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Braving the Storm

StormBy Cathy Jameson

Thunder, lightning, rain, flash flooding, and damaging winds.  We’ve had some wild weather lately.  For the last 3 days, storms came in the middle of the night.  Some stuck around for the morning.  Causing delays, cancellations and major headaches for a lot of people, I was glad to see them finally go. 

Thankfully, during the last few days that saw storm after storm after storm, we never lost power.  Friends elsewhere shared that they, too, recently experienced some wild weather.  They weren’t so lucky.  They lost power for 3 days.  Should we ever find ourselves in the same predicament we have a generator if the lights ever dimmed. 

Reading my friend’s updates, that included having to pull out their hurricane storm box, reminded me just how unpredictable life can be.  The updates also reminded me that we have not replenished contents in our own storm box for quite some time.  From what I remember, we only had the basics in it.  Food.  Diapers.  A flash light.  Batteries.  The last time I remember prepping the box, Ronan was much younger.  Surely the diapers I had set aside would be too small.  Food, even though non-perishable, would have expired.  Same with the batteries.  After last week’s weather, it was time for me to make time to go through our emergency supplies again. 

I don’t like Just In Case moments, but just in case we needed to dip into our emergency supplies, I needed to take time to make sure whatever was in the storm box would actually provide support.

What would I need if we lost power for 24 – 36 hours?

What if it extended 3 – 5 days?  Could would we survive?

Going 3 days without electricity.  We’ve experienced that before, and it is not easy.  It isn’t just losing luxuries like access to refrigerated foods or being able to cook for our family of 7.  It’s keeping the temperature in our house safe for Ronan.  Since he’s unable to regulate his temperature, we must make sure that the thermostat is set just so:  cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  If it’s too hot, he could have a seizure.  If it’s too cold, he could have a medical crisis.  Medical complications can add extra stress to an already stressful situation, so having a plan, to include having an alternate place for us to stay should we have to evacuate our home, is not a bad idea. 

If we ever had to leave home unexpectedly, we’d make sure to grab Ronan’s medical folder.  I shared what’s in that folder in another post  under Tips For Medical Emergencies:  

If I had to offer one more piece of advice for families who travel with a child on the spectrum, it would be to be prepared for medical emergencies…

I now travel with a folder that contains copies of medical records and documents.  Those records are from Ronan’s specialists, and the documents describe his current treatment plan.  I brought that folder in my carry-on on the flight and kept it, as well as other important information about Ronan (Project Lifesaver number, Medical Bracelet ID number, and a local emergency contact numbers) close by when we went exploring.  That way, should we have needed to get Ronan to a medical facility quickly, I could hand the team the folder and give them a head start on what Ronan’s team is doing back home.

We’ve thankfully never had to evacuate our home.  But we’ve had our fair share of in-home inconveniences like losing power and the Internet.  Those few hours aren’t fun for Ronan.  Should we lose electricity, Ronan would be without access to his favorite pastimes (playing Wii and watching YouTube videos) far longer than he cares to be.  Without access, things can get rough for Ronan.  So for the last 3 days, I made sure to keep Ronan’s iPad charged.  I also made sure to keep his brother’s iPod, a back-up device, charged as well.  If you’ve never waited out a storm with a child who’s on the autism spectrum who also has zero interest in playing typical games that could easily entertain hundreds of typical children, you have no idea how painfully long a storm can last. 

Some people, including our local law enforcement, recognize the challenges that storms can bring and know that unpredictable changes greatly impact their special needs citizens.  The last major storm of the summer saw downed powerlines and impassable roads.  Both made local law enforcement officers’ jobs all the harder.  I was taken aback, but also very grateful, that someone took time to reach out to us once that storm passed.  Our police department called asking if we needed anything.  Taken aback because we haven’t needed assistance for quite some time, I’d forgotten that we had Ronan listed as a Person of Interest with the department.

In our home, Ronan is our main person of interest.  During sunshine.  During a storm.  Not everything Ronan needs can fit into a storm box, though.  But no matter the weather, no matter the situation – predictable or not, we do what we can to keep him safe, comfortable, and happy.  As long as he is happy, I know we can brave any storm.

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.

Comments

Hera

Also, the car can be used to heat or cool someone if you have the gas to run the engine. just be careful about exhaust fumes/carbon monoxide poisoning in enclosed spaces or with blocked exhaust pipes from snow.. You need to watch for CO poisoning indoors with some heat sources as well. We would go for a drive to get nice and warm ...

Hera

Hopefully anyone here in the path of Hurricane Mathew is prepared. Praying everyone stays safe.
Good things to remember; water: a gallon a person per day minimum is needed Also, having enough fuel for generators or heat sources for several days. You would be amazed how much fuel you can go through..

Tents can be pitched in the house, to add another layer of warmth if the power goes out. Multiple people in the same tent makes it warmer. Also, sub zero sleeping bags are useful when cold is a problem.
Our family went without power in the middle of a very cold winter for two weeks once; interesting experience. Heating up one only room for warmth, plenty of flashlights and batteries, also cheap solar lights and solar chargers for ipods etc can be very useful.

Jeannette Bishop

I've been sorting through emergency supplies a bit, and we recently lost power for a few hours. I realized with all the whole foods we're increasingly relying on that there's not a lot of ready-to-eat food in our house lately, just the mostly expired emergency items, and produce that will keep however long a warm fridge can keep it, I guess. A generator definitely sounds smart too.

michael

"Our police department called asking if we needed anything."

Cathy, maybe you should encourage someone from your local police department to apply for a position on the IACC. Maybe then they will start doing whats "needed." OR..........since they asked if you "needed anything".... I'm sure you make make a very long "needed anything list" for all the things that aren't being addressed, or provided. Its like an open door with folks who might actually listen--who knows.

 Teresa Conrick

Cat,

I so hear you! We are in the same boat. About 6 years ago, we had a bad storm with a tornado nearby. We lost power and it was a hot, hot day and Meg had a major seizure. That was a horrible experience and we had more like that due to her many medical issues. I decided too to have a whole house generator installed. Having Meg comfortable and happy is so important for us, too.

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