For ‘ordinary’ preparedness at home, there are supplies that you might acquire that will get you comfortably through most ‘typical’ emergency/ disaster situations which may endure for hours to perhaps days or even a week.
Whereas there are more involved and deeper levels to preparedness for worse situations, the following list of preparedness supply categories will set you up for success with a short term mild to moderate disaster encounter (which occur much more frequently than the potential for a severe or SHTF event).
Hopefully the short list inspires you to check your own…
The following list is fairly short and simple, and as I said above – is purposed for a non-SHTF emergency situation where one’s modern lifestyle is simply disrupted for a time.
Municipal water supplies rarely go offline during a typical (small to moderate) short-lived disaster. However it may happen that one’s water source might become contaminated. Therefore a supply of drinking water is highly advised. You might simply purchase cases of bottled water, or you might consider keeping several water containment vessels filled with drinking water (replace every 6 months for assured cleanliness and purity). If you rely on well water, this really is a necessity (power outage scenario).
As mentioned above, water may become contaminated (floods, hurricane, infrastructure damage, earthquake, other..) and one’s water storage might become exhausted. A quality drinking water filter will enable purifying thousands of gallons and is a lifetime investment that can be used anywhere and anytime – even for ordinary concerns regarding your existing tap water.
Many typical disaster situations will result in a temporary power outage which may last hours, days or a week or more. Whatever food that’s in your fridge and freezer will quickly thaw and spoil (24 – 48 hours). Therefore you really need to keep an adequate supply of non-perishable food. Surprisingly many households do not have enough food to supply much longer than a few days or a week. It is very easy to stock up with food to last 3 weeks or even 3 months. Just do it… Don’t forget a manual hand can-opener.
Again, a power outage will be common during many ‘ordinary’ disaster situations. A quality LED flashlight for each member of the household along with an LED lantern or two will keep you functioning after dark. I also highly recommend a headlamp which will enable both hands free for working. Extra sets of batteries should go without saying…
Although canned foods do not ‘require’ cooking (they’re technically already safe to eat), camp stove will enable cooking at home without electricity (use common-sense for safety). You might need to consume the foods that are in your freezer… You can also heat/boil water for hygiene, water purification, cleaning dishes, etc..
Information about the ongoing emergency/ disaster situation will be important for your decision-making. An AM/FM portable radio will provide that information – even during a power outage.
Lets face it, lots of disaster scenarios are caused by severe weather. A NOAA Weather Radio will provide forewarning as well as updated information on the storm. It’s cheap insurance – and could potentially save your life.
Unfortunately some emergency situations result in the need for First Aid. Having a good quality general purpose First Aid Kit should patch up most typical ailments. I also supplement my kit with additional supplies (things like antibacterial ointment and any other such item which might not be in the original kit).
Have a purpose-made wrench/ tool to shut off gas and water outside your home (e.g. at the meter). Useful following a disaster which causes infrastructure damage and potentially has damaged gas lines, water lines, etc.. (earthquake – hurricane – tornado).
Some disasters happen during the winter (e.g. severe winter storms). If you rely on electricity for your furnace (regardless of its fuel source) then you will be SOL without a house-wired generator. Having a safe indoor portable heater will help keep you warm.
A sleeping bag for each person. If you’ve lost heat in the house, a cold-weather sleeping bag will be much more efficient to keep warm. Additionally, there are other circumstances where a sleeping bag might be a very good preparedness item to have on hand.
During a power outage, often times the cell phone towers are still operating. However your cell phone will eventually drain its battery. A purpose-made solar charger (with USB ports) will charge your electronic communication devices (e.g. cell phones) and may keep you ‘on the grid’ with regards to outside communications.
Don’t laugh! While every household (hopefully!) already has a supply of TP, the question is do you have enough to last a week or more? It would be a bit unpleasant without it (which is why I mention it ). This goes for any other hygiene supplies. Just check your inventory and be in the habit of having plenty of these consumables around in storage.
Garbage bags for sanitation purposes. Again, everyone has garbage bags at home, but it’s best to keep a supply of heavy duty bags (and plenty of them) for temporary disposal of unsanitary things outside the house (e.g. do you have a baby in the house? lots of diapers?, etc..). If for some reason your plumbing (toilet) is out of commission, HD trash bags will suffice for a liner of a do-it-yourself toilet (got a 5 gallon bucket?). You get the idea…
You don’t want to be dealing with having to clean dishes during a disaster situation at home. Your power might be out and/or you have other things to be concerned about. So having paper plates, paper cups, and plastic utensils will enable you to simply throw them in your heavy duty garbage bags for trash.
Surprisingly, not everyone has one (or several!) readily accessible fire extinguishers in their home. Make the effort and get yourself several. Ideal rooms include the kitchen, every bedroom, utility room… I keep several around the house in strategic locations.
During a regional power outage, it will be difficult at best to purchase items in your area. Although stores may be closed or damaged, having a supply of cash at home will enable some transacting where needed. Keep small bills (ones, tens) while avoiding large bills which may make it difficult to make change.
For those who are already prepared, “I’m preaching to the choir”, but not everyone has thought it through… A prepared household should be able to easily survive (fairly comfortably) for days (or longer) without external support, and it’s not that difficult to prepare for. It only requires thinking through the requirements of your daily life and having alternative methods in place to provide the basics (without electricity, for example). Don’t neglect the aspect of safety – think about what you might need to deal with injury, damage, or other potential hazards.
Apart from any physical or financial damage which may occur during a given disaster, a short period without our modern conveniences can even be refreshing – providing an eye-opening view on real ‘life’ (without all of our distractions)…
While preparedness lists are never-ending, and could drill down to literally hundreds or more items, the list above will hopefully set you to thinking about your own preparedness from a ‘top level’.
I welcome your comments on other higher level items for ‘ordinary preparedness’, the things that one might not have enough of at home (or at all)…
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