I should have posted this yesterday, but I spent the day watching the news of Hurricane Sandy ... and waiting to see what would happen here. It turns out we were very, very lucky in these parts. The wind was insane and I've heard of lots of people with damaged lawn furniture, swing sets blown into other yards and trees down. But other than one fatality in Toronto, we didn't experience anything near to what happened on the east coast of the States.
We are a bit weather-obsessed in this country. Or at least I am. Probably because we live in a place where weather actually kills people. And I've taken some ribbing from family and friends over my need to prepare for every possible eventuality. My first weather-related scare happened during the Ice Storm in Eastern Ontario and Quebec in 1998. Although we lived in Alberta at the time, I was shocked that people were having to live without electricity for weeks. I realized that we would never have been able to cope with that. From that day forward, I've kept a bit of a stockpile of non-perishable food and bought a second propane tank for our barbecue.
I also remember being horrified after Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans and it took days and days and days for help to arrive. That's when I started keeping a couple of cases of water in the pantry.
I also remember being really bothered by the fact that children had been separated from their parents ... and there were toddlers at shelters with no parent or guardian, and they were too young to even say their own name. That's when I put a card in my children's backpacks with their name, address and phone number.
Then in 2010, a couple of hundred folks were stranded on Highway 402 near Sarnia during a snowstorm. They spent an entire night in their cars. That's when I outfitted my vehicle with blankets, snacks and an emergency kit.
I've also seen a prairie blizzard first hand ... let me tell you ... they are something else! They say that in years past farmers would tie a rope from their house to their barn, so that they could find their way back. I believe it - we couldn't even see our vehicle in our driveway!
So, I've made up these little backpacks. One for each of us. A bit of food, some water, some safety items and some hygiene products. I change the food out every 6 months or so. You can get a good list of things to include at THIS WEBSITE.
I would suggest you consider what happens where you live and make a plan for your family. I'm glad I did. My worrying nature is put at ease and I can sleep better ... so worth it!