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Clamity Kit for Stormy Weather

A couple of months ago, we had an outrageous storm in Lawrence, Kansas, and there abouts. My lights went out just as I sat down to dinner. Since I had my doors and windows open, the wind blew everything into a chaotic blizzard of paper. As I ran from room to room getting things I needed to function in the dark, it occurred to me that I should create a calamity kit – after all I DO live in Kansas. And if a tornado were really headed my way, I wouldn’t have time to run into the kitchen to get the flash light, and run into the sun room to get batteries, and run into three rooms trying to remember where I put the weather radio….and run back into the kitchen to get the needle nosed pliers to pull the part of the battery that stuck to the battery connector because it had gotten corroded and fell off. And I ran to several other cabinets and places, but you get the idea.

Not only was there a calamity OUTSIDE, but there was one INSIDE too. I felt foolish since I pride myself on being efficient, having common sense, and setting up systems. In the midst of this storm, I clearly saw the opportunity to mend my foolish ways. The very next day I created a Calamity Kit. I thought you might want a calamity kit too, so I’ll tell you what I put in mine. Here’s the list:

  • a plastic box with a handle on it (so you can use your other hand to carry other critical things like your cat, a cell phone, your dinner plate, etc.)
  • several candles (the ones in glass jars are good because they are contained and won’t tip over)
  • matches (I also included a long-nosed butane lighter)
  • a bottle of water and a plastic cup (I might get thirsty)
  • a small bowl (my dog Jasmine might get thirsty)
  • a flashlight with brand new batteries (I didn’t put them in the flashlight so they won’t get corroded, but then I might have to fumble if the lights go out. Maybe I’ll rethink this issue)
  • a weather radio with batteries (so I can hear the National Weather reports). You can get one at Radio Shack or maybe other stores. Search Google. I’ve had mine for 20 years, and I’ll bet there are better ones out there. The reception on mine is poor so the sound is fuzzy. It reminds me of someone trying to tune in a radio station when radios were first invented. Even a faint sound was amazing then, now it’s annoying.
  • cell phone (I don’t store it in the box but remind myself to bring it down the basement with the kit). Remember that your portable phone will go dead if the electricity goes off. If you have a phone jack in the basement (or wherever your shelter is), you can plug in a corded phone that won’t go dead if the electricity goes off.
  • battery operated radio (tuned to NPR or your favorite local station)

When we had major storms and tornado warnings again last night, I felt pretty smug as I grabbed my calamity kit and headed to the basement where I have a lawn chair at the ready.

Since I’m not normally in my yucky basement when it rains, I had the opportunity to track down the sources of the leaks. In fact, one leak was more like a spring. Since I didn’t have anything better to do, I mixed up a cement compound to patch the cracks in the cement block wall.

This makes me sound much more responsible than I actually am. Yes, I’m finally getting all of this together after decades of putting it off. So if you’re smart, you’ll not waste another day or year or lifetime without getting together your Calamity Kit. And like me you can feel virtuous and brag to all your friends that you’ve got one.

How Did the Kit Work?

The kit worked great. It was wonderful to have everything I needed in one place. I’ve thought of a couple of things to add to perfect the kit–a pair of glasses and a candy bar. I found that I couldn’t read the buttons on the weather radio, and I wanted a reward for being so smart.

What will you put in your Calamity Kit?  Write your comments in the comments link below.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    There are some pretty spiffy weather radios these days–the best ones are the models that incorporate SAME technology. That allows you to input county codes so you don’t wake up at 4am to hear about a tornado watch in Washington county, Kansas. I have the Maxon WX-80, which also allows me to turn off certain alerts. (I looked it up on Froogle to get the best deal. They range from $40-$60 online.) The only one it doesn’t let you turn off is tornado warning. It takes a 9V battery backup and is pretty easy to program. I got one for my parents and grandparents who both live in Lecompton where there is only one (not very loud) siren. –Julie

  2. Anonymous says:

    Cheryl, your note about the mobile phone reminded me of one more thing: have a Plain Jane, no-frills CORDED phone around, either plugged in your in your kit. When your cordless phones die when the power goes out, your little no-frills corded phone will still purr along happily drawing its power from the phone line–no plug-in needed. I am a total gadget geek and I have fancypants cordless phones in my house, but I won’t be without my boring old corded phone. It makes a nice backup to the backup mobile phone. :) -Julie

  3. Cheryl says:

    Hi Julie: Yes you are so right. I included that tip somewhere in the post. It never hurts to highlight it though. Thanks for taking the time to comment and develop the point more fully. Cheryl


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