The Ultimate Holiday Prep List
The holidays are a wonderful time of the year when we make that extra effort to see family and friends. It also seems to be the time that, if it can go wrong, it will go wrong. No holiday prep list is complete without being ready for every situation that may arise.
Prepare for Extreme Weather Conditions
Weather conditions are always the unknown element to affect holiday events. Winter storms and high winds can take out power lines, heavy snow, floods, or landslides can block roads, and restoration may be slower with reduced utility crews. This could mean that the usual recommendation of having three days of supplies is inadequate, especially if you have guests that are now stuck.
You may already have a severe weather emergency action plan however it might be worth sitting down with guests and explaining what roles they would need to help with. For example, ask people to bring chainsaws if you anticipate trees or limbs falling.
Prevent Electrical Hazards
Unfortunately, the stories of electrical fires during the holidays happen all too often. Some examples of electrical hazards are old decorations, dried out Christmas trees, unattended space heaters, and overloaded outlets.
Make a habit of checking on all extension cords and cables, especially if you have pets. You may need to block off an area to keep pets from chewing on cords, peeing on decorations (and the cords), or knocking a tree over. Extension cords can also pose a tripping hazard if not tucked out of the way.
Kitchen Safety Tips for the Holidays
The kitchen has its own share of hazards. A flurry of cooking and baking can lead to flammable items, like recipes or towels, being set near a hot burner. There’s the danger of bumping into someone or stumbling over an excited child or pet while carrying a hot pot. Not to mention the risk of igniting oil while frying. If it isn’t already in your kitchen, a fire extinguisher should be at the top of your holiday prep list.
Have a readily accessible first aid kit in the kitchen and make sure that everyone knows where it is. Find out if any of your guests are certified in first aid so you know who to call on in an emergency.
Be Able to Take Care of Other People or Yourself When Visiting
This is a conversation that needs to happen when making your holiday plans. Decide in advance if guests will need to bring food or other supplies in case they are unable to leave. Establish if you will have to accommodate food restrictions or if they will be bringing enough for several days, and what options are available if they stay longer than expected.
Ensure there is enough over the counter pain and flu medications too. With a group of people forced together, the incidents of headaches may increase significantly.
Power Outage Tips and Tricks
With longer nights, having a source of light becomes even more important. Battery-powered lanterns, flashlights, and headlamps are all essential to have in easy reach. If you use candles, make sure that they are well away from curious children or pets, and far from anything that may catch fire.
Rechargeable battery packs can be used for small devices like cell phones; you can even use a vehicle for a quick charge if need be. Depending on your location, you may be able to use solar panels, with or without a solar generator, or a generator to keep some power on. The last thing anyone wants is to do is prepare food for a crowd when the power goes out. Have a plan ready for preparing food with no electricity. If you have a barbecue, ensure there is enough fuel, the cooking area is dry and cleared of ice, and there’s a windbreak to prevent embers from blowing.
If you are going to use a propane stove, make sure you have a place out of the wind and well-ventilated to cook. Burning any kind of fuel inside can lead to a dangerous build up of carbon monoxide.
Remember to have something for entertainment, especially if there are children. It’s cliche to say that “kids these days” don’t know how to function without electronic devices but wasting a phone’s battery to scroll through social media may mean the difference between being able to call for help and not. Have a list of fun things to do without electricity and if you’re not sure, ask the parents for help or have them bring activities.
Emergency Water Supply
Having enough stored water for cooking and drinking is a critical part of emergency preparedness. Keeping a few large water jugs topped up is one way to accomplish this. Water will also be needed for sanitation in the event that power goes out.
Using a water purification bottle such as the ETA Alkaline Water Filter Bottle is one way to make sure the water that you’re drinking is safe, eliminates any stale taste, and reduces the need to purify water which saves fuel. Staying hydrated is important if you have to be active, such as clearing snow or moving fallen trees. Who knows: maybe everyone gets a bottle for the holidays?
- Importance of Sanitation and Hygiene
In the event of a power outage, know what you are going to do about sanitation. If you need to have water available to flush the toilet, make sure that everyone knows how that’s done. If there’s a place to be used outside, ensure it is far enough from areas that people use.
Store hand sanitizers in various locations to help keep hands clean. Cleaning wipes can also be a great shower substitution or for sticky kid faces.
- Staying Warm in a Power Outage
People that live in colder climates are often used to coping with falling temperatures when the power goes out, however guests might not be so comfortable.
Be ready with extra blankets or sleeping bags in an easy-to-reach location and have warm clothing layers handy. Consider closing off rooms to keep the heat contained to a smaller area.
Check to make sure that fire and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Any heat source that uses combustion, such as a fireplace or propane heater, must be properly ventilated to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Slightly opening a window is not enough.
- Pet and the Holidays
No holiday prep list is complete without thinking about your pets or any pets that might be visiting. Adding their food, litter or bedding, medications, and treats (of course) to your holiday preparations means that you can easily adapt to any situation that comes up.
If you have pets that need filters or heat lamps, have a back-up plan ready for them such as a battery pack or generator.
Little visitors may want to “help” so keeping food locked away and cages extra secure can prevent accidents from happening.
With the perfect holiday prep list and by having all your emergency preparations ready before the holidays, you can sit back and take the time to truly enjoy them. Happy holidays to you and your family.
Written by Kris [instagram.com/adventuredawgs]