Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Disaster Preparedness Class #2

(This picture is just one of many scenes of Huricane Matthew's devestation to our area that I'll be sharing throughout this class.  I do not remember where I got this picture so I can't give credit.  I took many photos myself and others were shared with me so please understand if I can't give the proper credit for each photo I'll be sharing.)

This is the day that your imaginary world changes. Whatever resources you have right now is what you will have to work with during this disaster. For some this imaginary disaster is occurring in the summer, for others it’s in the winter and for some it’s between the two. Whatever season you’re in, that’s your background for this scenario. Whatever your weather is for each day of the ‘scenario’ is the weather you will be dealing with. Also, nothing is coming in, what you have is what you have to work with.

Okay, let’s go …

It’s the middle of the night and a massive storm is blowing through. Everyone is in bed sound asleep and you are suddenly awakened by something, but you don’t know what. In your groggy, half asleep mind you realize that something is not right … it’s too quiet and the house is completely dark. Your first thought is that the street/yard light must have gone out and then you realize your night light is not working either. Somewhere in the recesses of you groggy, sleepy mind you vaguely remember hearing the weather person say something about a front moving through that could possibly bring some heavy rains, so you chalk it up to a temporary power outage and turn over and go back to sleep.

The next morning you realize it was not just a temporary power outage. Looking out the window you see your yard is full of water. You open the door to get a better look and see trees down and realize, for the time being, that your family is trapped in your home … and it’s still raining … hard!

The family is starting to get out of bed and want to be fed. Is your house cold? Then they are cold. How are you going to get the house warm? If you have children they are full of questions about the water and the rain and the downed trees and about why there is no electricity. They are scared. What's the first thing you're going to do? What are you going to feed them and how are you going to reassure them about the weather? What are you fixing for breakfast? What about lunch and dinner?
patsi
She looketh well to the ways of her household … Proverbs 31:27


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46 comments:

  1. We, thankfully, have a gas range and a fireplace, which got us thru a storm that knocked out our power for several days. We keep our firewood where it stays dry. Weather radio that picks up local tv station for weather updates to reassure us.
    Thank you for holding this class on your blog!

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    1. JeThomas, you're off to a good start. Having the ability to cook without the use of electricity is a definite benefit.

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  2. We have wood heat in addition to our electric heater/air conditioner, so I would build a fire.

    We have a back-up generator that we had an electrician wire a place for when we moved in here last summer, so my husband would get that going and keep the freezers running. It will allow for that a few lights, and some small use of electricity, but not the full amount we are used to using.

    I would probably serve cold cereal and milk for breakfast, and things that are in the fridge for lunch and dinner so they would be used before they had a chance to go rotten. I would cook them on either the camping stove, or in the camper, which has propane tanks. It's parked on concrete next to the house. We also have a barbecue, and a small fire-pit (metal, on legs) that we would cook on, if needed. The wood stove in set into the fire place, so would not work for cooking, unless we opened the door and roasted things, which would not be the most efficient option. I would use up anything that looked like it would perish, put the rest in the camper fridge turned on propane, and could quickly grab food from the freezers to supplement if needed. Of course, I would keep them closed as much as possible to not use too much energy.

    If the situation became too bad and it looked like we would be under feet and feet of water, we would hitch up the camper and drive to higher ground. That actually would not happen here where we live--we are at slightly higher elevation than the surrounding area, but this is a "what if" scenario. I always keep the camper stocked with a bunch of food and items we use when we go camping, such as toothbrushes, so we would need to grab clothes, meds, etc. if we needed to go.

    I would reassure the children by praying with them and talking through what needed to happen. Mine are teens now, but we do have some special needs around here, so I would need to reassure them and giving them tasks to do to keep them busy and involved with the solutions, not just sit around and worry.

    It's not certain exactly what I would do at the time, but that's a good start.

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    1. beckyathome, it's a good idea to start using up the perishables from the refrigerator. Good choice!

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  3. Great intro! This even has me scared! Now I'll go see what I can feed the family... and, is the water still rising?

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    1. Joy, yes, water is still rising!

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    2. Okay, I've calmed down a bit... lol. As another person mentioned, use up what you can from the fridge first--and plan before opening it! We do have a wood stove for heat and for emergency cooking--I cooked breakfast in cast iron on it this past winter for a test, it went well. We also have a gas grill and a fire pit. We've talked of having a generator, but no generator yet. If the water is rising, then we'd better grab bug-out bags and leave the house. So, bug out bags and documents is another lesson, right? Depending on where we are going for safety, I think it wouldn't be a bad idea to throw in as much of your pantry as you could. There is no threat of flooding where we live, but we could relocate to a family member 11 miles away. No kids here, no pets. Pets pose a huge problem during an emergency situation. We also have a weather radio and plenty of candles, flashlights, and outdoor solar lights to use indoors if necessary. Something else I have done is write on the top of my canned goods with a Magic Marker listing the contents. If water were to get to the canned goods--and if they were still viable--the labels would be washed off and you wouldn't know what was inside the can.

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    3. Oh, and at the moment, our rain barrel is filled and we have a 'Life Straw' that will filter out 99.9999 percent of icky things. I also have several cases of bottled water on hand and water for washing up, etc. plus bleach and a dropper to sanitize the water for drinking if necessary. I'd check on ONE neighbor... we've had trouble with the others--we don't trust them.

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    4. Joy, that's a good idea to write the contents of the cans on the can top in case the label is lost! You are in better shape than you thought!! Good for you!

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  4. First, I've recently moved into a townhouse. I have a gas furnace, but it's connected to a Nest thermostat. I think it would still work, so long as there is battery life, but not sure. Regardless, I have several (at least 4?) down comforters, so I would be able to keep warm -- at least for some time. It's just me, so I'd probably grab some granola and a banana for breakfast; if there was leftover coffee, I'd heat that on the stove. If not, I'd boil water for tea. Stove is gas, and if it didn't work (electronic ignition that would not take a match), I do have a propane grill on the deck.

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    1. It's good that you have a back-up to your stove! You're off to a good start.

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    2. A gas furnace requires electricity to run the blower. A gas stove is a good thing to have though

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  5. These are a couple of good sites to be familiar with, BEFORE you are in an emergency situation. https://www.ready.gov/prepare-for-emergencies and https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/154946.pdf

    Probably the first thing I would do is use my phone to check with our power company and then local social media. This would give me a pretty good idea of what I'm dealing with. We would get out the hand crank radio also.

    If we still had running water, I would fill up containers. We could also put containers out to collect runoff water from the roofs. If this is a long term situation, drinking water would be a problem. We'd hook up the generator if it looked like power would be out for awhile, although it wouldn't power the whole house, or the electric stove. We do have a grill and could make a fireplace outside if it became necessary. It shouldn't be that cold here this time of year but if it was, we'd use the wood boiler so heat isn't a problem. We have plenty of wood. We'd start to use up what's in the fridge. Food isn't a problem for now. We'd start getting the emergency supplies out and have them ready to use and assess what we'd need to do immediately. Do we need to start using the chainsaw, move anything, etc. We'd check with the neighbors also.

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    1. That is a very good idea to start collecting water ... even if you don't need it right now. Hold on to that thought on using the chainsaw, this is just day one, there is plenty more to come.

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  6. First I would reassure my children that everything was going to be ok, pray with them and give them a task to do to keep them busy. I have gas cook top, grill, camp stove and a fire pit for cooking choices. I'd also check my fridge and see what I have to use NOW and serve that or make a pot of oatmeal or cold cereal and milk. Then I'd take the ice I have and dump it into my Yeti cooler and add any perishables I could fit to hold them for a while. Lunch and supper would be anything in the fridge that again, needs to be eaten NOW.

    Than I'd sit down with a pad a paper, my husband, and work up a plan for what needs to be done first and put everyone to work getting that taken care of.

    Shelliajean

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    1. Shelliajean, you are thinking very smart. Take care of the immediate and then make a plan. I love that you would pray with your children and then give them a task to keep them busy!

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  7. Ok, so this house has actually been though such a scenario already. We live on a hill, so it wouldn't be our yard full of water. However, with the hydro out, the sump pump would not be working and our basement would be filling up with water quickly! We would also not have access to water, since the well pump is also run by hydro. There is a good chance our well water would not be safe to drink, even if it we did had access to it. Plus, there's a good chance our septic system is backing up, due to the extra water flowing into it.

    First thing we are doing is hauling out the generator and trying to get it going, so we can hook up the sump pump to help clear the water in the basement. Worst case scenario, we contact the local fire department to help pump out the basement (my dad was a volunteer fire fighter for years and he actually spent the day pumping out basements when they had a huge floor here, so we know they would do this). We could try to contact someone to pump the septic system, but they will probably not be available to come, as everyone would be having the same issue. So the toilet is not to be flushed unless necessary.

    It is currently spring here, but we live in Canada, so living with cold is a normal part of life. We'd just put on warmer clothes or extra layers of clothes at this time of year, if we were cold.

    Breakfast is grab what you can, when you have a moment. My 14 yr old autistic daughter would need reassuring, but that might be low on the priority list as we deal with more pressing problems. We have bottled water in the basement that needs to be moved upstairs for easier access. I have stocked canned goods in the pantry that require no heating, which might be lunch as we deal with other issues. We have a BBQ and cook stove that would most likely be pulled out by dinner to cook up something quick, as we would be exhausted from dealing with the chaos of the day.

    We can use the car radio to find out information. Our neighbours would most likely be dealing with similar issues, so there would be a lot of them out and around. There is good communication in our neighbourhood, so no lack of information sharing going on here!

    So that is where we would start out in this scenario.


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    1. Rhonda, there is alot to think isn't there?

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    2. I should also note that the one thing I would be worried about is the generator. It's been in storage for a while, so I hope it would work. Also, not sure how much gas we have to run it, so that might be a problem. We'd probably try to go get gas at some point, if needed.

      I'd also not be thinking this is a big emergency yet. It's only day 1. We deal with this all the time, when we loose hydro. The rain will surely stop soon and everything will get under control, once it does.

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  8. Our house would not be cold as May is usually warm to hot in our area. Warming the house is not a problem, but this afternoon, keeping cool may be.
    My sister is will check to make sure the chicken run isn't flooded since we haven't gotten around to digging drainage around it. If needed, we'll all work together to divert water from their area. If the yard has standing water, one of the drains Dad put in is blocked; he'll find and clear the blockage and check the eave gutters, as well. True flooding is highly unlikely because of our location on the hill, the sand under the house site, and my dad's drainage system.
    We'll remind each other to only flush the toilet if ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to conserve water. We have an electric well pump and the bladder only holds about 10 gallons. We also have a 3000 gallon storage tank. So emergency water IS available, though not "running" water. Since the scenario is that rain is still falling, we will put all containers (stock pots, canners, etc.) under downspouts to collect water.
    Mom and I will VERY QUICKLY consolidate frozen goods from the 4 freezers (yes, I know that 4 is ridiculous!) into the largest one, or wherever they'll fit, packing things as tightly as possible, and do the same for the 2 refrigerators.
    Dad will check the propane tank to see how much we have to work with. Because a delivery was made about 3 weeks ago and we use less propane this time of year, we currently have 2-3 months worth of propane.

    For breakfast: Since we can use the stovetop by lighting it with a match(the oven has an electric pilot and is now useless): scrambled eggs (our chickens make sure we always have these), toast made on a dry griddle, and coffee made in a saucepan and poured through a filter.
    For lunch: my sister will eat the lunch she prepared last night to take to work in town, 12 miles away. If we're flooded, town is MUCH worse! The rest of us will have sandwiches or quesadillas to use up food in the fridge.
    For dinner: I already planned to make hamburgers and that works great because they're cooked on the stovetop. Also salad (to use up vulnerable veggies) and our homemade popsicles before they thaw. We'll drink up the milk in the fridge. If this situation lasts for a while (of course, we're praying that it won't), we'll have more milk when the bottles in the freezer thaw.

    Long-term loss of electricity is rare for us because our wiring is all underground, but in March we had a storm with rain and especially WIND that took down several overhead connections in our area, including ours. We were without electricity from 8 am to 9 pm. I used it as an opportunity to practice some of the above since we had no idea how long the outage would last. The worst thing that happened? My mom got so bored she wanted to go to bed at 8:30!
    -Susan O

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    1. Susan, it's good that at least your stove top will work. That's much more than many would have.

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  9. A few other thoughts... as Annabel of the Bluebirds suggested one time, if you have forewarning of bad weather, get your laundry done and all dishes washed up! Another thing I have done is precook food and put it in the freezer to put out later to warm up. Fried chicken is a great food item as it is good to eat hot or cold. Or, precooked ham sliced and thawed out--ham sandwiches or mix with something else for a real meal deal! (cooked on a gas grill, etc.).

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    1. Joy, you would be surprised how many people pay no attention to those early warnings. I, on the other hand, start watching and preparing as soon as the disaster is predicted.

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  10. We live on a hill so it's unlikely our yard will be underwater, but the low spots surrounding us will be. First consideration is are our cattle OK? They are all in pasture now so Farmer will take the tractor or 4-wheeler or pickup to check on them and the fences. He will fence off any low ground to keep them from getting out and up on the hillsides. No children at home anymore but if the grands were here, they are old enough for us to explain. Breakfast will be cold cereal and milk or yougurt and fruit. No electricity means no well for water so Farmer and our son(s) will be hooking up the generator for water and to keep the freezer & fridge running. I will consolidate all the freezers into one if possible. I'll take out anything that we don't need to keep frozen & any foods we will need to eat. Bathrooms: "yellow, let it mellow; brown, flush it down." We will put out buckets, extra for flushing water and bathing. We will have to warm the water on the grill for now. We won't be cold, maybe chilly but quilts and blankets and layers will be enough. Also we will be checking on our older neighbors. Lunch & dinner will be anything in the fridge we must use right away. Thank goodness for the grill. :)

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    1. Kay, our grill was a life saver for us after Hurricane Matthew and I love that you are thinking of your older neighbors. Sounds like you are off to a good start.

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  11. I live in the Phoenix area so keeping warm would not be a problem at this time of year. We have two propane grills and four bottles of propane which we are careful to keep filled. We also have a small generator which would keep our freezer cold and my husband's cpap machine going at night. During the day it would keep a fan going so that at least one room could feel a little cooler. There are three adults in my family so we would not have to reassure children. As many have said, we would begin by eating food from the refrigerator. I have several weeks worth of bottled water, but not so much for household use. I would fill the bathtub and storage containers if the water was still on. I have several months worth of food, but I'm not sure about the dog food. Something I need to check! We have the house on the highest point of the neighborhood so I'm not too worried about flooding enough to threaten my home, but falling trees are always a storm hazard here. Many of the trees used for landscaping have very shallow roots.

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    1. Susan, many of us think about storing bottled water for drinking but don't take into consideration the need for household water as well. We're going to see throughout this imaginary disaster how important both are.

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  12. I have a few more thoughts. If it is still raining I'll have my hubby put all the 5 gallon buckets out to collect water and use the 2 large cans we use for yard waste. We probably wouldn't drink water from the yard waste barrels but we could use it for flushing the toilet and washing ourselves.

    I wouldn't panic yet, about the rising water we live on a hill and it would take a while to get to us. But I'd sure be keeping an eye on it.

    ShelliaJean

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    1. ShelliaJean, you would be making some very wise decisions by doing these two things .... just saying!

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  13. Oh, I love the idea of collecting the rain water in containers! Talk about turning lemons into lemonade! Rain water could be used for flushing toilets, washing clothing perhaps? And for emergency drinking if purified. We also keep extra propane for our grill and we have plenty of firewood--but one would need to keep it dry. A little bird told me things are going to get worse on Friday... ;)

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    1. Joy,hahaha ... that little birdie just might be right!!!!

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  14. Since it's just the two of us, we would just start by checking our surroundings. It's not likely but possible to get water in the basement, so this would be first. We are fine for drinking water, cooking and washing water but I would also fill the bathtub with water, if we had time. (staying on top of news and pending weather helps to get things done ahead, as well as laundry, dishes, and charging phones, etc.
    We have a gas stove to cook on with matches (the oven wouldn't work), we would get out the generator for the freezer and refrigerator plus it would also run our small electric skillet. Since we can't store lots of gas, we always make sure our cars are at least half full, always, and we have a way to get it out.
    We would also start to use food in the frig, weather is cool so we have plenty of blankets, etc., and I would fill containers to freeze with water to help keep things cold, and also to drink before said storm.
    One thing we need to get more of is solar/battery operated things like lanterns, fans, etc. And stock up on batteries before any such event. We would also check on neighbors, pull out the hip boots, and rain gear, and if communication was working notify family. We also would pull out the battery radio and set the grab and go bags in the car.
    Also, easy food (such as home canned soups, fruits, and store bought canned goods to make meals easy are in the pantry to use).
    I'm hoping to be able to stay put but we never know...
    Thanks for all the great comments, and Patsy for helping us get more prepared! Teri S

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    1. Teri, it looks like you've already started your 'need to purchase' list but for the purpose of this imaginary disaser, what you have is what you have, nothing is coming in.

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  15. I would access the road-water situation and get my battery radio out to listen and find out info. I need to know if i am staying or going. I could heat up food on the woodstove or with my buddy burner.. a contraption that can use sterno or the cardboard and wax cans I made. Or it could be a cold breakfast. I would like to start my day with the usual cup of coffee so I can melita it with a cloth napkin for a filter. I have a berkey that i usually keep full of water and cat litter containers of gray water for flushing and a big water drum if needed. I would also check on my elderly neighbor to make sure they are ok and see if they need anything. If it is to cold I will ask them to come to my house to sit by the fire. -- Julie

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    1. Julie, the next post will give you the criteria for going or staying put! Good luck!

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  16. We are not prone to flooding here where we sit but we could have trees down as we live in the woods. We would not need heat this time of year and we are empty nesters so no children to care for. I would begin with eating perishable foods from the refrigerator so that they will not be wasted. I would make hot coffee in my enamelware percolator on the burner of my gas grill. We always keep an extra tank of gas so we will be good for a bit and can roll it into tour screen porch to be out of the weather. Like others I would put out buckets to catch rainwater. If we had advance warning I would have fill pitchers in my kitchen for cooking water and bathtubs for toilet flushing. Our downstairs bath is pitch black with out lights so I put a battery powered candle in there for just enough light. I would get out the crank power radio to get the news about what is going on with the weather and disasters around me.

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    1. Lana, the sad thing about what happened to so many in our area after Hurricane Matthew is that many of them lived in areas that were not prone to flooding either. One just does not knowwhat will happen with some of these storms and the huge amount of rain that can come with them.

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  17. I keep thinking of things to do... we do have a crank radio that charges phones, plus as I was just now cooking dinner, I had the thought that this (the imaginary disaster) would be a good time to use those paper plates, bowls, and cups that you've been stocking up on when they went on sale (such as after season plates--a good one coming up would be after Memorial Day).

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    1. Joy, yes ma'am! Definitely a time for those paper products to come out and be used!!!

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    2. Hey that's neat Joy, I didn't know they have crank radios that charge your phone. I have an old crank radio but I'd rather use the battery operated one as you have to crank A LOT and often. I wonder in an emergency situation how good cell phone and internet operations are? -- Julie

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  18. We have propane heat, fridge,lights ,kitchen stove and hot water. We have a 1000 gallon underground propane tank we keep full. In addition we have solar panel of course if it's raining they only give a little power. Our wind generator would give power if it's windy.
    We keep plenty of food on hand. Cheese and milk would run out but I keep canned milk on hand for those times.
    My biggest concern would be our garden flooding that would mean the loss of this winters food .
    Filling prescription would be a problem after awhile . We can only fill for 30 days so depending on where we are in the month we could run out . None of our health issues are life treating .

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    1. Dee, it sounds like you are prepared! Good for you!

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    2. Wow, Dee I'm impressed! Do you live in a remote location or are you just a super prepper? I think I could learn a lot from you!

      Marney

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  19. My kids are teenagers so I would have them make a quick breakfast. My husband and I would check the basement(where we have most of our food storage). If there is water we would start moving things to higher ground. Most things are store in sealed plastic totes but my husbands tools would need to be moved. When the kids finished eating they would help. I would put on my solar/crank radio to hear want is happening. I would check our BOBs and get anything else we might need ready to leave. Temps are beautiful right now so I wouldn't be worried about that. Lunch and dinner would be stuff from the fridge on the BBQ or camp stove. I would check on friends and family. Very similar to when Super Storm Sandy hit.

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  20. I would pray first, then put on my big girl panties and get to it. we would get out paper ware and use what ever needed using in the fridge for breakfast. Put out containers under down spouts etc for water to use for flushing and household water use, keeping the bottled stuff for drinking & cooking. Check on family and neighbours are ok. We have a gas BBq for cooking which we will use if my stove doesn't work. I have electronic ignition, but it will light with matches if the electric is off. It will depend on whether the mains gas is still working though. Will put blankets/ sleeping bags as extra insulation over fridge freezer. Have plenty of blankets, duvets etc to keep warm if temperature drops.
    Feed dogs and make sure they are ok. Meals for the rest of today will be whateer needs used up in fridge.

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