How We Survived Our Own Weather Emergency

After years of preparation, our family finally had to use our weather emergency plan. After September 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, I became obsessed with having an emergency plan equipped with emergency supplies. This past weekend my family and I were blessed to have that emergency plan in place. Weather kept us stranded in our house without power for 2 days. I will show you exactly how we survived a weather emergency without power in the freezing Midwest.

It was a Friday afternoon, and the weathermen/women were forecasting a horrible winter storm. We were supposed to get over an inch of ice underneath 6-12 inches of snow. Normally I blow off the meteorologists because their predictions are usually over exaggerated, but this time it was different. Ice is never something to ignore. It takes down trees, power lines, and makes driving virtually impossible.

Sure enough, Friday night the storm began. Before my husband arrived home, he called me and told me to fill up our bathtub with water. Although I thought this was a little crazy, he said it would be our toilet flushing water. I did as he advised. Then he called me and asked if I thought he should buy a propane heater or a generator for the house. By this point I thought he was going a bit overboard with weather emergency preparation, but we have a little one, so I said nothing. We both decided that a generator wasn’t necessary, but a propane heater was. Neither of us really thought we would have to use either item.

Like clockwork, on Friday night our power went out. Fortunately, an hour later, it was restored. Than overnight, the power went off again several times but was restored again as well. Finally, Saturday the power went out for good. We were stuck in a Midwest Ice storm with no heat, way to travel, or electricity. Right away we broke into our weather emergency stash.

The propane heater we bought was absolutely perfect. If we ran it for 10 minutes, it would keep our house warm for about 2 hours. Than we had a kerosene lantern for light. Of course we had flashlights as well, but the lantern was brighter and lasted much longer.

We live in the country, so we have a well. This meant that when the electricity went off, the water pump for our well was shut off too. Thank goodness our weather emergency stash was packed with plenty of water. There were probably 15 gallons ready for our consumption and usage.

For food, we had plenty of room temperature food to eat. However, both my husband and I wanted to try a little cooking as well. We had neglected to buy a propane grill, but we decided that we could put a pan on top of our heater to boil water and make spaghetti. Sure enough, it worked. We were able to eat virtually unchanged though the weather emergency.

Entertainment was a little more difficult. Of course, in our weather emergency kit we had a weather radio. This radio is able to broadcast television channels, so we listened to a little television while we did a puzzle. My daughter is 21 months old, so she wasn’t bored. Although she did get a little grumpy about no television the first night, she got over it.

Since we hadn’t purchased a generator the first night before the storm, we had no way to watch television. Both my husband and I were desperate to watch a particular program on television. It was then that my husband came up with a brilliant idea. In his work van he had installed a power inverter. This is a device that hooks to your vehicle battery and allows you to plug in tools, appliance, and electric devices. He ran an extension cord from his van to the house and voila, we had television!

Although the power came back on within 2 days, we could have survived comfortably in our house for about 4 more. The weather emergency was an inconvenience, but it was a learning experience for my husband and I. It made us see what our emergency strengths are and what we could get to improve our situation. For example, know for a fact that the next time generators are on sale, there will be one in our cart! I am extremely proud of our family and how we dealt with the weather emergency and hope others take note and are able to do the same.

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