A pattern of harsh weather events such as tornados, earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, and concerns over unstable governments and military actions on a global scale continue month after month. Any of these threats can strain or even collapse supply and power grids and your ability to be self-sufficient.
My intent is not to create fear or paranoia. Rather to inspire a sense of readiness. Point being, it is past time to take the Boy Scout Motto of “Be Prepared” to heart.
For our discussion here let’s look at often overlooked areas of preparedness you may wish to consider:
Water is essential in so many ways and it’s hard to store enough for more than a week or two. The average amount of water used per day per person is 80 to 90 gallons!
If your living situation allows, I would highly recommend storage of water by other means than just regular bottled water. WaterBrick company offers some excellent containers not only for water but also for food, ammo and many other uses.
These containers are very durable and are stackable; I have used them for years. You may want to consider a water purification system as well. These could range from simply boiling water, to personal systems from companies such as LifeStraw or Sawyer.
Having your own personal well or spring wouldn’t hurt either! Give it some thought and careful planning, water is a must.
Food and Alternate Means of Cooking
Food, especially long-term storage food, can be problematic. A mixed approach is probably best. Frozen food is great of course, unless there is a long-term power outage. So, having dry goods (beans, rice) and long-term storage foods, such as “Meals Ready to Eat” (MREs) and freeze-dried foods is a good idea to fill in your food supply gaps.
Start working on this now as supplies slowly become more available.
Another thought here is to occasionally prepare a meal from your MRE’s and or freeze-dried food store. Make sure these products set well with you and your family needs. Patriot Supply has a good choice of long-term food and storage options if you are not sure where to turn.
We all have an electric or gas stove in our abode, but what if the power grid goes down for an extended period. Do you have another way to cook food or simply heat water? You should. There are a number of options here and I would suggest not just one but a backup to each one.
A propane or simple charcoal grill is worth having. How about the old Coleman single- or two-burner stove that runs on Coleman liquid fuel? I have two of these and have cooked dozens of meals on them in a hunting camp.
The more modern versions that run on propane canisters are more common and very handy in a pinch. The old standby of Sterno fuel and accompanying stove is not a bad choice if storage space is a problem.
Medical essentials should be an integral part of everyone’s emergency planning. I am not talking merely Band-Aids and a roll of gauze. Look beyond the basics and get some training on how to use life-saving medical tools such as tourniquets, pressure bandages, occlusive dressings and the like.
Perhaps learning how to suture and having a quality suture kit to do so should be within your planning and preparedness program.
Personal medicine needs and related items for the long haul should be in goals and a good supply of necessary medicines being stored back is critical should the worst happen.
Take a CPR and basic first aid course when you can and then continue building on that. Check out Mountain Man Medical for some great emergency medical kits and training ideas to go along with those kits.
Fuel & Power
In this case I am not referring to just gasoline but any source of fuel that is needed to power essentials. Gas for vehicles, various types of fuel for cooking (including charcoal and firewood), batteries for devices you may use on a daily basis.
A solar panel and a rechargeable battery bank could come in handy if you have the correct charging cables for phones, laptops, etc. Take a look at Goal Zero for your needs in this arena.
Storage of highly flammable fuel must be done with caution and not everyone is in a location that allows for storage of flammable fuel. Prepare with what you can based on your circumstance.
Every day essentials
Items that you use daily, paper towels, toilet paper, and sanitizing supplies are the first to fly off the shelves. While the PT and TP necessities are on the rebound, we have all seen just how quickly these items can disappear. Hand sanitizer and Lysol are still very much unavailable in some areas with Covid concerns still lingering.
Cash also falls into every day necessities. Do not rely on credit cards if there is a true national or regional emergency. The recommendation for cash on hand is three to six months. I would go with six to twelve months of available living expenses if possible.
I know this is easier said than done in these difficult times but it’s a worthy goal.
Firearms & Ammunition
I would be remiss to not mention guns and ammo. As we have all seen in the last several months there has been an overwhelming demand for guns and ammunition. No doubt many of these purchasers are first time gun buyers that have, in the past, been resistant to gun ownership.
I would implore those that have little or no actual hands-on training with a firearm to seek out quality training from a professional. Remember, gun safety, responsibility and competency are all up to you.
If you are an advocate of your right of self-protection, then keep several hundred rounds of your most-used calibers. As we have seen over the last several years ammo supplies disappear from retailers in a matter of days. What good is your firearm with no ammo?
Keep in mind it would be nice to have enough on hand to be able to continue training once in a while. Aside from the other obvious reasons of hunting and barter, ammo is a good investment for trying times!
This list is but a basic starting point and could go on and on based on your specific needs. Communication systems and alternate sources of shelter being other areas to give serious effort and preparation.
But for now, remember the old saying, “only a fool compares preparedness with paranoia” … I for one couldn’t agree more.