Friday, June 29, an unexpected lightning and wind storm pounded the DC area pretty hard. A large tree branch from our neighbor's tree hit our house, toppling the top of our chimney, tearing off a good deal of the rain gutters on the west side of our house, some of the fascia, eventually crushing our fence and spreading across our patio, yard, and my humble vegetable garden. The storm left us with no power and very little cell phone service for about a week of 100 degree weather. Yes, it was a great chance to see how prepared we were! The little boys and I were out of town, so Andrew had to literally "weather the storm" solo, and thankfully he came out to see us mid-week.
Useful tools that we had
- A community of people who depended on each other
- A lantern
- Food that won't go bad in 100 degree weather
- Cash. Some gas stations (and grocery stores) in our area didn't have power, but they would give gas and services for cash
- A three-month emergency fund
|Our downed fence|
- A generator for our fridge
- A (battery-powered) drill
- A chainsaw
- A more powerful lantern
- More tarps (to plug up the holes in the fascia and chimney)
|Our chimney meets our patio|
- How much do generators cost, and how long would they be able to power a refrigerator?
- If we had all been in the area and had been separated before the storm hit, what would be the best emergency plan for meeting up?
- With no cell or internet service, how would we contact our families to let them know we were okay?
- Andrew had to go into the attic to get our lantern. It's staying in our closet now.
- It's been on our to-do list to route a gasline to our range so we can trade in our electric for a gas range. With how common large storms and power outages are in this area, it would be good to be able to cook without power.
- We're in the habit of running on fumes. We'll be keeping a little more gas in our car now.
- If this storm happened in the winter, we would need to use our wood-burning stove and have lots and lots of firewood on hand (which we do, thanks to this storm!).
- Get to know the neighbors! It's better for everyone if you know everyone up and down your street, what resources they may have, and what service they may need (particularly in the case of elderly people or immigrants/refugees who may not know the area, people, or language).
|A car navigating a tree stuck on a powerline in front of our house|
I know Nonie has done a lot of studying, preparing and practicing for disasters, and hopefully she does her own post with more ideas and resources. What other suggestions do you have for disaster preparedness?