Isaac changes plans: A Cigars and Legs guide to surviving a storm.

Ah, this week isn’t one for writing something specific: This has been a week of getting ready. While I’m certain that Isaac isn’t coming here, I’m not tempting fate by relying on my gut instinct in this case. Being responsible is part of being an adult. This isn’t an advice for when things go totally FUBAR. This is just when the general supply system is temporarily tango uniform. So here’s a short supply list, for general life and especially emergencies:

– Light, and ways to make it. We have this, but we always have this; I carry two flashlights with me usually (one on the messenger bag, and a keychain light on my person), plus a variety of them in the house. This comes with an added responsibility: batteries, on which we are stocked for the flashlights. Incidentally, if the power stays on, we’re also stocked up for the Wiimote.
– Water, and enough per person. This should go without saying. You don’t actually have to get all 8 glasses of fluid from water, but in the heat (which is what happens after a hurricane; not necessarily a rainbow, thank you very much) water is one of the better options. Water also requires a lot of energy to heat up, so it can be pretty refreshing even on a hot day if stored well.
– Food. Sure, you can go without food for a while (I certainly could!). But why? Non-perishable stuff is great, but not always that healthy or tasty. BE CAREFUL WITH FOOD THAT EASILY SPOILS. When I was a teen, I drank some milk that had went bad thinking it was all right in the cooler (the power went out). This was not true and I was sick for days. In the heat and humidity.
a) If you have food that must be prepared, a way to prepare it. I have a propane grill, and I can cook any number of things on it. (It also has a single stove-style burner on which I can cook stuff in a pot!) If that fails I have the ability to make fire.
b) A good cooler stocked with ice and some water (food gets/stays cooler in a mix of ice and water because the water transfers cold to the food better than air would) can stay cold for days if kept in a cool location and not opened too much. But I’d avoid dairy if possible. Plastic bags around food are great, too, for keeping it dry.
– Shelter. Unless the storm defies all odds we’ve got that covered… but even then we have backup plans. Also, our windows are boarded up.
– Defense. Mmm, defense. Look, society can break down at any point. I’m not advocating owning enough to stock a private militia, but don’t depend on the goodness of others for your own safety. Especially not during a mandatory evacuation — the police won’t make you leave, but they won’t be there to help.
– Entertainment. Board games, books, and well-charged portable electronic devices are a good start. I’ve got a portable crank-driven radio that will charge cellphones as well.
– Medical supplies. For every day life, too. Some bandaids, ointments (Neosporin, etc), and alcohol/hydrogen peroxide for sterilizing wounds will go a long way in daily life, but in disaster scenarios you want more.
– Alcohol for drinking. This falls under entertainment and medical supplies; in a pinch, a high by volume drink can sterilize. Also, as a note, Scotch doesn’t have to be refrigerated (just kept out of the sun). I’ve moved away from having it with anything added to it which makes it even more versatile.
– Tobacco, for smoking. Cigars also don’t require electricity, and I smoke them outside anyway.
– Legs. You know what entertainment doesn’t require electricity, or charging, or any trappings of modern day life? I’ll give you a clue: Follow the legs up!
So there’s your Cigars and Legs guide to surviving a storm. Some of this may sound paranoid until you realize nature is quite cruel and ruthless in many regions and it never hurts to be ready for a temporary break down of supplies.