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If the year 2020 has taught us anything it’s that anything can happen. We’ve experienced devastating wildfires and hurricanes, civil unrest, and many levels of economic and personal turmoil resulting from the pandemic.
You’ve had plenty of time this year to think about what to stock up on during a two-week quarantine, but what about an extended grid-down event? Here are 12 tasks you need to complete before the proverbial SHTF.
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1. See A Mechanic For Routine Vehicle Maintenance
Have you been putting off getting that new set of tires or seeing about the “check engine” light? You’ll need your vehicles to be in their best working order in the event of a long-term grid failure.
Auto mechanic shops will be closed, and car supplies – from the basic to the unusual – will be at a premium. Also, aim to keep your vehicle gas tanks at least half full at all times.
2. Withdraw Cash From The Bank
Debit cards and charge cards will do you no good during an extended power outage. Automated tellers won’t operate, and banks are likely to be closed.
Experts recommend that you should have enough cash on hand to cover at least one month of your living expenses. This amount is different for everyone, so think about what sum is realistic for your family.
Withdraw the cash in mostly twenties and even smaller bills that will be easier to spend in an emergency. Avoid storing your money all in one place. Instead, divide it among a few safe locations around your home.
3. Bring Home Contents Of Your Safety Deposit Box
This subject is a matter of debate among preppers. The decision of where you keep your valuable items and papers is a personal one that depends on your individual situation.
Some people feel better having those valuables in a home safe while others feel better with them stored in an off-premise location. However, in the event of a grid failure, you should have your legal documents on hand, not in a bank that may not be open.
4. Convert Cash To Metals
Some prepping experts advise converting some of your savings into gold or silver for long-term security. However, the subject also is a matter of debate.
Precious metals will not buy you food or water after a disaster, but it may indeed be worth considering spreading your wealth among a balanced set of currencies and goods for the long haul.
5. Refill Your Prescriptions
We always think about our need for food and water, but for some people, one of the most life-threatening aspects of a grid failure could be running out of medication.
Make a list of any daily meds your family needs and refill those prescriptions. You may need to schedule appointments with your medical professionals to make this happen, so don’t delay.
While you’re at it, this is a good time to check your supply of over-the-counter medicines, such as pain relievers and cough and cold products. Carefully consider each individual family member’s needs.
6. Visit The Dentist
Have you been putting off a visit to the dentist? Many of us do. However, dental hygiene is an integral part of your overall health. Now is the time to get the filling checked or that over-due cleaning.
Be sure to include dental health items in your bug out bags. Your list should include toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss. If you’re looking to multi-purpose as many items as you can, baking soda will work as a tooth cleaning powder.
7. See Your Eye Doctor
This visit is essential for your eye health and also to update your eyeglass and contact prescriptions. If you rely on glasses or contacts, a back-up supply is essential for a long-term grid failure.
8. Back Up Computers And Phones
Regularly back up your phones and computers with cloud storage and with a USB flash drive.
Keep your electronics as fully charged as possible. Place battery-operated chargers and extra power cords in your bug out bags.
9. Document Your Belongings
Take photos or videos of your belongings and of each room in your home. Take close-ups of valuables and model numbers and serial numbers on equipment. This documentation will be very useful in the event you file an insurance claim.
Check out a couple of the free apps (such as Sortly and Momento Database) to help you with this home inventory.
10. Plan Your Exit Route
Whether you will be able to shelter at home or at another location will depend entirely upon where you live and the nature of the emergency. You may need to evacuate on short notice, so it’s a good idea to have an emergency exit plan in place.
Here are planning steps to follow, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
- Consider an emergency evacuation destination such as a bug out shelter or the home of a friend or relative.
- Plan both a primary evacuation route and as many back-up routes as possible in case roads are blocked.
- Have a printed map of your area and your routes in case the internet is down and to save power on your devices.
- Arrange a designated place for family members to meet in case you are separated before or during an evacuation.
- Put all plans in writing (including addresses and phone numbers) and give them to everyone in your family. Place copies in bug out bags and take photos to store on your devices as well.
11. Hone Your Skills
Now is the time to bone up on basic survival skills such as how to build a shelter and how to start a fire. You don’t need to spend any money; there are plenty of YouTube videos on these subjects.
12. Keep a Cool Head
Clear and logical thinking are probably the most essential aspects of handling an extensive power outage and any of the trauma that goes with it. You’ll find that planning and preparation will go a long way in allowing you to keep calm.
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