Emergency Preparedness For the Next Sandy

How Did You Get Through It?

Tell us what were the best and worst things you went through during the storm and power outage. Were there any items that you had, like powerful lanterns, rechargers, etc. that made things easier? Was there something you wish you’d had on hand but didn’t? Is there some way you’ll be better prepared for future storms and/or disasters?

Now is the time to think about future preparations.

In a day or two, Word will publish a post on what items you absolutely must have on hand for sheltering in place or evacuating, as well as items that are easy to store or carry that could make life a lot easier.

Respond by clicking here or on the  cartoon speech balloon at the top right of this post. As always, Word reserves the right to withhold any comments it deems inappropriate.

Get Ready for the Next Big One—Now!

Posted on 

As winter storm Athena has already come in to our area, and the expected high winds and heavy rains may cause more trees to come down, as well as power outages.  We may get snow, depending on how cold it gets today, and that may cause the already-vulnerable trees and branches to come down.

For the duration of this storm, construction has been halted and all city parks have been closed.

Not Too Late to Prepare

Whether it’s for a natural disaster or a terrorist attack, New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and other organizations caution you to be prepared to shelter in place or to evacuate at a moment’s notice, and to keep emergency supplies ready and fresh at all times.

OEM has publications on their website to educate you about the dangers you, as a New Yorker, may face in specific disasters, and how to prepare for them. Our suggestion is that you start by opening  the Ready New York General Preparedness brochure and make a list of what you need to do to protect yourself, your family and your pets, and start your preparations.

They have several specific guides on their Ready New York page, including a Pocket Guide, guides for Hurricanes, Flooding, Pets and more, all published in several languages. You can also request these brochures by contacting OEM by phone at (212) 639-9675 or email them by going here

Most of us know that we should have fresh batteries, flashlights, one gallon of drinking water per person per day and enough non-perishable food (and pet food) to last at least three days. In addition to having a disaster checklist, OEM says you also have:

For Sheltering in Place: first aid kit, whistle, iodine tablets, land line phone

Emergency Go Bag for Evacuation: copies of all important documents in a waterproof and portable container (insurance   cards, birth certificates, deeds, photo IDs, etc.); extra set of house keys; cash, preferably including small denomination bills—if there’s no power,  you may not be able to get change for any transactions; as much bottled water as you can reasonably carry, as well as energy bars and a bag of pet food if needed; flashlight and extra batteries; AM/FM radio and extra batteries; a container with at least three days worth of all your medications, as well as a list of those medications and copies of your prescription slips, if possible. This may help if you need to replace or refill those prescriptions; first aid kit; lightweight rain gear and a mylar blanket


Great Stuff For Getting Through a Blackout

Please Tell Us
If you have any wonderful, useful, affordable emergency gear or gadgets that you want to tell us about, please respond here.

In addition to the items NYC Office of Emergency Management suggests for sheltering in place or stocking your emergency bag, (see below) Word also suggests:

For Sheltering in Place
Cash, AM/FM radio, flashlight, batteries for both, a bathtub full of water, three days of drinking water, a charged cell phone and non-perishable food. If your gas range is working and you can heat water, get a hot water bottle (no, not just for old ladies!) and it will keep you warm; also try Starbuck’s Via instant coffee, and because you probably won’t have any unspoiled milk or half and half, powdered Cremora or Coffee Mate will do just fine.

For Your Go Bag
A charged cell phone (see our recommendation below), a good book, your iPod, warm socks, changes of underwear, hand sanitizer, handy wipes, and Kleenex and/or a roll of toilet paper. If you still have room in your bag, try taking a warm sweater in cool weather, a pack of cards (or a travel Scrabble board) and a Leatherman Tool.

You may be taking shelter at home or elsewhere for several days, and you won’t be sorry to be well supplied with all necessities and toys to stay reasonably comfortable and to ward off boredom.

Suggestions from Readers
We were told about some fabulous hand crank AM/FM radio/flashlights that can charge your cell phone. The HY-88E Emergency Dynamo can also charge your iPad and costs $39.95 for two.  Go here to read about it at Amazon. There is also a more expensive ($139.95) solar charger that has excellent features, and Amazon offers a range of similar products to choose from.

A reader who is exceptionally well-prepared sent in these suggestions

  • Paper Towels: keep on hand at least one roll per person, per day
  •  Personal Hygiene Items: Baby Wipes or similar moist disposable towelettes, Alcohol Hand Sanitizer, Waterless Shampoo (available in camping supplies stores, Eastern Mountain Sports and Paragon Sports in our neighborhood),
  • Jewish Memorial Candles (‘Yurtzite’ Candles) these come in glass holders and are made to burn for 24 hours – much better than – and safer – than regular household candles
  • Dynamo Operated Flashlight: one that works by a crank, lever or other spring driven generator.  Small and will not give a lot of light, but needs no batteries.
  • Dyanmo Powered Radio: Many of these now let you charge cell phones, can work off of build in solar cells and have a flashlight also built in.  Not much in the way of sound quality, but no batteries needed.
  • A Whistle – to signal if you are trapped in elevator or blocked apartment
  • Pry Bar – small, 1 foot size, available from most hardware stores and a life saver to open stuck apartment and elevator doors.
  • Key Chain Flashlight – regardless of whatever flashlights you may have, carry a tiny one on your key chain.  Also attached to zipper pulls and any bag, pack or any case you routinely carry and
  • Head Lamp Type Flashlight – Again, even if yu have other types, keep at least one per person of these.  They allow use of both hands when working – very important in an emergency – and are a very good reading and general task light.
  • Extra Disposable Lighters – Keep at least one with candles.
  • Print Out of All Emergency Contacts: Names and Phone #’s of Friends and Family.  Keep a few copies around the house and one small card with all the important ones in your wallet or purse.
  • Copy All Important Documents to a Memory Stick: scan everything that you might possible need in an emergency;  Driver’s License, Passport, Birth Records, Credit Cards and Credit  Card Company Phone #’s, Company ID,  Insurance Cards, Medical Prescriptions
  • Several Large Trash Bags – kind used to haul out apartment house trash;  useful to repair broken windows, as emergency rain coats, water proof bandages and of course, for garbage.
  • Mylar “Space Blankets” They pack very small and provide warmth even if they get wet.

—Maury Englander

Go here to tell us about any great items that helped you through the power outage.

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