Emergency Preparedness for Everybody

chicken_veg_soup_2Power outages happen at the damnedest times.  They never seem to happen when you’re carrying your bug-out bag or when you’ve got a flashlight in your hand.  And water outages don’t happen when your rain barrel is full or you’ve just topped off your 50 gallon water supply in the basement.

These things always seem to happen when you’re sitting on the toilet in the early evening and your flashlight is on the other side of the house when everything is plunged into darkness.  The water stops flowing when all you have is five gallons left over – if that – from the last storm that came through a year ago.

Imagine if the power went out right now – boom, it’s gone.  You’re sitting in the dark, or maybe having a cup of coffee at the breakfast table, or possibly getting a little SHTFblog reading in on the sly at work.  It’s out.  The backup generator didn’t kick in and there is no electricity feeding your gizmos.  No lights, no running water, no electric stove.  Nothing.

Take Inventory

Stop right now and take inventory of where you are and what resources you have available.  Emergencies don’t wait for you to get ready folks, they happen when they happen.

For me – as I write this – it’s early morning on a Saturday in November with an outside temperature right now of about 34 degrees. I’ve got a generator twenty feet away, a few different water filters I could use for several thousand gallons of water if necessary, and a couple of kerosene heaters to heat the house on a limited basis for awhile.  At this exact moment I could go a few days with only minor discomfort and hopefully the electric company would have the power back on by that time.

But there are way more people out there not ready.  Let’s face it folks, most of us today aren’t equipped to go long periods of time without electricity.  It’s the lifeblood of our electronic civilization and many people would not be able to cope with an extended power outage.

If you saw the NatGeo movie “American Blackout” you’ll begin to get an understanding of just how dangerous it can be.

So the emergency/power outage has started and you’ve taken stock of what resources you have on hand.  If you’re home I hope you’re in pretty good shape.  Flashlights, candles, food and water, a way to stay warm, etc.  If you’re out and about you might not have quite as much with you.  I usually carry a small light and a multi-tool or pocket knife with me, so I can at least see if I’m in a dark office or other space without light.  I also always have a bug-out or Get Home Bag (GHB) in the vehicle, so if push came to shove I still have a day or two worth of food and water.

Make a Plan

Have a plan laid out for what to do when TSHTF.  This could be anything from a big old snowstorm to a societal collapse.  If you have the thinking done ahead of time you’re going to be much better off than trying to come up with something on the spot.

Your plan will almost certainly change, but it’s better to make small adjustments to a plan than to try and come up with something in the middle of an emergency.

The only piece of advice I’ll give with your plan is to make it as simple as possible.  If it’s too complicated your kids and even the adults might forget some of it during the heat of the moment.

Execute the Plan

Once an emergency begins and you sense there’s danger go ahead and execute the plan.  Maybe your first step is to establish communication with your family members, or maybe you have a prearranged meeting spot if communications are down.

The worst that can happen is you get to practice your plan, which is a good idea anyway.

Have a Rally Point

A friend of mine was at the Boston Marathon during the bombing.  He was in town and his wife was running the race when the bomb went off.  When he tried to call her on his cell phone he couldn’t get through.  He said, “Jarhead, if there was one thing I wished we’d done it would have been to set up an emergency rally point.”  He finally caught up with her hours later, but if it had been an extended emergency it could have been real trouble for them.

Rally points are simply a place where you meet up if there’s an emergency, or in some case even if you get separated.  If I’m at a big outdoor event with my family and we’re going separate ways I’ll always say something like, “Ok, let’s meet at the hot dog stand by the entrance at 2:00 pm.”  That way if we can’t find each other we’re not wandering around like a bunch of zombies looking for each other.

Basic Preps

At a minimum have enough food and water on hand for three days.  A minimum.  Some people go for a month to three months and others have a year or more food stored away.  Imagine how good it would be to know that if you’re suddenly cut off from the outside world you’re going to be able to eat for an extended period.

I’ve got some dehydrated food from Survival Cave stored away.  Chances are good I’ll never have to use it, but I breathe easier knowing it’s there.  It can be a little pricey, but it’s an insurance policy good for many many years.  Well worth it in my book.

Have you been checking out the repercussions from the typhoon that just wiped out the Philippines?  That is a truly horrible situation these people find themselves in and as I watch the news I constantly ask myself, “Could I have done better than this?  Would my preps have made it through the storm?”

I’m not trying to bash those folks by any stretch, but if you can look at a situation and get a feel for just how bad the folks over there have it, then maybe you’ll go the extra mile and make sure you have good preps in place.  Batteries, solar chargers, heat sources, communications and backup plans, food, water… these are all important to the safety and well being of your family.

How about it folks.  Are YOU ready?

Questions?  Comments?

Sound off below!

-Jarhead Survivor

17 comments… add one
  • irishdutchuncle November 25, 2013, 9:44 am

    we keep a cheap battery lantern in the bathroom, in case the
    night-light goes out, and another in the hall closet. I may upgrade those to LED some year. we need more candles. we had some automatic “power failure” flashlights, but they weren’t replaced after their NiCd batteries wore out. if we ever move, I’ll replace them. we’ve learned to walk carefully in the dark here. there is always some tripping hazard, or a cat…

    • irishdutchuncle November 25, 2013, 10:28 am

      … we had a plan at one time.
      (that means it’s time for a complete revision)
      the first step in the plan is to get out alive, and plan two ways to get out in advance. the deluxe plan includes not arriving at the rally point naked.

      • Jarhead Survivor November 25, 2013, 11:30 am

        That would be a good plan to have!

        • irishdutchuncle November 25, 2013, 1:53 pm

          hopefully “it” doesn’t happen while you’re in the shower, with soap in your eyes. some expert I read, recommend keeping a “naked bag” handy, in case you don’t have time to get to your “go bag”.

          • izzy November 28, 2013, 11:07 pm

            So true, there are lots of reasons you’d be underdressed. Sleep, for one.
            My LED flashlight “lives” on my favorite bedside lamp. My running shoes are under the bed. Cheap lightweight polarfleece pants&shirt&hat & wool socks in my everyday bag. (In fact you should have this in your bag BEFORE anything else…) and a cheap “down” vest in the car. (Make it a size large, so it will fit anbody who needs it).
            Also the same forces that make a neighborhood into a living hell, are powerful enough to strip you of everything you own, including your clothes. Plan on it.

  • riverrider November 25, 2013, 9:49 am

    three days is woefully inadequate. look at the philipines, new england a few years ago, hurricane sandy,fukishima. they all took way more than 3 days to get help ramped up and roads cleared to get to them. two weeks minimum, month better. if its a large scale event, what priority are you to the .gov?

    • Jarhead Survivor November 25, 2013, 4:06 pm

      riverrider – I agree 100%, but think that *any* preparedness is better than nothing.

  • R.C. November 25, 2013, 12:29 pm

    So should I mention that I am installing a natural gas powered stand by home generator? LOL

    Seriously though, besides power, I think it’s very important (having gone through power outages from spring storms) to have heat, a way to eat, and plenty of water. I was getting dehydrated, and didn’t have enough electrolytes. So I now store those sugar free hydration packets.

    Helps to go through adversity to learn from it.

  • Pineslayer November 25, 2013, 3:11 pm

    Are we ready? Well yes and no. We are more prepared than most for being cut off, as the recent flooding here in CO proved. Our biggest concern is wildfire. I don’t want to lose my stuff, so our priority right now is hardening the house against ignition. I am pushing back the tree’s, pulling up the old wood decks that would burst into flames if you looked at them the wrong way, and we are researching window films. All of these projects tend to get viewed as “how can they help us if TSHTF”. After window film we will be looking at those hurricane shutters, very pricey, but if we only buy a couple at a time it is better than nothing. I keep the BOV gassed and loaded for a quick exit, pointed in the right direction too. It would not be much a stretch for zombie/marauder types to start a fire and try to drive people out of their homes, especially if they feel that we are not giving up easily. If we can’t have it, then you can’t either attitude. For those of you living in a home or apartment, have you given much thought to that scenario? If a fire was set on the ground floor, how would you escape?
    We have talked about rally points and avenues of travel so that we can find each other, but we need to make the plans more solid. I need to find a way to get my wife to carry some sort of defensive weapon, same for my daughter. For school aged kids that can’t have anything on them, I am thinking of a big fork, nicely sharpened. As of now they haven’t outlawed eating utensils, yet.

    • Priest November 25, 2013, 5:10 pm

      I definitely agree with you on that one. I just bought my wife a new vehicle to handle the snow so she has asked me about building her a kit for the car. Yeah the flooding was crazy up here and fortunately we were not affected but i know plenty folks who were. Hoping we don’t get any crazy snow storms this year.

      We flew home this weekend to see my parents and help them organize their food, water & firearm supplies and while walking around their local hardware store i found so much stuff i wanted. They had the $10 kerosene lanterns, $75 kerosene heaters, $20-$100 solar chargers, can ground beef, etc etc etc. All this stuff was great quality and it looks like i’m gonna send my dad some serious money to bring me some supplies when they drive up for Christmas.

      Feels good to have my parents ready for disasters being that they are 2 states away from us. Having a plan and knowing how to execute it is priceless.

    • riverrider November 26, 2013, 11:14 am

      thats why i went with a metal roof. i have sprinklers to soak the deck in case of fire. gradually moving back the treeline as well. one thing i read from the forest service was to screen or otherwise protect the eaves of the roof. seems many homes don’t have anything at the end of the rafters like we do here. i saw a guy use chainlink fence hung from the overhang to keep the large cinders off his siding. it works to defeat molotovs too.

    • smokechecktim November 27, 2013, 12:08 pm

      Pineslayer: Look into thermo gel. There are several companies that make a gel that you spray on the side of your house to protect against wildfire flames. You use ;your regular garden hose with an adapter. Several of the local mountain communities place the gel is marked outside boxes, so the fire dept can use them to cover your house if you’re not home. Their non toxic and wash off easily after the threat passes. Out here is the laguna mountains the smart folks have it ready. Its not cheap but it could save your house.

      • Pineslayer November 28, 2013, 8:15 pm

        smokechecktim, I have been thinking about the gel or foam, but it only works if I am here to apply. I will ask a firefighter tomorrow AM about their policy on using supplied materials, since I was going to be seeing him anyway. He is going to move some dirt for us for our shooting backstop :)
        I have sprinklers and power and have been thinking about a drip line under the eaves to soak the walls. I’m trying to think about simple and cheap ways to defeat fire. Keeping fuels away from the house first, then keeping embers from infiltrating the structure, last work on my rain dance.

  • Steve suffering in nj November 25, 2013, 8:23 pm

    Got a 30day lantern from Camp More. Can’t say enough good things about it. Used to rely on hurricane lamps and Dietz kerosene lamps. Now that I have kids throwing stuff all over I decided they were a liability. Still got em, still will use if required but battery is allot safer if the possibility to get knocked over is present.

    Lantern claims to be good for 30 continuous days on low. Low is bright enough to light my kitchen and living room with ease. Not sure about the claim, but I’ve got allot of use out of it and have yet to repl batteries.

    One nice feature I didn’t give much thought to was a small led that blinks every 60 seconds. Last power outage we had we were stuck in the dark like usual wondering where the closest flashlight was. There on the mantel was the led flashing. Sweet there’s the lantern.

    It runs on 3 D batteries. Cost me about 49 bucks but well worth it. Google search 30 day lantern and you will find it. I’d recommend it highly.

    Anyone have experience with solar batterie chargers? Looking to pick up one I can charge AA and AAA with. Don’t want to buy junk. Don’t mind spending a little $ for quality. Any suggestions appreciated.

  • irishdutchuncle November 26, 2013, 1:28 am

    … and don’t forget tarps, blankets, and sleeping bags. those are some of the most basic of basics.

  • Ray November 26, 2013, 6:39 am

    No matter what we do, we can never be ready for “the big one”. It allways has been and allways will be the one no one saw coming. The 7.0 earth quake. The cat. five super storm. The EF-5 tornado. Five thousand guys in black uniforms marching down YOUR street. The warning sirens going off at four AM—and you don’t know why. The best we can ever do is to have our minds and hearts ready to fight for our survival and our families survival. All the rest is out of our control , no amount of stockpiled “stuff” or “prepping” can make us “ready”. If you can make a shelter ,a fire , a knife and a spear with only the stuff you can find laying on the ground you have “preps”, Because anything but the stuff in your head can be taken away if the wolf at your door is big enough .

  • Don November 27, 2013, 10:21 am

    I don’t think anyone can ever be ready enough for a complete TEOTWAWKI event. But for smaller more common events there are many inexpensive ways to be ready. as many people have mentioned, cut the trees and brush from around the house. I always keep my 2 7G water jugs filled. I bought a “6 pack” of cheap LED lights and have one in each room in case the power goes out. No, they won’t last long, but they will keep my toes intact while I get to the lanterns and candles. The BOV is always gassed and loaded, all I need to grab is the pets and the G.O.O.D bags and I can take any of the routs I have planned and scouted. If I decide to “Bug In” my fire wood is close to the door so I don’t have to venture far to stay warm.
    I do agree that “something is better than nothing” and that it is NEVER to late to start planning


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