“I have a friend in Utah, and he said he just calls it Tuesday,” John Stacy tells me over the phone from his house in North Columbus, where he sits above a basement containing two weeks’ worth of fresh water.
Stacy may not believe in labels, but he does believe in being prepared. Last month, he helped arrange the city’s first-ever Prepperfest, where 600-plus folk perused gear and attended workshops designed to practically prep for Ohio scenarios – not just tap into the crazier side of the “prepper” trend.
“I was a Boy Scout, and the motto was always ‘be prepared,’” Stacy said. “And the first thing you realize is you always need to be more prepared than you are.”
Stacy, who works in the non-profit sector, and his wife, Jennifer, who works for R.A.C.E., a search-and-rescue in Delaware, Ohio, turned a more focused eye toward prepping a few years ago when the blowback from Hurricane Ike bashed out their power for more than a week.
“It’s real easy to get comfortable with all the conveniences of modern life. But all those conveniences are just a power outage away…from going away,” he said.
Stacy, who was a Meals on Wheels driver for 10 years, frowns at the crazy side of prepping shown on reality TV shows. He said that, as a Christian, his goal is not to isolate in such situations, but to be prepared to help his neighbors, as well – or at least not be a burden on them.
“You have to live your life holistically,” he said. “If you’re just focusing on prepping, than you’re not really living; you’re just existing.”
Having said that, Stacy offers his key points for being better prepared for any potential weather-related extreme:
Have A Plan
Think about what may happen before it happens and plan accordingly: where you will go; how to contact one another; what to do in a variety of challenging situations. It is also important to remember that everyone may not be together when a disaster occurs. Designate an emergency contact person that does not live in your area, a family member or friend. Make sure everyone in your family knows to contact that person if they become separated.
Keep important documents, such as copies of insurance policies, paper copies of phone numbers and addresses of family and friends, identification (copies of driver’s license/passport) for each person, and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container. Also, have cash in the kit; if the power goes out your debit card becomes useless.
Plan for a 72-hour supply for people and pets. Each person needs about a gallon of water per day. Make sure you have enough for each person/pet in your family. Remember that you can only go about three days without water but much longer without food. Plan accordingly.
If you need to have a specific medicine make sure you have a backup prescription available, as well as at least a week’s supply packed and ready to go. If you wear glasses, keep a spare pair in your emergency kit, along with a copy of your prescription.
Talk to Your Family
Make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to having an emergency plan. If anyone has questions, the time to discuss them is prior to an emergency, not during one.