Emergency Supplies Essential to Surviving a Disaster
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Hurricanes. Wild fires. Tornadoes. Flash floods. Earthquakes. Millions of refugees around the world have been displaced by war. If that's not bad enough, all signs seem to be pointing to major catastrophe striking at some point in the months or years ahead, possibly at the hands of a terrorist group with a nuclear weapon or even an electro-magnetic pulse attack (EMP) in the skies over the United States.
Maybe even both.
How Prepared are You for an Emergency? Do You Have the Right Supplies on Hand?How prepared are you for an emergency or disaster, where your life and the lives of others may be on the line? Do you have a lot more than "three days of food and water" stored up? A lot of people have a few days of extra food -- but very little water supplies. That's a major disaster waiting to happen right there. You'll read in a moment several ways to store up water as well as additional ways to produce clean drinking water should you be forced to evacuate.
Millions of people around the world are currently refugees. For several places in the world, the alarming fact is that evacuation can become a way of life for many. That is one result of wars and major disasters. Remember Japan just a few years ago and the Fukushima nuclear meltdown? A tsunami triggered the event that resulted in an evacuation of countless numbers of people, many who can never return to their home due to the high levels of radiation. (This is where a good get home bag can come in handy, except in an evacuation your goal may not be to get home -- it might be to get away, not unless you're evacuating a city where you work and commute to.)
Emergency Supplies for Your Emergency KitWell, there are unfortunately a ton of different emergencies that could happen, as was noted earlier. Each emergency or disaster may call for specific items and tools. But one thing that all emergencies will call for is this: Keep a clear head and don't panic. Don't get knocked out by despair and even terror.
Instead, it's time to adapt; it's time to keep your cool and think about tactics. If you're a Bible-believer, it's time to pray. From either point, now it's time to go into action.
Here are a number of emergency supplies that can greatly assist survival following a disaster.
What Supplies to Go After First? Emergency WaterStock up on water in a big way. Along with this, once you get a significant amount of it H2O, buy a new jug every now and then -- such as these portable 6 gallon jugs -- so as to keep your supplies growing (and replace old water with new water as it sits in storage; the life of stored water is said to be about six months).
Today, if you live in an area with fairly good tap water, save money on bottled water by simply collecting large empty water jugs (or purchasing more durable jugs), and then fill with water straight from the faucet.
These jugs are portable; that could be extremely important in a sudden evacuation; you would be able to bring several of these with you as they can be carried by hand from your home to your vehicle.
If you believe that evacuation is a rare event for your region, a better choice would be a much larger water storage tank.
50 gallon tanks and larger for water storageFinally, this Smart Tank (which holds 50 gallons and is stackable) is a wise move for storing large supplies of emergency drinking water. As the months pass you can purchase additional units and stack them. Let's face it: If our water supplies are ever poisoned (by terrorists) or contaminated by a natural disaster or nuke, all tap water will be off limits.
You can also store rainwater - Additionally, stock up on items to assemble a cheap, at-home rainwater harvesting system (this will enable you to harvest water from rain that falls on your home or property) that you can then store in multi-gallon water storage tanks.
Any water that you store will eventually "go bad". Stored water does have a shelf life. A small amount of bleach (for example 16 drops per gallon of water) can be added to water that's been sitting for several months to make it safe to drink again (boiling water is the best method though).
Now, what if your water supply has become contaminated from flood waters or broken pipes? The American Red Cross, many times at the center of many disaster relief, advises the following:
"Filter contaminated water using a piece of cloth or coffee filter to remove solid particles.
Bring water to a rolling boil for about one full minute.
Let it cool at least 30 minutes. Water must be cool or the chlorine treatment described below will be useless.
Add 16 drops of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water, or 8 drops per 2-liter bottle of water. Stir to mix. Sodium hypochlorite of the concentration of 5.25% to 6% should be the only active ingredient in the bleach. There should not be any added soap or fragrances. A major bleach manufacturer has also added Sodium Hydroxide as an active ingredient, which they state does not pose a health risk for water treatment.
Let stand 30 minutes.
If it smells of chlorine. You can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, add 16 more drops of chlorine bleach per gallon of water (or 8 drops per 2-liter bottle of water), let stand 30 minutes, and smell it again. If it smells of chlorine, you can use it. If it does not smell of chlorine, discard it and find another source of water."
Emergency Water Purification / Proven Methods1. Water Purification Tablets - A quick way to treat water is by using water purification tablets. Water purification tablets are so useful they are even included in Navy Seal survival kits.
2. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter - Named a Time Magazine Invention of the Year winner, you've probably seen or used one of these by now if you spend anytime in the outdoors. A LifeStraw is capable of purifying up to 1,000 liters of water.
Emergency Water Supply "Pouches" for Your VehicleEmergency Drinking Water with 5 Year Life Span - Not only should you carry an emergency water filter and water purification tablets, but you should also carry 3 days (or more) worth of water. If you only have an emergency water filter or tablets on hand, there is a chance that in a disaster there will be no safe sources of water nearby (lakes, rivers, or ponds for example). In a major city (or near an area of widespread agriculture or industry), avoid drinking water from nearby lakes, ponds, and streams using a water filter or tablets due to the possible contamination of sewage or industrial chemicals that can spill into underground water systems (both natural and man made). Even the best water filters should not be trusted when it comes to sewage or industrial chemicals.
Storing Up Tap WaterA cost effective way to stock up on water for a long term emergency is to simply use tap water in conjunction with a plastic storage tank (or dozens of large jugs) rated for drinking water. Though some municipal tap water supplies are not recommended, many municipal tap water is relatively fine for consumption. It may not be as "pure" as drinking water from an alpine glacier, but it will work fine for a long term emergency, if it's all you have to drink from. Once you've purchased one or two large storage tanks for water, or several jugs, you can now extend it's storage life from 6 months to approximately 5 years by adding water preserver concentrate to each tank or jug.
Emergency Food and Storage ContainersJust as important to the process of having emergency food on hand is to have appropriate emergency storage containers for it. Thus, here are some things you should have.
#10 cans - Unless you're in the habit of canning food for long term storage, you'll use your own #10 cans to can your own food, following a widespread disaster, when the electricity is out for possibly several weeks (as in a severe ice storm that paralyzes a region), or several months or even years (should a much feared EMP or solar flare ever take place; refer to other articles on our site for instruction on these events). So keep a number of #10 cans on hand and hope that they never get used. (A #10 can is 5.3 times larger than a traditional can of soup, holding a total of about 109 ounces.)
Oxygen absorption packets - These are used to reduce moisture in food items, thus keeping the food viable for much longer (check the directions and utilize the experts when it comes to using these).
Foil pouches - These are made of multi layer laminated plastic and aluminum.
(Nowadays, oxygen absorption packets and foil pouches can be purchased together when ordering food storage supplies.)PETE bottles - These bottles, made of polyethylene terephthalate, are used for long term storage.
Clean, full size plastic garbage cans - These could be used for bathing or washing laundry.
5 Gallon Buckets - These could be used for washing dishes or for retrieving water from a local source.
Freezer - Okay, if the electricity goes out this won't help. But if it doesn't, a freezer and refrigerator in the area you plan on settling down is prudent (remember that if we're talking about a fallout shelter of sorts, it will have to be in an accessible place).
Dried Food, Non-Perishable FoodHere's the short answer: Have enough food and water on hand for at least a month which will involve stocking up on a number of food items. Particularly, you'll want to look into dry foods because they last well. Dried beans, various types of rice, canned milk, and anything else you can find will be beneficial. The most important thing to consider is that if you're going to survive off non-perishable food for a lengthy period of time that you get adequate nutrition.
Based on the items you've stocked up on, put together a daily diet plan that produces the vitamins and minerals you need in the appropriate amounts to stay healthy. Stocking up on quality multi-vitamins is a good idea also, as many canned foods or processed non-perishable foods may fall short of supplying sufficient nutritional needs. There are additional strategies you can use to choose the right foods for long term food storage such as a variety of easy to prepare meals by Mountain House.
Other Must-Haves in Any Emergency Supply KitFrom gathering food, to hunting for it, to keeping abreast of an emergency situation, to caring for those you love, here are some other things to have on hand.
Self Defense from Rampant Crime1. Firearms - You may not believe in guns, but in an emergency situation there may be nothing better to have. From hunting to self-defense, in a time of collapse a long-range rifle, a pump-action shot gun, and a few pistols can go along way to keeping your family safe from burglars or thugs, to also living off the land -- if you're an experienced hunter, as many Americans are. Even if you don't hunt today, in a time of widespread disaster, there's a great chance that one of your neighbor's does. If you have a rifle, and have at least taken the time to learn how to shoot and hit a target on a range, you have a chance that your neighbor will teach you the ins and outs of hunting both large and small game (following a disaster, get to know your neighbors; there's no telling how many ways you may help one another out).
When You Need Food2. Fishing Gear (for those of you who live near the ocean or near lakes or rivers where fish are plentiful) - Today, don't just buy any standard fishing pole; buy yourself a pole that can reel in a big fish, like a salmon pole; take some lessons in fishing, and also fly-fishing, depending on your area. Talk to experienced guides (many own bait shops or gear shops, and some are employed by large sporting goods stores, such as Cabelas) and take plenty of notes, and then take the time today to put those notes to the test.
When you're ready to buy, consider going with a collapsible fishing pole. As this kind of fishing pole collapses down and can be hidden in your backpack, you can carry it around without anyone knowing and attract a lot less attention from possible scavengers in the vicinity. (Remember, if we're talking about a catastrophic disaster, there will be thieves and bandits who may be willing to take any fish you catch by force -- it might be better to do your fishing without anyone knowing as you travel back to your home or bug out retreat with your catch).
Another reason to go with a collapsible fishing pole: If you're hiking through the woods or pushing your way through brush to get to a lake or river bank, a collapsible pole is not going to catch on brush the same way that a longer fishing pole would, saving you a lot of frustration and tangled line and caught hooks.
3. Fishing Bait - If there's fishing in the region of the country that you live, stock various types of bait for the ocean, lake, or river you may end up fishing in. At the same time, keep in mind that there is also plenty of natural bait that can be found in nature; night crawlers for example, and even crayfish (also called crawdads) -- which can both be used as bait or you can simply eat them if you've found some larger ones.
Don't forget the critters in your backyard and nearby woods. Stock up on small mammal bait (seeds, corn, etc.) for things like duck, geese, squirrels, and rabbit that may be common in your area. What is small mammal bait? It may be sold in grocery stores or your nearby hardware store; it is commonly used in backyard feeders for select animals. This is for a "worst case" scenario when your emergency supplies of dried food run low and you now need to turn to hunting and trapping.
4. Crabbing Gear - Only if you live in an area where crabbing is an option.
Even if you don't live near the ocean, crawfish (called "crawdads" by some folks and "crayfish" by others) are an easy to catch large fresh water crustacean that is good eating and common in many streams and plentiful in many regions, including the Pacific Northwest and South Eastern states, Continental Divide, and even Arizona (where they were introduced several years back). You'll have to check your region as to whether or not crawfish are common.
Whether you decide to go crabbing or catch crawfish, Promar makes a useful collapsible crab/crawfish trap. It folds down for easy transport. Bait your trap and throw it in the water and come back later that day to find several crabs or crawfish inside.
When You Need to Hide5. Camouflage - You may need to turn to hunting, if things get dire, and you start running low on food. But don't just have camouflage clothing on hand for hunting. Realize that if dangerous people come to the area, you and your family may have to flee your home and hide out in a nearby forest. Don't just buy standard camouflage as you may have seen it worn casually over the years. It will be easier to stay hidden as you cross through a forest or wilderness area if you have the appropriate camouflage coloring for the terrain. Consider having two types of camouflage -- dark colors for a forest rich in green colors; light colors for a terrain that is more like a prairie or even the desert. Camouflage face paint is a second item to have; but also know how to make natural colored camouflage "paint" for your face using simply streaks of dark mud and dirt.
When You Need A Knife6. Survival Knife - This and a good buck knife for cutting rope, etc. will be prudent. Popular survival knives, especially by our military men and women, include KA-BAR US Marine Corps fighting knife and a SOG SEAL Pup Elite Survival Knife. (If this KA-BAR or SOG SEAL are a bit too military for your tastes go with a good folding knife like this Kershaw as a more civilian option and one you might buy for your teen kids as well.)
When You Need News7. Emergency Radio - Keep extra batteries around as well; or get yourself a quality hand-crank radio, that doesn't need batteries.
Emergency Supplies for Your HomeSome people are very concerned about the prospect of disasters we are facing in the modern day and spending hundreds or thousands of dollars at a time on emergency survival food. Whether or not that's you, you're going to want tools that make cooking and serving food "off grid" as easy as possible. That means turning to plastic bowls and plates (thick plastic bowls and plates intended to be reused).
8. Cutlery, plates, can openers, bowls, etc. A good emergency kit can have the same kind of items you would take on a weekend camping trip. Choose items that are light weight, as small as you can get away with, and also high quality (no need for a can opener to break on you, if it doesn't have to). While canned food has an ok shelf life, typically several months, freeze dried food is lighter weight (doesn't require a can opener) and has a shelf life of several years. Preparing for a long term disaster, consider companies like Mountain House (mentioned in a previous paragraph) and Chef's Banquet.
9. Extra bedding - If the power is out for any length of time, bundle up at night under several layers of warm blankets. You may find some cheap blankets at a second hand store or thrift shop. Purchase 5 or more for each person in your family. Additionally, you can have cold weather sleeping bags on hand. These are great because in an evacuation, especially one that occurs on foot, you'll be limited in just what you can carry with you, in your backpack.
10. Warm clothing - Enough to wear in several layers for cold weather.
11. Extra bathroom supplies - Especially for women, when it comes to things like tampons, etc. Beyond this, you may want to know where you will toilet in advance if / when thinking about a fallout shelter or simply a "bug out" location. A fallout shelter is only needed for one kind of emergency (nuclear). Still, it's unfortunately looking like nuclear problems are more and more of a possibility these days. For that time that it's safe to emerge from your fallout shelter, or if this is a non-nuclear disaster...
12. Soap (not just bar soap, but also dish soap). Several gallons of bleach will also go a long way to keeping your home clean. Water it down and use it sparingly and you may be able to make a few gallons of bleach last several months.
13. First Aid Supply Kit - Experts recommend a kit that you hand-stock, rather than buy one that is pre-stocked. This way you can be sure to have key items as well as extras of items that you're likely to use up if anyone is injured.
14. Tarps and tents - In case you need to build a shelter. Also, tarps can be used to trap water if you run out of water as a simply rainwater harvesting system.
15. Flashlights, candles, and lighters - If there's no electricity, what else will you use? The flashlight is another reason to have extra batteries on hand. Nowadays, also purchase a solar powered battery charger (for small batteries of various sizes). This way, you can keep your batteries charged simply by solar power. These chargers aren't expensive; just be certain of the quality when you do buy one. A 55 hour emergency candle can provide several days worth of lighting, depending on how often you use these candles. 2 or 3 of these candles should get a family through a short term emergency when the power is out for a couple days. You'll want more though for an extended power outage.
16. Portable stove - A propane BBQ may be the way to go if electricity dies. Keep in mind, a propane BBQ will burn more fuel typically than a much smaller propane camp stove. Only use the BBQ if you have to cook large quantities of food at a time. Along with this, you'll want spare propane tanks. Keep them away from your home while waiting, however, as they could go up with an explosion.
As a much cheaper alternative to propane, and for a long term emergency, many are going with a small portable camp stove known as Solo Stove, which uses small sticks and brush as fuel. No matter where you are, you should be able to find sticks and brush nearby; even in a desert environment you'll find sticks and brush to burn.
A Solo Stove is constructed to maximize the heat created by burning small sticks and brush; this means that food will cook faster and use a lot less wood than a typical campfire -- just a few small sticks or wood shavings will do the trick. A Solo Stove will also give off a lot less smoke than a campfire, allowing you to cook your food without attracting attention from far away, which campfires are known for). So this is a very handy stove to have in a long term emergency and a popular item with backpackers, kayakers, hunters, fishermen and survivalists.
17. Towels, brushes, brooms, even mops - For cleaning and sanitation. Add to this 55 gallon (contractor size) heavy duty garbage bags for disposing of trash.
Also, stock up on several boxes (cases) of 3 gallon to 5 gallon garbage bags for disposing of human waste, should your plumbing be damaged or destroyed, and beyond repair.
Dig trenches in the ground away from your living quarters and away from prevailing winds, so that the stench is not carried by the wind into your home. Dump urine (from whatever you're using to urinate in) into a trench that is separate from solid human waste. Rather that simply dump solid waste into a trench however, instead assign a small garbage bag to each person, for the purpose of being used as a "toilet bag" that can be used in place of a toilet. If tied shut after each use, it will help minimize the stench of waste. When each bag is near full, these can be placed in the trench that has been dug. When that trench is near full, cover it with dirt. Now dig a second trench, etc.
18. Stationary - There's no telling how long you may be in a predicament. Thus, books, paper, and pens/ pencils may be needed to fill time and communicate with others.
19. Building supplies - What if your house or property needs fixing? A hammer, nails, axe, and saw could be as important to you as clothes themselves. A stack of 2x4s and plywood of various thickness can also go a long way (especially should an earthquake, tornado, or even a flood or tsunami destroy homes in your area).
20. Alternative transportation - If cars won't work because of gas or oil shortages, bicycles, scooters, and anything and everything else that moves can help you get around the area.
21. Backpacks and hiking boots - These could come in handy if you need to get going in a hurry. In the survivalist and prepper world this is called "bugging out" and there's an art to having a properly packed bug out bag with critical supplies for bugging out to safety and surviving long term.
Also remember that if a sudden evacuation calls for you doing so on foot, pack a small tent along with some food. Choose boots that use eye-holes to lace up, from the bottom of the boot where your laces enter, all the way up around your ankle (if you have to make a run for it, other boots that don't lace up with eye holes can easily come untied; having your shoes come untied is the last thing you want to have happen should you have to flee from danger suddenly).
Consider More Emergency Supplies Than You Think You NeedOh yeah, and don't forget to have enough emergency supplies for everyone in your home (not just one or two of you if you have five people living with you). Be prepared for friends or relatives who may show up also, unannounced. Their homes or regions may have been destroyed in a disaster and if you live in a distant town or area, they may seek you for safe shelter and food.
So, if you're going to truly be prepared with emergency supplies, stock up on excess items with these people in mind. Take the time to talk to them today also, about items they should have around the home, even if it's just a "bug out" bag, to get them out of a major city in an evacuation.
Welcome them to your home.
The last thing you want to have to do is make choices about who lives or dies. Besides that, God is watching my friend. In the Bible we're told that if we help meet the needs of others, we can count on God to meet our own needs (that of course calls for living by faith; think you're ready for that?)
ConclusionHaving an appropriate and versatile set of emergency supplies at your home and/ or workplace could mean the difference between living and dying in the coming years. We've all seen the potential for devastation out there (unfortunately, some of us have seen more than potential devastation). Now is the time to get ready for it.
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