It's been a wet and stormy
spring in the Midwest. We've already had two storms that knocked out the power
at our house. When the first storm hit, I was woefully unprepared. I spent the
first 10 minutes fumbling around in the dark searching for flashlights. I
finally found a couple in the garage, but not before I stubbed my toe on a
scrap piece of cedar, which deposited a large and painful sliver in my foot. I
spent the next 10 minutes hopping around in the dark searching for batteries to
replace the dead ones in the flashlight.
After the flashlights were
working, I examined my throbbing toe. It was a nasty wound that required
scissors, gauze, tape and tweezers, all of which had to be tracked down at different
locations throughout the house. Never again! I vowed that I'd be ready for the
next storm. So the very next day, I made a trip to The Home Depot.
My first purchase was a 3M
First Aid Kit for $20. I already owned most of the 118 items that came in the
kit, but now the next time I'm clumsy, everything I need to patch me up will
all be in the same location.
Next I bought a folding
lantern made by Energizer. It's got a handle so it's easy to carry around, but
it also has a stand to keep it upright when you set it down. Its 300 lumens
light up a whole room, and the light shines 360 degrees, which comes in handy
when you're passing the time playing cards. Regular flashlights light up the
table OK, but the players get stuck in the shadows, which makes it hard for
them to read their cards and hard for me to keep an eye on them (not that
anyone in my family would ever dream of cheating). One of the best features of
this lantern is that it folds up nice and compact.
Since storms were on my mind,
I also ended up buying a waterproof fire-safe. In case of some disaster, our
homeowner's insurance will replace most of our stuff, but certain heirlooms
can't be replaced at any price. The Home Depot has a large selection in stock to
choose from. I bought one made by Sentry for $29.
Before leaving the Depot, I
bought a bottle of propane to run my camping stove if power stayed off for more
than a day and we wanted a hot meal. I also bought plenty of batteries for the
new lantern and extras for my flashlights at home. Finally, I bought a sturdy
storage bin to keep it all together. Here's how I filled my emergency kit:
3M First Aid Kit
Bottle of propane
Energizer Folding Lantern
Small battery-operated radio
Pint of whiskey for Dad
The rule in the house is that
no one is allowed to pilfer the emergency kit. If the TV remote runs out of
batteries, too bad—the batteries in the kit are off limits!
June is National Safety Month,
which is kind of fitting because it was the first weekend in June that I got to
try out my new emergency kit. Things went much smoother this second time
around: no stumbling in the dark; the kids listened to their music; we all played
cards (no cheating); Dad had his libations...all was as it should be.
— Mark Petersen, Contributing
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