Winter is officially here. Okay, not really, but I did see snow on the mountains this morning and it made me think about whether or not I was ready for winter. Let’s go through a quick checklist of things we want to get in order before winter really is here – officially.
First, this is a good time of year to check and change the batteries in our smoke detectors and our carbon monoxide detectors. A lot of people do it during the weekend of General Conference, or Easter and Halloween, but if you want to get a jump on it, do it a week early.
Second, do you remember the power outage in Salt Lake City, Utah, last year? (2005) Probably not because it didn’t really affect us, but I’ll bet that our neighbors to the north are thinking about what they need to do to get prepared to be able to “weather the storm” so-to-speak. Do you have a generator to run the blower on your furnace, or your fridge, or your freezer, or your hair dryer? Just kidding about the hair dryer (sort of), but how long can you, or your appliances, go without electricity before you have to move in with someone else.
Okay, you have the generator, but do you have enough fuel to run it for more than fifteen minutes (this does not count the gas in your car – you will need it for, well, your car.) How about your propane bottles? Have you refilled them after all of the summer’s barbecues? Do you have a heater that can run off propane that would keep your family safe and warm? Or do you have a kerosene heater and enough kerosene to keep your family warm? If you have a fireplace or stove in your house? If yes, do you have enough wood to carry you through a disaster? Remember that it took almost a month to restore that power to everyone in SLC. Brrrrrrr.
Now, how about those who commute to work every day? I’m not to worried about the construction guys who are traveling in their 4x4’s to work every day with their rugged boots, heavy duty coats, warm hats, and sturdy gloves. No, I’m worried about the rest of us who drive to work in cute shoes with a stylish, but not terribly heavy (but remember really cute) coats, with maybe some comfortable light driving gloves. I saw a lot of people off to the side of the roads last year that looked like they belonged in an office and not stuck on the side of a snowy, slushy, cold road. Now would be a good time to look at updating your car’s emergency kit.
Keep the first aid kit - and then add some sturdy, warm hiking boots, or winter boots with a couple of warm pairs of socks. Put in a warm blanket and a poncho, and a really big warm coat (cute is optional – warm is not.) I also carry around two umbrellas (so I can share one – you can buy inexpensive ones for only $1.99 or so), windshield wash (very important for winter driving), and a heavy coat (I mentioned that before, but really - it is important.) Up front, in my little between the seat catchall drawer, I have a couple of warm winter beanie hats and some more gloves just in case the ones that I am wearing get wet. Another really convenient item to keep in the car is the hand warmer packs. You know, the little packages that you either expose to air or you break a seal and mix the chemicals, either way they will help you to keep your extremities warm - and I like warm extremities.
Now is also a good time to go through your 72-hour kit (remember the one that we talked about assembling last spring?) and change out food that might have gotten old and change out the summer gear for warmer winter ware. Just remember: Those that don’t plan for the future have to live though it anyway. I know I talk to you about being prepared, but unless you are actually doing something about it, this article is nothing more than possible entertainment, but ultimately nothing more than wasted ink. Please, please, prepare for the unexpected and when it happens you at least have a chance of coming through it somewhat unscathed.