As the East Coast braces for monster ‘Frankenstorm’, I learned something new today. Morning Edition had a news story about preparing for the storm and mentioned calling 311 as a non-emergency number for reporting downed trees and such. I had no idea such a service existed, so I checked it out when I got home.
Surprise! Not only does this service exist, it’s not exclusive to our region. If you didn’t know about it, here’s more info: http://www.911dispatch.com/info/311_page.html
The things you should do now include the following (a sample of sensible prep):
- Get cash now (in case of power outs).
- Purchase enough drinking water to last at least three days for each person in the house. That translates to roughly three gallons per person.
- Do NOT run out and buy perishable foods like eggs, milk (unless it’s shelf-stable like Horizon packaged milk) or any other product that requires refrigeration. Instead, pick up canned foods that do not need cooking except for taste. (Progresso soups, tuna, dry cereal, etc.)
- Acquire enough batteries and make sure everything that needs recharging is at full battery. Check those batteries in long-term rechargeable equipment. (My Coleman LED lantern won’t stay charged anymore. Time to replace the battery!)
- Gas up the car, now. Make sure you have stuff to dig out in the event you’re stuck, and toss in a sleeping bag or two, for warmth. ALWAYS clear your tailpipe of snow before running the car. People do die of carbon monoxide poisoning when they start their cars with snow-filled tail pipes.
- NEVER use a propane stove indoors!
- Seek out shovels, ice melt (preferably pet-safe), boots and other supplies now, while supplies are still in stores. Waiting three days could mean the difference between finding what you want at your leisure and discovering stores are entirely out of everything.
With luck, things will be better than predictions say they might be, and if you don’t use those supplies now, you’ll have them on hand for later in the season.
Stay safe and check in as needed.