Storming Sustainably

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 6.37.32 PMStorming Sustainably (Week #44)

The WHAT, WHY and HOW:

I live in a tiny house on wheels in a unique country setting in the woods on the Parker River in Massachusetts. It borders a wildlife area, protected marshes, and is only 4 miles from Plum Island which, at this time of year, is bracing for more fall/winter erosion events; residents are hoping their houses won’t drop into the ocean this year.

With coffee in hand I spent this last weekend battening down the hatches for another possibly harsh winter. Only three years ago today , Hurricane Sandy, made landfall in Brooklyn and the New Jersey shore.

Your practice for this week is to prepare to sustain your own home, pets and family for any emergency situations.

First things first, water and light. Check all flashlights. Extra batteries, check. Re-stocked First Aid Kits, check. Coolers full of ice, check. Gallons of water, check. Water purification kits, check. Medications, check. Full gas tank, check. Digital smart appliances recharged, check. Consider the purchase of a solar/wind-up radio. I did 15 years ago and have used mine often! How about a Biolite recharging stove bundle?

Along with making sure you have enough food, don’t forget to set aside water, especially if you have a well. You will lose water if your power goes out because the well pump will stop. So after covering the bulkhead with a heavy plastic tarp over some leaky openings I topped off our rain water barrel that holds 60 gallons. Just in case the power goes out we always take a last shower and leave the bathtub full (for future toilet usage).

All that preparation should keep us and our unopened freezer food safe for four days without power. (It helps that our organic garden and our Fall canning left us over 10 cases of jams, pickles, tomato sauces, caponata, vinegars and vegetables!) It might be good to get some emergency survival prep kits, just in case of a national disaster.

Secondly, don’t forget your pets! Here are some storm prep tips from the ASPCA:

*Always bring pets indoors at the first sign or warning of a storm or disaster”.

*Make sure all pets wear collars and ID tags with up-to-date identification. Micro-chip your pet as a more permanent form of identification”

Consider adding a GPS “tile app” to their collar.

*Keep a pet emergency kit and supplies handy with items such as medical records, water, pet food and medications, and pet first aid supplies. Take this with you if you evacuate.

*Arrange a safe haven for your pets in the event of evacuation. Do not leave your pets behind.

*Choose a designated caregiver who can take care of your pet in the event you are unable.

To those I would add, stock up on water and DO NOT use candles in a home with pets – especially cats. No one wants the possibility of a tip over and fire amid the storm.

And last but not least, maintain a sense of humor, try to relax, play a few games of Spite and Malice, and good luck!

NOTE: Wednesday, November 4th, at 7PM at First Religious Society Church, 28 Pleasant St., Newburyport, I will speaking about the tiny house movement and my personal tiny house journey! Open to the public, come and join us!

Deep Dive

ASPCA, preparedness for your pets

Hurricane statistics from NOAA

Prepare, plan, stay informed at FEMA

@usatodayweather – National updates about all impending weather

@breakingstorm – Constant national weather updates

@RedCross – Focus on natural disaster preparation

@wunderground – Following weather from around the world

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