Sitting in the dark next to my woodstove, with a few candles and the glow of my laptop to light the way, I can only surmise how the 1.5 million people who were affected by the freezing ice storm that immobilized the Northeast last week are doing. Yes, last week and most have had their power restored. Over a week ago, the trees came crashing down in the weight of an ice storm, bringing the power lines down across my long driveway, igniting a transformer in front of my home in a burst of shooting flames.
Thus, began a long week, which at the moment, the worst of it for my home seems to be a flooded basement and tree through my husband’s office. We are lucky. We have a generator that can power the well pump, the refrigerator, the hot water heater and one light. We have a woodstove for heat and a gas stove for cooking. The cars were spared from the storm’s wreckage, although we couldn’t get them down the long driveway. Most folks have been less fortunate. At the local Internet cafe, stories of trees through windows and house fires were the buzz for days after the storm. In the outlining areas of our town (like my home), people are still without power and at the mercy of the electric company, tree services and electricians. Many have had to leave their homes for lack of heat and to take a well deserved shower.
Emergencies are never easy and wrought with anxiety. Being prepared can ease some stress. Whether it is snow, ice, floods, fires, hurricanes or just occasional power outages, preparing your family and home for emergencies is essential. We have greened our emergency response items for accommodating this latest natural disaster. Each family will need to tweak their own kit to fit their homes needs.
EcoNesting PowerOut Kit:
• Water in stainless steel bottles. My favorite are from KleanKanteen.
• Crank Flashlight that doesn’t use bulbs or batteries-can be used for 45 minutes of triple LED illumination.
• Laptop computer–a luxury, but for a writer, a must.
Here’s a kit from Green Home that you can buy which includes a wind-up lantern, solar LED radio with NOAA weather and flashlight.
The house doesn’t feel quite like a home when you are groping around in the dark. For safely reasons, remember to remove throw rugs to avoiding tripping. Also, be aware of where your pets are. I stumbled over a dog in the middle of the night and almost went headfirst into my woodstove.
It will take weeks to clean up all of the downed trees and debris on my property. We finally bushwhacked the 4-wheel drive around the power lines on the driveway leaving a sea of mud mess on my lawn. The cell phone and iPod are recharging in the car. I found that the VW Jetta diesel will recharge the electronics when the car in not on. The Toyota truck will not. The iPod and headlamp are waiting to be the evening’s entertainment. Oops. The laptop battery is flashing. Over and out for now.
Ronnie Citron-Fink lives in New York with her husband, two children (when they come home to the nest), two dogs and a cat. Ronnie is a teacher and a writer. She has been a contributing writer for Family Fun magazine. She currently writes articles about education and home design. Her writings are in four books including Family Fun Home and Some Delights of the Hudson Valley.