Being prepared for emergencies

(Graphic by Steph Truong)

Hurricane Sandy was a perfect reminder that Mother Nature can turn our lives upside down in the blink of an eye.

Regarded as one of the largest tropical storms in history to hit North America, precautions were made to spare lives and increase safety by informing us the best safety methods.

While the prospect of classes being cancelled may have excited us, Sandy could have posed serious threats on campus. Large storms like Sandy result in floods and power outages, which Waterloo is certainly no stranger to.

Class cancellations aside, if students were to suffer the major consequences that news stations were preparing us for, would you be ready?

In such a situation, most students find themselves stranded without the basic essentials that are needed in case of an emergency. Most of us make sure to have our most prized possessions of clothes, DVDs, wall decorations and Magic Bullets  to last through the year. Yet when it comes to having the basic survival items, we are left scrambling to figure out whether or not we have any of them.

Any large natural storm should be a clear reminder that regardless if we are in near danger or not, it is always important to have supplies “just in case”.

Most power companies suggest being prepared to last for at least 72 hours without power. In the event of a major storm that results in a power outage, Waterloo Hydro suggests disconnecting any major appliances and keeping both your fridge and freezer closed.

A full freezer can last up to 48 hours without power if the door remains shut. For warmth, having extra blankets will keep you warm and insulated if something were to happen in colder temperatures.

Cell phones may be of use but if it is unknown how long the power will be out. Using your smart phones for emergency calls and twitter updates are helpful, just make sure you don’t drain the battery by playing games to pass the time. Make sure to follow accurate sources to get information.

With no computers and no TV, why not include a bottle of wine or two in with your emergency kit? A board game or deck of cards can also help to pass the time while you’re patiently waiting for the lights to turn back on.

If you live with roommates, go out and get these items together to reduce the cost. All of the essential items listed can be picked up for around $40 and available at grocery, convenience and utility stores.

With four roommates that’s only $10 dollars each – a small price to pay for the comfort of knowing that if the lights go out and the internet isn’t working you won’t be hungry, stuck in the dark or worst of all: bored.

The following list will get you ready for any type of emergency:
Two flashlights with working batteries – $10
Emergency candles and matches – $6
Two cases of bottled water – $5
First aid kit – $8
Nonperishable snacks: Crackers, trail mix, cereal, power bars, dried fruit – $15
Waterloo emergency services phone numbers:
Hydro (519) 886-5090
Fire  (519) 884-2121
EMS (519) 650-8295

By Sarah Strong

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