Are you prepared to survive? Emergency preparedness is the key to your survival no matter what the cause is. There have been many articles on the web as of late about Hurricane preparedness, and living in the Deep South, which I am very familiar with. June 1 was the beginning of the 2015 Hurricane Season and as usual it could be a bad one this year. Whether it is a Hurricane, Earth Quake, a Tornado or any number of other disasters, you need to make a plan and be prepared if you hope to survive. For those of you who are new to Prepping; if you are truly prepped for a Hurricane or Tornado then you are well on your way to prepping for other emergencies as well. In this post, I am going to discuss ways to prep for a hurricane and other disasters, then I will share a few ideas on expanding them to other emergencies as well.
When preparing for an emergency, there are several key areas you should focus on. These are:
|First Aid||Supplies / Shelter||Evacuation routes|
You will want to store foods that are self-contained and do not require refrigeration. You will also want to get items that do not require a can opener if possible. There may be no electricity for that electric can opener on your cabinet, so just consider that when buying your food. There are many types of hand powered can openers on the market as well, so you may want to get one just in case. Something else to consider is the expiration dates on food. Hurricane season last several months so you will want to get items that will not be expired by the time you use them. Look for items like Spam and canned meats. Other items to consider are instant mashed potatoes, soups and gravy mixes that only require water. Canned fruits in single serving cans are another good idea. Start with 72 hours of food and add more as you are able too. Building up your stock until you get at least one year of food stock piled. It is important that you always remember to rotate your stock so that the freshest ones are used last. You may want to add some MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) to your preps as well. Dehydrated foods are another great way to build your food supplies but always remember though, never store food unless you have eaten it before and know you like it. You don’t want to end up with months of food that you don’t like. Be smart and look for sales that allow you to get a little extra when you can.
The human body can only survive for 3 days without water, so be sure that you have plenty of water on hand for when you need it. Buy 4 or 5 of the 5 gallon blue water containers and keep them filled at all times. I also keep a months’ worth of drinking water in the small bottles in my preps and rotate them each week as I buy new ones to use now. You may also want to consider getting a Life Straw or other types of water filters to add to your preps. These can be purchased for as little as $20 and may actually save your life. Another thing you should get is Water Purification Tablets that can be added to water to kill germs or you could use a couple of drops of household bleach as well. Just make sure it is plain bleach and does not have anything added to it. Some companies even put the directions on the back of the container. Don’t forget to get instant drink mixes such as Kool-Aid and Gatorade as well. Plain water will get plenty boring after a while. One other thing to consider is a rain water catchment systems for your home. Hurricanes usually produce lots of water, so don’t waste it. Catch and store as much as possible but just remember to filter and treat for Bacteria and Germs before drinking it.
In today’s society power is important for operating radios, TVs and other electronics as well as keeping your fridge freezer or deep freezer from thawing out when the power is out. Items to consider for this are Generators, Solar Panels and 12 volt batteries as well as disposable batteries. You can use the Generator and even the 12 volt batteries with an inverter to keep you food in your freezer frozen. The solar panels can be used to charge the batteries so you always have a power source available. There are also small solar-powered batteries as well as crank type radios that have a USB port for charging Cell Phones as well as Tablets that are available. Having these would help make keeping you electronics working when you need them much easier. You may want to consider purchasing a small 12 volt refrigerator as backup for when the power is out. It goes without saying that you need to keep a large supply of size “C”, “AA” and “AAA” batteries on hand for both Hurricanes as well as other emergencies. The more power sources you have available to you will go a long war in making any emergency more bearable.
You should keep as much of your prescriptions medications on hand as possible at all times. In an emergency, the drug store will not be open and you could have to do without if you don’t have a backup supply. This is especially important for things like heart and blood pressure medications. What I do is to fill my prescriptions as soon as I can and take any medication that I have leftover and put them in an old bottle for that prescription, the when it is full, I vacuum pack it and add it to my preps. In this way I am constantly building my medication supplies for emergencies. Be sure that the name on the bottle is what is stored in the bottle. If you take insulin, be sure to store up plenty of syringes for emergencies as well. If you do this year round, you will slowly build up quite a supply for your emergency use. You also need to be aware that some medications have an expiration date and can be dangerous if taken after that date. Always check with your Dr. or Pharmacist if you have any doubt.
There are many ways to produce light during an emergency or when the power is out. There are 100 hour candles as well as solar-powered lights, chemical lights and 12 volt lights available on the market today. If you have any reason to believe that gas lines may be broken or that a potential for explosion exist and you absolutely must have light, it is best to use a chemical light. The kind that you bend to activate as they are the safest in that situation and are very inexpensive costing around a dollar a piece. As always, there are flash lights of all makes and models which produce varying amount of light. There are even some that have a hand hand-crank or built-in solar cells to keep them charged. It only depends on your budget and how well prepared you want to be. I suggest having an assortment of lights and types available at all times. If you use candles in any emergency please be careful as they can cause fires and quickly add to issues you are already facing.
Communications are key in any emergency and can make the difference between life and death in some situations. You should always have a portable hand cranked weather radio at the very minimum. Preferably one that can also receive Emergency broadcast as well as short wave stations. Other radios you may want to add are Midland 2-way radios, a portable or 12 volt CB radio and a ham radio as well. Ham radios can be purchased in many forms such as the UV-5R that is available on Amazon.com for as little as $26 at this time. If you are prepping for long-term then you may want to consider getting a HAM radio operators license ($15) and learning to use it so you are ready anytime an emergency happens. You should keep emergency phone numbers written down on a piece of paper and handy just in case.
First Aid is another consideration that should be at the top of your list. A good well stocked first aid kit is essential in emergencies. Of course, knowing how to use it is just as important, so learn as much as you can about giving first aid. Your local Red Cross usually offers courses in first aid for little or no cost to the public. What you learn just may save yours or someone you loves life. There are many sizes and types of first aid kits on the market. I suggest that you get the largest and best stocked kit you can find. Another option that many of us have chosen is to look and see what the more expensive kits have in them then build our own a little at a time. It is much easier on the budget that way. It also allows you to create a kit that will hold as much as you want to put in it.
SUPPLIES / SHELTER
Supplies such as gas for your vehicle and generator are very important to have on hand before an emergency happens. It will be too late to get it after the power is out as most gasoline pumps rely on local power companies to operate. A portable shelter of some type may be requires as well. Remember to stock up on propane canisters and Coleman fuel for cooking with as well. You will also need a way to cook if the power goes out. There are many different types of camping stoves available on the market today. Choose the one that is right for you and always follow the instructions when using them. These also provide peace of mind year round as well as hours of enjoyment. Other things to think about are disposable butane lighters, paper plates and forks. I mean, after all you don’t want to be washing dishes in an emergency do you? As you go through your daily lives stop and ask yourself; how would I do this in an emergency?
Now this is a biggie and far too many people ignore it until it is too late. Always plan out your evacuation route or bug out route well in advance. It is important that you also find alternate routes out-of-town in case there is an accident on the road or it becomes blocked by high water or downed trees. Never leave yourself only one way to escape. This has cost many people their lives and can be easily avoided. Keep state and local maps with your preps at all times and mark your intended routes on them. Do NOT rely on GPS to get to your destination as there are some natural events that could render them useless. Next, familiarize yourself with the roads and know where you are going in advance. Another important item is to let others know what route you will be traveling in case you don’t make it to your destination. When a Hurricane approaches, check the oil and water in your vehicle and be sure it is ready to go.
Remember that in any Emergency, preparation is the key to your survival. Start with being prepared for a 72 hour emergency and work your way up to at least one year. FEMA recommends that every American keeps at least 5 days’ worth of food and water on hand at all times as well as other items needed to survive in an emergency. It is up to you to make sure you are prepared for whatever happens because chances are no one will be coming to help. Learn all you can about surviving without power and other items that we take for granted every day. Make a plan, store up supplies and learn new skills that you will need to survive in any emergency because once it hits, it will be too late!