Nor’easter Prep

Well, here we are again—deep in the season of nor’easters. For those of you who aren’t in an area where there are nor’easters, here’s the Wiki description:

“A noreaster (also northeaster) is a macro-scale cyclone. … Nor‘easters are usually accompanied by very heavy rain or snow, and can cause severe coastal flooding, coastal erosion, hurricane-force winds, or blizzard conditions.”

It truly is a mixed bag of ice and snow, high winds, power outages, and bitter cold. They are a bit on the scary side, but as long as you do your homework and get your act together, they can be fun in their way.

Here are the general protocols when we in New Hampshire hear that a Nor’easter is coming our way:

  • Make sure that your snowblower is gassed up and ready to go; you’re going to need it.
  • Get the shovels out, too.
  • If you don’t have a generator, make sure that you have plenty of flashlights, headlamps, candles and matches, blankets, heavy socks and all your winter gear; *food you can eat without cooking, bottled water, etc.
  • Charge up your phones.
  • If you have a working fireplace and plan to use it, BE CAREFUL. You should have a professional clean it out on a regular basis, and know exactly what to do to keep it running efficiently.
  • Get the board games and cards out. You’d be surprised at how much fun these are when there is no TV or internet.
  • If you have the time, get your laundry done, take a shower, gas up the vehicles, and pick out some good books.
  • If you plan on using your outdoor gas grill, be careful.
  • Get in touch with family and/or friends and let them know where you are planning on going (if you don’t stay put), and/or if you are staying put.
  • Make sure that you have plenty of batteries for the flashlights, and, if you have them, plenty of oil for the oil lamps if you use them. And if you do, be careful to keep them in a place where they can’t get knocked over easily.
  • Be sure that you have fire extinguishers in the house, and be sure that they are up to date and that you know how to use them.
  • You can also get yourself a crank-up or battery-operated radio to keep in touch with what’s going on.
  • Have a plan in place just in case you have to evacuate:
    • In all the nor’easters I’ve been through, this never was an issue, but just in case it becomes one, have a plan  and make sure that everyone knows it.
    • It’s never a bad thing to have prepared a “bug out bag” containing what you need for a few days away from home. Don’t forget your meds, too.
    • If you have pets, have their traveling carriers ready. Be sure that there are towels and/or blankets for the bottom of the carriers, and one to cover up the carrier when you have to go outside. Be sure that you have their food, bowls and water as well as any medications they need. Make sure that they all have their collars on (with their nametag, your name, phone number and address, and their rabies, etc. tag. Or you can just have a tag that reads ‘all shots up to date [year].”)

All right, now that I’ve presented the worst case analysis on nor’easters, remember this: BE PREPARED, NOT SCARED. Being in a nor’easter can actually be fun as long as you’ve made the right preparations.

As for the Crankee Yankee and me and all our cats, we are good to go and ready as they say to “**face the music and dance.”

*Canned tuna, deviled ham, crackers, bread, sardines, canned vegetables and fruit, granola bars, raisins, dry cereal, etc. Don’t forget the pet food, too.

**”Let’s Face the Music and Dance” is a song written in 1936 by Irving Berlin for the film Follow the Fleet, where it was introduced by Fred Astaire and featured in a celebrated dance duet with Astaire and Ginger Rogers. It is also used in Pennies from Heaven, where Astaire’s voice is lip-synched by Steve Martin, and in a celebrated Morecambe and Wise sketch involving newsreader Angela Rippon.















What We Learn From Disasters

Hurricane Harvey has just about devastated parts of Texas; the water is still rising, and hundreds of thousands of people have had to leave their homes and businesses. Even with FEMA, the Red Cross, rescue workers, thousands of volunteers and regular folks helping out, the damage is horrific. Some lives have already been lost, and some people just have the clothes on their backs, their families and their pets.

In times like these, where often the best of humanity shines, we who are not affected by the hurricane wonder what we would do in a disaster such as this. Recently I posted a 72-hour emergency kit, listing all the things necessary to ride out most disasters.

But what happens when all our emergency supplies are submerged in water? What then do we do? This is how disasters can teach us to be as ready as possible. If we can think about what we might do to prepare in advance for a disaster, we can at least have peace of mind, knowing that we have a plan in place.

Even something as small as contacting friends or relatives and agreeing on a place to meet or, if phones are in service, agreeing to set up a *telephone tree. For peace of mind about important papers such as birth records, social security cards, etc., it’s easy enough to store them in an easy-to-reach sealed plastic bag. You can also invest in a small water-tight safe, either portable or in a wall safe, or just get a safe deposit box at your bank.

Another easy precaution is putting together what I call the “Arma Gettin’ Outa Here” bag (Armageddon bag, get it?). This, too, can be in an easy-to-reach bag or backpack that you can carry. In it, you can put freeze-dried food, toilet paper, sanitary supplies, a week’s worth of medications, a First Aid Kit, hand sanitizer, a set of clothes and extra shoes, keepsakes, and so on. Keep the bag/backpack in a place where you can grab it and go.

Important Note: If you have put your bag/backpack together, mark on your calendar to upgrade anything that might spoil or go out of date, especially your meds.

For your pets, have clean carriers ready with a clean blanket or towel inside. Mark the carrier with your name, address, phone number, pet’s name, your pet’s vet’s name, and location in indelible ink or a water-proof label. Be sure that you have a supply of food and water for them with you as well. There are many places where you can even order a hydration pack so that you can carry more water.

The bottom line in all this is to be as prepared as possible. A disaster might never happen, but in case it should, you will have the peace of mind knowing that you have a plan in place. This will keep you prepared, NOT scared.

*All a telephone tree is really just this: one person is in charge of calling the first person on the telephone list. That person then calls the next person, and so on.