for unforseen times.
Thank you for your thoughts.

LynnMarie said...

We have Kerosine lamps on the walls in case the lights go out. We have back up heaters and back up food for us and our pets. We have a fireplace so we could cook in there if we needed to and lots of blankets. We can also fire up the grill in the garage to cook on. We do have a water cooler in the kitchen so we have water. Since I teach first aid for the Red Cross, we are ready - better do it since I teach it right?

Mary Ann said...

This was a good post and something that I need to put more thought into. Sometimes, I don't even have bread on hand to make a pb sandwich! We don't eat that many sandwiches so sometimes I forget to have those things on hand. I definitely need to get an emergency kit together and also make sure I have more canned items on hand that could be eaten cold.

Our ac went out a couple of weeks ago. I am so thankful that it was only 90 degrees instead of triple digits as it was the next week! (Our windows are all painted shut so it was pretty miserable!)I had dinner in the crockpot that night and the following night, the air was back on although still pretty warm in the house. For breakfast, we ate outside as it was cooler than in the house and for dinner I made a cold veggie pizza(like a salad on a pizza crust with a cream cheese filling). The crust was already made and it didn't heat the house to make it.

If we had gone out, it would've been to get some cooler air more than not having anything to eat!

Anonymous said...

We always have tons of food on hand, whether to eat raw like sandwiches or heat up or cook on the grill. Having good store of food is just my nature.
Also when we built our house we purposely set up large appliances (freezer, fridge, stove, water pump) on one electrical board. By doing that we are able to hook our large generator up to it and run those things if there is a power outage. Thank God, we haven't had to do that yet though.
Also we have a wood stove in the basement that has a flat top. I used to cook soup on that when we were building the house and needed a meal.

Jennilee said...

I live in a hurricane area too! We are very fortunate to have a) a generator and b) a gas stove and oven.

Be that as it may, I still try to keep things on hand that require neither to provide nourishment. On the list? Peanut butter and jelly, tuna, canned chicken, and the like.

Nicol said...

I know that this is an older post. I have been playing catch up with blogs. This is a subject that is really important to me. To be prepared, we have been asked as a community to have 72 hour kits. If there is a bid disaster it usually takes 72 hours for officals to get to you. This has a three day supply of water, food, clothes, blankets, first aid kits, etc. In case you have to leave the house.

We have also been asked by our church to store food in case of a long emergency.

I really think it is important to have those supplies on hand. There is no need for people to go out to restaurants in case of an emergency.

Debra said...

I was just talking with some friends yesterday about being prepared for an emergency. We are 'semi-prepared' but yesterday got me thinking and now your post definitely has me ready to do more than think about it.

Anonymous said...

We are seriously into preparedness. My husband is very interested in the topic and wants our family to be prepared in case of a serious crisis. So we have wheat on hand, rice, water, a gas cook stove, etc. There is so very much planning. I just last night saw a neat list on LauraGallagher.com (the Lazy Organizer) very interesting. She is LDS and has nice pictures of her stockpile and info to share.
Also survivalblog.com has lots of good information.
Best to you!

Anonymous said...

Great post! I found it via Amy's Notebook entry. My husband is a firefighter and he has done a great job of preparing us for a disaster. All these ideas are great for hunkering down at home, but what if your family needs to leave suddenly? Consider having "go bags". We have a small suitcase with a two changes of clothes for all of us, extra underwear, copies of our passports, food staples, and $250 in small bills. Cash in the form of small bills is important should ATMs be out. We change this bag during time change twice a year (along with our smoke detectors - help your firefighters help you!) to have weather-appropriate and properly fitting clothes.