Are you really prepared for an emergency?

Do you own a first aid kit? Is it stocked? Do you have a safety car kit for the winter? If your house caught fire in the middle of the night tonight would you and your family know what to do? Do you keep a fire extinguisher in your home? Are your smoke detectors working?

If you are feeling worried right now about these things, start taking action NOW. It is too late when you’re standing on the sidewalk watching your house burn down from a kitchen fire you could have put out with a fire extinguisher. It is too late when you have to bury a member of the family who didn't know to leave the house because there was a dead battery in the smoke alarm, and they died of smoke inhalation in their bedroom.

Start Planning Now

I don't want you to panic, but for the next little while, make these kits and preparation plans a top priority for you and your family. Work on them a little bit at a time, and in no time they'll be ready and you can let some worry and anxiety go.

Start a family meeting and plan your fire exit plan. Practice it every three months. Prepare an emergency suit case you leave in the front hall closet to grab on the way out of the house. Or rent a safety deposit box to place some important things into.

Start the Emergency section in your CleanHome Life Organizer Journal, so you'll have it to reference.

There are real benefits to being prepared for life threatening situations. Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and prevent losses that accompany disasters. Don't put it off, the need to prepare is real.

Make a first Aid kit

Actually you should make more then one first aid kit. You should have one at home and one for each vehicle you have. If you buy the supplies in bulk that don't expire you'll have a easy portable first aid kit on hand where ever you are in no time.

A well-stocked first-aid kit is a necessity in every home. But don't panic if you can't get all this stuff together right away, you can buy ready made first aid kits, or just keep stocking it up until you get it done.

The first-aid kit should be kept in an easy to reach place. Not stuffed behind a million unfolded towels in the linen closet. Also be sure to pack a mini first aid kit when you go on vacation or out for recreation like when boating, or hiking for example

Choose a container for your kit that is roomy, durable, easy to carry, and simple to open. Plastic tackle boxes or containers for storing art supplies are ideal, since they're lightweight, have handles, and offer a lot of space. A durable back pack for hiking trips, or bike rides is a good idea, as they are easy to carry.

The following items are basic supplies. You can get most of them at a pharmacy or supermarket.

Home Kits
Bandages and Dressings
Adhesive bandages in several shapes and sizes
Adhesive tape - 1" roll, 1 (waterproof, if possible)
Steri-Strips: 1 package. (skin closure)
Ace Bandage (elastic): Include 1 - 4 inch roll.
Non-Adhesive Dressing - 2
Gauze pads - various sizes
Gauze rolls (1/2 to 2 inches wide)
Eye Pad - Sterile - 1
Triangular Bandage / Sling– 2

Wound cleansers
Alcohol wipes
Antiseptic wipes
Hand Towels - 3
Hydrogen peroxide
Mild liquid soap (avoid antibacterial and deodorant soaps) 2-4oz
Cotton balls
Cotton swabs
Eye wash- 1 small vial. (i.e. Visine, Clear eyes)

OTC pain meds [Aspirin, Tylenol, Ibuprofen] bring several types, aprox 20 of each.

Children's and infants' non-aspirin liquid pain reliever (acetaminophen)
Antihistamine (allergies)
Antibacterial cream
Antibiotic ointment
Calamine lotion
Sunscreen SPF #15 or greater 3-4 oz.
Lip Balm with sunscreen, 1 tube.
Activated Charcoal (poisoning emergencies)
Insect Sting Kit, 1.

Gloves Disposable - 2 pair
Thermometer (young children - include both oral and rectal thermometers)
Safety Pins - 5
Scissors – Blunt/Sharp 1
Face mask for CPR ( not really necessary for home use, this is recommended to prevent passing communicable diseases and virus from paitent to helper when administering CPR, one for the car kit is more important)
Length of surgical tubing, 1: Constricting band

First aid guide
Paper & pencil
Your list of emergency phone numbers
Ice Packs: Include 2. hot and cold
Heating pad
Flashlight and extra batteries
Water purification tabs, 1 bottle:
Petroleum jelly

    The contents of the kit should be updated frequently, and any medications with expiration dates replaced, as well as any dressings that are old.

Car kit
First aid handbook
Roll 1" tape
Gauze pads in assorted sizes
Gauze compresses in assorted sizes
Elastic wrap bandage
Oval eye pads (2)
Adhesive bandages in assorted shapes and sizes
Antiseptic wipes
Betadine prep pads
Alcohol prep pads
Triple antibiotic ointment
Hydrocortisone cream
Burn hydrocolloids
Instant cold/hot packs
Eye wash bottle
Emergency phone numbers/contacts
Allergy/health condition information

Camping/hiking kits- It’s equally important to have a first aid/survival kit with you whenever you’re going to be hiking or camping in the woods. This kit should be lightweight and small.

Adult Kit
        Store the supplies in two or three half or whole sized Zip Lock sandwich bags to keep them safe from the elements
        One bag should contain supplies for more serious injuries, like deep wounds. For these keep a small roll (a couple feet) of cling (self adhering) and tube gauze, and 4 non-stick gauze pads.
        Another bag (which can be combined with the one above if you’d like) should contain dressings and supplies for minor wounds. One extra large bandage, 5 or so plastic adhesive bandages, 2 fingertip bandages, and some knuckle and butterfly (wound closure) bandages.
        The third bag should contain medications and cleaning supplies. 4 alcohol prep pads (individually wrapped), a small hydrocortisone (anti-itch) cream tube, some antibacterial ointment, Tylenol, ibuprofen, and aspirin should be brought for fever and pain relief. Bring enough for two doses, and remember that aspirin should not be given to children. You may want to bring diarrhea medicine as well, just in case.
Other things you should bring are a throwaway brightly colored Poncho, a good high powered whistle, a Power bar or trail mix snack, and a hypothermia blanket. These blankets are large but extremely compact and will keep you warm and alive if you are lost or stuck somewhere with an injury.

Child Kit
The following kit is an example of what a children/teens should carry when going to day camp, or overnight camping, or going off bike riding, or to the skate park alone etc.
A Zip Lock sandwich bag for the container (this bag can also be used as a sort of drinking water cup)
Some high energy trail mix or a Power bar (in a separate zip lock bag)
A good whistle that can be heard over a mile away (three short blasts will translate into S.O.S for searchers)
A signal flag that should be about 5x10 inches and a bright color and made of a durable material (like a bright colored trash bag.
A reflector to send signals. This can be a small compact mirror, or a piece of tin foil wrapped around a piece of cardboard (avoid sharp edges)
large sized brightly colored Poncho or garbage bag with a pre-cut “head slot”. This will protect the child from bad weather as well as help keep in body heat to ward of hypothermia
A couple adhesive bandages for any minor cuts and scrapes they pick up along the way.
A small pocket flashlight.

Check your kit regularly, and replace any supplies that are getting low or which have expired.

Driving Safely

A lot of us spend a lot of time in our car, commuting back and forth to work, school and events, weekend trips out of town, and even week long driving vacations over holidays and summer. Checking over you car for safety and having a car safety kit for all sesons of driving is important.

You never know when you'll kill the battery by accident from running the radio too long at the beach, or when the cold winter weather will drop so low your car won't start without a boost after a long shopping trip at the mall.

    Here are two lists of what to keep in your car.

    The following items should be kept in the car all the time:

  • Road maps
  • The car manual
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Your Car First-aid Kit
  • Booster cables
  • Gas Can
  • "Call Police" Sign for your Window
  • If you have a cell phone make sure you carry a car charger with you. If you don't have one, consider a pay as you go service plan and keep it for emergencies only.
  • A car jack, spare tire, gloves and a cross wrench for changing a flat tire
  • Tire pressure gague
  • Warning light or road flares for night emergencies

  • Car Winter Safety Kit

  • Shovel- just a small retractable one to help dig yourself out of a snow, or spread sand for traction if needed.
  • Sand or kitty litter- used for traction if your stuck on ice or packed snow.
  • Compass
  • Cloth rags or a roll of paper towels
  • Extra winter clothing and boots ( this is because we often dress for where we are going not getting stuck in a snow bank. Having your kids snow pants, and everyone's scarves, mittens and winter boots for everyone will ensure warmth if your stuck or need to walk any distance.)
  • Emergency food pack-Pack canned foods like Tuna, a bottle of peanut butter, dry snack bars, nuts etc. A can opener and a case or a few large bottles of bottled water.
  • Ice scraper and brush
  • a box of matches and a fat long candle in a empty Apple Juice can (to warm hands, heat a
  • drink or use as an emergency light)
  • Small Fire extinguisher
  • Extra windshield washer fluid
  • Gas line antifreeze
  • A large warm blanket or two.

Car Care Check List weekly and before a long trip

Car maintenance is important for safety, but also for saving money of costly repairs that could be fixed sooner and cause less damage, and also to give you better gas mileage.

I know that not all women are keen on getting their hands dirty, but these things are easy to learn, and I'm not talking about changing a transmission. If you don't have a spouse or a mechanic who can do these things for you, ask someone to teach you how to do it. It will save you time, aggravation and money.

You don't need to be a mechanic to do a little car inspection such as checking your tire treads or listening for squeaky brakes. Many of them you'll be able to perform yourself, but some will require a visit to your trusted mechanic, or input from your mechanically inclined spouse/partner or friend.

Either way, making sure your vehicle is roadworthy is a task that shouldn't be overlooked. I had a friend who never knew to check the engine oil and transmission fluid an basically drove the car until it was completely dry of fluids and ceased up on a major 400 series highway in Toronto, Canada. Rather then a few dollars of maintenance of oil changes and topping up of fluids, he had to buy a new car... a VERY expensive lesson to learn!

The following is a general checklist of things to consider on a weekly and monthly basis. You can check them over on your Sunday "prep for the week" task list and 10 minute Clean Car sweep.


•Once a month, check the tire treads. Uneven wear indicates a misalignment. The car should be taken to a trained professional for diagnosis and correction. If you have difficulty seeing the tread, you need to replace your tires. Blowouts always take time to fix and they can lead to a dangerous accident.

•Keep tires inflated to recommended pressure (in your car manual in the glove compartment).

•Rotate tires after the first 5,000 miles and every 7,000 miles thereafter.


•Once a week, check to make sure brakes are working properly and be mindful of any squeaking.

•Once a month, check brake fluid.

Engine Oil

•Every other time you fill your gas tank, you should check the oil. Know what kind of oil your car takes and keep some spare jugs in your trunk in your car kit.

•Schedule an oil change every three months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first.

Oil Filter

•Replace oil filter every time you change the oil.

Transmission Fluid

•Once a month, check the transmission fluid: While engine is warm and running, put emergency brake on and leave it on for the whole time. Next, shift to drive, then to park. Check dipstick. Add fluid if needed; don't overfill.


•Once a week, check to make sure headlights and brake lights are clean and working. Check signal and hazard lights as well.

•Keep spare bulbs and fuses in your car kit.


•Check battery with every oil change. Make sure there's no open flame, including a lit cigarette, near the battery. Battery cables should be secure and free of corrosion.


•Once a week, check antifreeze and coolant levels. Never remove pressure cap when engine is hot.


•When you get your oil changed, request that they inspect all belts and hoses for excessive wear and tear.

Air filter

•Once every - other month, check air filter. Replace with every tune-up, or whenever you see that it's dirty.


•Once a month, check for holes in pipes and muffler. Make sure there are no loose or broken clamps, or rusted parts.

•Once a year, check emission for compliance with local emission laws.

Planning for a Fire

No one ever plans to have a fire in their home, but knowing a head of time what to do, and planning for ways to prevent small incidents of fire from spreading can really save you a lot of anxiety, time and money.

The first thing to do is to make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen that is easily to get at in case of a fire at the stove.

The second thing to do, is to check your smoke detectors in your home every spring and fall. if you add this habit into changing your clocks back and forth, you’ll remember to do it. If you don't have enough smoke detectors in your home, make them a number 1 priority on your list of getting prepared for an emergency. You can't plan to exit a burning house if you are die from smoke inhalation in your sleep because you didn't have a detector to warn you.

The third thing to do is to get a carbon monoxide detector if you have gas appliances and hearting source. Carbon monoxide poisoning is fatal and invisible until it is too late in most cases without a detector.

Remember: These purchases can most likely lower your house insurance payments, and can probably be deducted from your taxes as household costs. Ask your accountant.

Making a Fire Exit Plan

Each family member must know what to do in the event of a fire in their home. Unless a small fire can be easily controlled, it is recommended that fighting the fire be left to professional firefighters and that family members escape safely from the home.

A home escape plan must be created and practiced so that each person knows exactly what to do.

Most residential fires occur between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. Deaths from residential fires occur in greater numbers between midnight and 4 a.m. when most people are asleep. An average of 800 fires strike residential buildings each day in the United States. More than 6,500 persons die each year from fire - more than half of them children and senior citizens. The majority of these deaths are in home fires.

Regardless of the cause of the fire, a home may be filled with smoke. This is a very dangerous situation. Family members may be unable to see very well. The smoke and toxic gases may cause dizziness and disorientation. In the confusion, one can easily become lost or trapped in the home. Family members must understand that their safety depends upon quickly leaving the home. It has been proven that exit drills reduce chances of panic and injury in fires and that trained and informed people have a much better chance to survive fires in their home.

Plan Ahead

The first step in escaping a fire in the home is to plan ahead. Together, family members can decide on an escape plan in the event of a fire in the home.

Bedroom doors should be closed while people are sleeping. It takes fire 10 to 15 minutes to burn through a wooden door. That's 10 to 15 minutes more for the inhabitant to escape. Next, family members should visit each bedroom and figure out two escape routes -
The normal exit
The other exit through a door or a window

Plan an Escape Route

Each member of the family should know how to get safely outside by at least two routes. Family members should practice opening their windows to become familiar with their operation. Jammed windows should be identified and repaired. If, during a fire, a window is jammed, it may be broken out with an object and a blanket or towel placed over the frame to cover shards of glass. However, it is much safer to open a window than it is to break the glass out.

Windows that are nailed shut, or stuck, or have irremovable security bars on them are not fire regulation. The inability to get out in a case of fire, will limit your exit points.

Realize the Danger of Smoke

Each member of the family should understand the importance of crawling low under smoke. Smoke and heat rise so the best place to find fresher, cooler air is near the floor. When a person is caught in a building filled with smoke, they should drop on hands and knees and crawl to the nearest exit. Test all closed doors before opening them. Feel the back of the door. If it is hot, don't open it. Turn and go to the second route of exit. If the door is not hot, open slowly but be prepared to slam it closed again if there are flames.

Practice what to do if you become trapped. Since doors hold back smoke and firefighters are adept at rescue, the chances of survival are excellent. Close doors between you and the smoke. Stuff the cracks and cover vents to keep smoke out. If there's a phone, call in your exact location to the fire department even if they are on the scene. Wait at the window and signal with a sheet or flashlight or something visible.

Establish a Safe Meeting Place

A special meeting place should be established a safe distance from the house. It could be a mailbox, the neighbour’s driveway or a large tree in the yard. Whatever it is, it must be something that is stationary and won't be moved (such as a car). This is where everyone meets in the event of a fire. It also prevents family members from wandering around the neighbourhood looking for one another, or worse, being tempted to re-enter the burning house for one thought to be trapped inside.

Once outside at the special meeting place, a person can be sent to the neighbour’s to call 9-1-1. If anyone is missing, give that information to the fire department immediately and tell them where the probable location of the missing person could be. Under no circumstances should anyone re-enter the burning building.

Provide for Those Requiring Additional Help

Special provisions may be required for infants, young children, disabled or the elderly who may need additional help when escaping. These provisions should be included in the home fire escape plan and discussed with family members.

When afraid, children commonly seek sheltered places such as a closet or under the bed. Encourage them to exit outside. Do not allow them to hide. Make sure children can operate the windows, descend a ladder, or lower themselves to the ground through a window. (Slide out on the stomach, feet first. Hang on with both hands. Bend the knees when landing.) Lower children to the ground before you exit from the window. They may panic and not follow if an adult goes first.

Have children practice saying the fire department number, the family name, and street address into the phone.

Practice Your Fire Escape Plan

One very good step in the planning of a home fire escape plan is to make a floor diagram of the house. Mark the regular and emergency escape routes, as well as windows, doors, stairs, halls.

A good way to practice the effectiveness of a home fire escape plan is to position each family member in his or her bed, turn all the lights off, and activate the smoke detector by depressing the test switch. Each family member should help "awaken" the others by yelling the alert. Family members should exit their rooms according to the plan, crawl low under smoke, practice feeling doors for heat, and meet in the designated location outside the home.

Not all "homes" are single residential structures but include apartments and other types of buildings. Some additional discussion may be helpful in the home escape plan.

Most high-rise or multi-story apartment complexes post fire escape plans for all residents to see and follow. However, these plans seldom include escape routes for each apartment. Family members must develop and practice an evacuation plan for their individual apartment.

Exit Safely From a Structure

Jumping from upper floors of a building should be avoided. However, if the fire is upon you and there is no other option, it is possible to hang from a second story window and drop feet first to the ground without significant injury. A sprained ankle or broken leg is better than dying. Parents can purchase fire ladders for the bedrooms, or instruct children to use an adjacent porch or garage roof to await rescue by the fire department.

When exiting such a structure, do not use the elevator. Elevators are notorious for stopping at the fire floor and killing the people inside. A power failure may cause them to stop in between floors. Use the fire escape or an enclosed fire resistive stairwell to exit.

As a family, explore the building so that every exit, is familiar, including those from storage, laundry and recreation rooms. If the hallways become smoke-filled as the result of a fire, memory can help in finding the exits.

Look for these important features in the building - enclosed exit stairways, clearly-marked exits, clean hallways and lobbies, automatic sprinklers, fire alarm systems and smoke detectors.

Remember, the first step toward escaping a fire is to plan ahead. Practice a home fire escape plan throughout the year and be sure that if anything should change around the home, it is included in the home fire escape plan.

Making a "To Go " Case for Emergencies

If you can afford a safety deposit box at your bank, consider it a wise investment in your valuables that cannot be replaced by insurance coverage. Things like pictures and family videos, family heirloom jewellery, and important documents.

If you cannot do that create a "to go case" with a combination lock on it and put it in the front hall closet of your home. Make it one person's job to grab it on the way out the door in a fire, or take it with you if your leaving due to flooding or need to evacuate due to severe weather coming through.

Also, you should make it a habit TODAY to put your CleanHome Life Organiser near the door with your coat and shoes and purse every night as part of your locking up bedtime routine. Not only is it good organization for the morning when you’re in a hurry to get out the door on time, but if you need to flea in the middle of the night, you'll know right where it is. Your CleanHome Life Organiser will have all the important information you'll need like family phone numbers, doctors numbers, your insurance broker's number, your keys for the vehicle, wallet with cash and cards etc. in case you won't be back home for a long time.

Here is a list of the things you should put in your "To Go Case" kept in the front hall closet, or at a trusted family member's home.
•Any personal items that would cause you to say, "If I lose this, I am in deep trouble." Important papers to consider putting into your safe deposit box or to go case: originals of your insurance policies; family records such as birth, marriage and death certificates; original deeds, titles, mortgages, leases and other contracts; stocks, bonds and certificates of deposit (CDs). Other valuables worthy of a spot in your safe deposit box include special jewels, medals, rare stamps and other collectibles, negatives or CD copies of your irreplaceable photos, and videos or pictures of your home's contents for insurance purposes (in case of theft or damage).
•A list of important numbers and account numbers for insurance companies, banks & accountants etc.
•Weekly, or monthly back ups of your computer hard drive on DVD/CD's
•Scans of your photos in albums. Most people do digital these days, so back up your picture albums and digital files of pictures and label them by date and then put back up's in your case. If you still have hard copy photos that are important to you, put them in the case as well, or consider a project of scanning them and copying them to a CD for digital saving as well. You cannot replace your photos if they burn up in the house, or your computer is damaged beyond repair.

•Originals of a "power of attorney" (your written authorization for another person to transact business on your behalf)
•Passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates etc.
•Medical-care directives if you become ill and incapacitated, and funeral or burial instructions you have them.

NOTE: Consider giving the originals of power of attorney and wills etc, to your attorney, and making copies to go in your safe deposit box or to go case.

Planning for a Nature Related Emergency

No matter where in the world we live we are not spared from the havoc that mother nature can dump on us. From earth quakes, tornadoes, Wild fires, hurricanes, flooding, blizzards, ice storms and tsunamis, it doesn't matter where you call home. At any time you could find yourself in the midst of a nature related emergency. Being prepared will ensure your survival and safety.

Preparing an Emergency Kit

After a disaster, local officials and relief workers will be on the scene, but they cannot reach everyone immediately. If you cannot evacuate, you might be around fo a while waiting for help. You could get help in hours, or it may take days. Your family will cope best by preparing for disaster before it strikes. One way to prepare is by assembling a Disaster Supplies Kit. Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members.

Place the supplies you'd most likely need for an evacuation in an easy- to-carry container like a rubber maid tote, hockey bag or garbage can. Remember that disasters happen anytime and anywhere. And when disaster strikes, you may not have much time to respond. An earthquake, flood, winter storm, tornado, or other disaster could cut off basic services -gas, h2o, electricity, phone -for days.

WATER A normally active person needs to drink at least two quarts of water each day. Hot environments and intense physical activity can double that amount. Children, nursing mothers and ill people will need more. Store one gallon of water per person per day (two quarts for drinking, two quarts for food preparation/sanitation)*Keep at least a three-day supply of water for each person in your household. Change your stored water supply every six months so it stays fresh, or add a teaspoon of chlorine bleach to every 5 gallons to allow it to last safely for a year, if it is not sealed and sterile when you store it.

FOOD Store at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of Sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight. Canned apple juice, milk, soup (if powdered, store extra water) Rotate your stored food according to expiration dates.

• Ready-to-eat canned meats and fish, fruits and vegetables

• Staples--sugar, salt, pepper.

• High energy foods--peanut butter, jelly, crackers, granola bars, trail mix

• Foods for infants, elderly persons or persons on special diets

• Comfort/stress foods--cookies, hard candy, sweetened cereals, lollipops, instant coffee, tea bags.

If you want you can make an extra first aid kit for this disaster kit that doesn't get used.


• plastic cups, plates and utensils

• Battery-operated radio and extra batteries ( Replace batteries at least once a year)

• Flashlight and extra batteries

• Cash or traveler's checks, change

• Nonelectric can opener, utility knife

• Fire extinguisher: small canister, ABC type

• Tube tent

• Pliers

• Duct Tape ( it fixes everything )

• Strike anywhere, waterproof matches

• Aluminium foil

• Plastic storage containers

• Signal flare

• Paper, pencil

• Needles, thread

• Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water

• Whistle

• Plastic sheeting


• Toilet paper, towelettes

• Soap, liquid detergent

• Feminine supplies / Personal hygiene items

• White kitchen garbage bags & ties (for personal sanitation uses)

• Plastic bucket with tight lid

• Disinfectant / Household chlorine bleach

CLOTHING & BEDDING Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person. Re-think your kit and family needs at least once a year to update clothes.

• Sturdy shoes or boots
• Hat and gloves
• Rain gear
• Thermal underwear
• Blankets or sleeping bags

SPECIAL ITEMS Remember family members with special needs, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons.

For Baby:

•Formula / Powdered milk ( or extra water and foods for breastfeeding mother)
•Sippy cups, spoons, etc.
•Any Medications

For Adults:

•Prescription medications (heart medicines, insulin, antibiotics etc)
•Contact lenses and supplies / Extra eye glasses
•Entertainment--games and books.

•A minimum of $100 in cash (automated teller machines and banks may be shut down following a natural disaster. Put in 5 or 10 dollars at a time if you can't put it all in at once, and then forget it is there, don't tap into it for any other reason besides an absolute life or death emergency)

•Family photos and descriptions, to aid emergency personnel in finding missing people. Update these every 6 months or so ( when you change your smoke alarm batteries is a good time, that way you've done it twice a year. Start stinging your habit!)

If your stuck in your home with no heat and power in cold seasons, close off all the doors and stay in one smaller room as much as possible to generate heat ( in cold seasons). Your bodies will generate heat. A master bedroom is a good idea, make it a campout with the kids on the floor with sleeping bags, so everyone stays as warm as possible. DO NOT burn a fireplace or a BBQ inside for heat as you could end up with carbon monoxide poisoning! Layer up on clothes, be active and move around to raise your own internal temperature a bit, and wrap up in blankets and huddle as much as possible.

While without power, remember that opening your refrigerator and freezer can be a judgment call if you have no electricity. If indications are that power will be restored within a day or so, most foods will be fine as long as you don't open freezer or refrigerator doors. If you think it's going to be a long emergency, however, you might as well consume foods while they last. Watch for spoilage, and toss anything that's suspect.

As was the case in the big black out in the summer of 2003, foods were safer when we cooked them up on the BBQ and then stored them in coolers, rather then risk them spoiling from the raw stage, in the un-powered fridge. Thankfully, with it being summer, and being armed with flashlights and battery powered mini TV and radio, the Blackout of 2003 was fun for our family, and most of our neighbouring cities.

Many block/street parties with cars blasting music, BBQ's cooking up steaks and the kids eating the melting ice-cream, and a little minor sweating was all that really occurred. If it had of happened in the winter of 2003, it might have been a different story!

These supplies are no help if you can't get to them, so make sure every household member knows where they are.

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