Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Storm Approaches - Be Prepared!

Back in August 2014, I wrote a post "Always Be Prepared" after my hometown and surrounding areas were flooded out to the point that major highways were impassible, and hospitals were even closed. What we saw back in the fall in Missouri, and again tonight in Maryland is enough reason for any family, especially living in an urban/suburban area, to consider creating an emergency and evacuation plan...

A storm approaches... Summer 2014
I've said it before, shows like "Doomsday Preppers", in my opinion, has cast a negative light on emergency preparedness within the general population. After all, most people today are accustomed to walking or driving a short distance to the nearest convenience or grocery store for bread, milk, snacks and toiletry items on demand. They can't imagine a time when they won't be able to do so. While being preoccupied with laughing at Joe Smith hoarding gas masks and building a fall out shelter under his garage, or Pete Jones building an arsenal fit for any 3rd World Army, they are forgetting about possible every day negative occurrences like natural disasters and localized pockets of civil unrest, or even a personal period of illness or unemployment when funds to purchase food may be scarce!

An obvious consideration many disregard is possible disruption in flow of overland transportation. If trucks cannot pick up in and pass through major cities, it may affect you indirectly when supermarkets, who themselves usually only stock 3 days worth of goods, stop receiving shipments. When Toledo's water was disrupted, less than 12 hours later overnight, stores all the way out here (35 miles from the city) were already sold out of bottled water! There were reports of scalpers selling $5 cases of bottled water for as much as $25 each! We've seen in the past how quickly civility erodes when water, food and other necessities are depleted...

As I stated previously, a good place to start preparing in case of emergency is the American Red Cross. They provide lists of supplies to have on hand, and tips for specific types of emergencies. While they concentrate on natural disasters, your basic human needs are the same regardless of the situation. Agencies across the board recommend AT LEAST a 72 hour stash of supplies, preferably mobile in case of evacuation. 72 hours is a great place to start, and from there, in my opinion, keep going until you reach at least 30 days.

Pinterest offers a plethora of links to sources with thorough supply lists and tips for specific scenarios, too. Here's a link to our Emergency Preparedness Board. As you can discern from the pins, our biggest threats out here are tornadoes (all these open fields!), and most especially impassible roads and power outage due to blizzard conditions. Winter 2013, there were 3 separate times we were snowed in for more than 24 hours. It was a blessing knowing we had plenty of food and water, and warm clothes, blankets and an alternate cooking method if the power went out, too!

There are many companies out there offering pre-packed mobile 72 hour bucket and backpack kits. A quick Amazon search will yield hundreds of results. Though convenient, these pre-packed kits can be rather pricey. If you have a dehydrator and the time to do so, you can easily make your own dry mix meals and package them in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers for long term storage, and invest in some water treatment tablets or a LifeStraw Personal Water Filter for your mobile kits.

Besides the obvious Amazon, a great place to find non-food supplies, like alternate cooking sources and solar crank radios at affordable prices is Sportsman's Guide. While, as their name suggests, they sell hunting and fishing gear, they also have an excellent selection of military issue surplus and camping goods that could be helpful in an emergency situation.

I could go on about this topic for pages, however, my intention here is to simply encourage you all to start concocting a contingency plan for yourselves and your families, and guide you to some resources, if God forbid, things ever go south for you, regardless of the actual situation that may cause the emergency.