Sheltering in Place

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For those of us on the East Coast it looks like the next 48 hours are going to be pretty severe with weather. Winter storm Juno is headed our way and it is said to be a storm of historic proportions.

Key Points:

  1. Moderate-to-heavy snow likely from portions of the coastal Mid-Atlantic (New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania) to New England.
  2. Peak impacts late Monday through Tuesday night.
  3. Widespread accumulations of 1 to 2 feet likely with some areas picking up over 2 feet.
  4. Blizzard or near-blizzard conditions will make travel dangerous and impossible.
  5. Flight cancellations, major delays and possible airport closures late Monday through Tuesday.
  6. Damaging wind gusts and coastal flooding also possible.

If this is as big a storm as predicted and you find yourself without power or water; here are 12 things you can do to help with sheltering in place.

 1. Charge all laptops and electronics with USB slots.

Plug in all electronic devices and keep them plugged in until you lose power. Disable all unnecessary apps on phones to prolong battery life and recharge off of laptop if needed.

2. Stay away from all downed power lines

Even if the power line is not energized; you don’t know if the power company is working on it up the line and when it can become live.

3. If you must drive, stay away from running water

They are saying a possibility of coastal flooding; all it takes is 6 inches of rapidly moving water to sweep a car right off the road.

4. Make sure you know where your gas shut off valve is

Funny things happen in blizzards, water mains rupture which can impact gas lines. Know where it is in case you need to shut it off quickly.

5. Disconnect electronics or turn off breakers if you lose power

Sensitive electronics can be damaged by the power surge of electricity being reestablished. Make sure ovens that were turned on when the electricity goes out are turned off.

6. Fill your bath tub before hand in case you lose water


Septic systems rarely fail, but you do need to pour water in the bowl to be able to make the toilets work. In an extreme case, boil the water before using for cooking or drinking.

7. Your Hot Water Tank has 40-80 gallons of potable water

Make sure the electricity or gas is turned off to the hot water tank and cooled down before draining from the bottom. Refill the tank and run water through it to make sure there is no air trapped before turning it back on. Use in extreme situations.

8. Run generator in well ventilated area

People die every year from missing this basic step. Make sure that you do not direct wire the generator into the grid; it could kill someone that is working on the line. Disconnects can be expensive but here is a cheaper way to do it.

9. Get all your important family documents together

Birth certificates, marriage certificate, insurance policies, passports, recent picture of family members, etc. Put them in a safe place in case something does happen where you need to get out of the house fast. You do not want to be searching for them after the fact if you need them. Here is a excellent example of a family document binder.

10. Shelter in room on southern side of home if you have no heat

Use heavy curtains, blankets or towels to cover windows on the northern side. Set a towel at the base of doors to minimize air leakage.

11. Have a basic first aid manual on hand

Along with a first aid kit a basic first aid manual can mean the difference between life and death. Here is a couple that you can download for free.

12. If you have no gas or power, you can still cook

If you do not have an outside grill; with a few basic materials around the home you can still have the ability to cook as seen below.

Good luck and be safe; the next 48 hours should be interesting.

Reliance Products Luggable Loo Portable 5 Gallon Toilet

  • Economically priced portable toilet
  • 5-gallon (20-liter) capacity
  • Simple bucket style design; traditional snap-on lid
  • Great for hunting, fishing and camping expeditions
  • Also handy to have for disaster preparedness