Storms, financial collapses, power outages, meteors, invasions, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions and more! Oh yeh! Don’t forget the zombies and a whole bunch of other things that can keep you awake at night. Logically you should have in mind the ‘most likely’ scenarios for your part of the country or world.
However, in getting old, I’ve come to realize that many of the things I worried about the most, never happened. So, why bother to prepare for them? — What? — Am I saying don’t prepare for disasters? — Not even close, I’m just saying, if you have not already started, start now to prepare for ‘anything’ that could endanger you or your family!
Among ‘Preppers’, a common saying is “Prepare for the worst, hope for the best!” So, if you’re not already in the ‘prepping’ mode, stop worrying and stressing about all the possible scenarios and ‘just start preparing!’
You might wonder though — How do you know where to start, if you don’t know what to prepare for?
Well, look at the first paragraph again and all of the scary disaster possibilities. Consider these and think, what do they all have in common? BASIC NEEDS! You need water, shelter, food and fire to survive! (A First Aid Pack and a bit of knowledge is good too!) So let’s consider some basics and add to these as we go.
Here are three very common situations that could happen. 1. A financial collapse – Maybe just yours – (Consider if just you or your spouse got laid off or maybe you get injured?) 2. Your car breaks down, or you are in a car wreck – or maybe, you simply come across a wreck . 3. Your power goes out for a few days.
What are some items you could really use in those common scenarios? Wouldn’t some extra food and water in the pantry or in the car help take some stress off? (Think about the car wreck situation and a recent ‘one day’ outing that hit national news. here) Even if you were only laid off for a couple weeks or a power outage lasted just 3 days (not un-common in the Pac. N/W), wouldn’t a 20 day supply of food and water in the pantry help? Wouldn’t it give you comfort and a real advantage over having the panic of having nothing on the shelves? (Think about the recent Texas ice storm here) Hey, the gov. is taking steps, note the recent date on this mandate! – here (Caution – Don’t read number II under ’emergency plan’ it makes for a sleepless night!)
Ok, just for comforts sake, how about we start by adding a well prepared First Aid bag to your cars and the home. See, preparing is simply common sense, and lightens the stress load of the ‘what ifs’ at the same time.
Let’s now focus on where most of us spend a lot of time, the car! Why, we’ve got fancy sound systems with multiple video screens and our cell phones can tap right into it for surround sound talking. Throw in navigation, jack it up and add four wheel drive! Hey, we are ready for anything including a few zombies, mad max style bikers. Maybe, Mad Max Zombie Bikers, yeh, that’s the ticket! What ever comes, you are ready!
Yep, we are ready and raring to go, that is, unless the truck breaks down or runs out of gas. With that in mind, would it hurt any just to add a few dollars in small bills to your cars little first aid pack? Could a few bucks stashed away help out if you got stranded? Think about if you ran out of gas or got stranded in a small town and needed clothing or a room. What if the power was out? (Think, no working credit card machines or worse -horrors- you lost your card.) How about just having a little cash to give that nice guy who pulled your rig out of the ditch with his bigger jacked up truck.
While we are at it, let’s put in some matches, a cheap butane ‘Bic’ type of lighter, maybe a ‘ferrocerium rod’, some chap-stick and a few cotton balls into a small zip-lock baggy and throw it all into that little First Aid bag None of this takes up much room, adds less then ten bucks to the First Aid bag and it’s all together if there is an emergency. (Need for fire? Note – Fresh Water) Now, throw that loaded First Aid bag into a small cloth suit case or preferably a back pack that is just large enough to hold a few more things.
If you got stranded, wouldn’t a nice wool blanket be comfy? Hmm, a wool stocking cap, extra pair of wool socks and some broke in walking shoes would be nice too! Will a light weight, water resistant coat fit? Some other nice adds would be gloves and some long johns (Hey, it’s winter during the time I’m writing this and my feet are cold!) and a container or two of water (one a cheaper, stainless steel kind with no plastic on the main section – plastic on cap is ok). Don’t these things seem like reasonable items to carry in the car, just in case you get stranded for awhile?
Hmm, just thinking out loud here, but how about adding a good multi- tool (like a Sog or Leatherman type) or even a cheap one (better than nothing). A flashlight with extra batteries, along with about 5 good and nutty granola bars. (Munchies are great to have if the car breaks down in the middle of the night, huh?) That stuff should easily fit into the bag with room left over. Now, does it seem like too much of a chore, just to throw one bag like that into each trunk of your cars, just so you’ll always have it with you?
Before you do though, I’m going to the ‘wild n crazy prepper’ side and add a few more things that should easily squeeze into the suit case or back pack. Don’t worry, they are cheap. Get a couple of big, heavy duty, plastic trash bags (55 gal. contractors’ type, or even the 33 gal. if you can’t find the biggies) and a couple of 1 gal. freezer zip lock bags. Take a deep breath — I’m almost done — a roll of that strong nylon string, a small compass and local map, a bandana or two, 000 steel wool, 5 feet of duct tape (gorilla better) and a face mask (dust filter type – not ‘bank robber’ kind) and don’t forget the TP.
Is that stretching it? Does this little bit of ‘extra’ stuff sound reasonable, or do you think I zoned out and went into a paranoid prepper zone or something? Well keep reading and let me explain. These things along with a few ‘car’ tools and jumper cables should get you a good start on what’s referred to as a ‘GHB’ (Get Home Bag). Now this is kind of the same, but still all together a different bag than the ‘GOOD Bag’ that we’ll talk about at a later time.
Soon, I’ll have some ‘multiple use’ pages up that will probably go all sorts of directions, but until then, let’s consider ‘the list’ just mentioned.
1. First Aid bag – Obvious – just a plain good idea to have one of these in the car! Think camping, hiking, car wrecks, splinters, owies. Ps. It’s good to keep a couple days prescription meds in the bag too.
2. money – again obvious, – but also, along with cash, a roll of nickels or quarters can also be used for more than buying from soda machines. Just saying! (Ok, to the ‘sheltered’ few!) — While not condoning violence, a roll of coins clutched in the hand adds weight and firmness to a well placed punch, if necessary.) Also, a few one dollar bills in a money clip tossed away from you, may allow you time to make a run for it. The idea is to throw it in such a way that makes a robber look away and even chase after it! Sorry, but for most of us, truly surviving will mean more running and hiding, than confronting!
3. Matches, lighter and ‘fire steel’ – Having several ways to start a fire can be a life saver. I’ve found that it is a fact of life, when you really, really need something – it won’t work or ya can’t find it! So having multiple back up sources makes your chances that much better. That is what preparation is all about, not necessarily being prepared for everything, but being prepared enough to increase your chances over not being prepared at all!
4. The 000 steel wool, cotton balls and chap-stick – can also be used in starting fires as well as other purposes. A small wad of steel wool when rubbed with a 9 volt battery, (or a cell phone battery) or several other types of batteries, can cause the steel to get hot enough to start some tender or paper on fire. (Note, you could ruin your phone battery in the process.) The cotton with chap-stick smeared into it, will burn easily and give time for tender to catch fire. It will also start burning by using a type offerrocerium rod, which will spark even if it gets wet. Of course matches or the lighter will work well too, on the cotton. Note, most ‘bic’ type lighters, even if empty of fuel can throw enough spark to start the cotton/chap-stick (Vaseline) on fire. Zip- lock bags will also burn, however be aware of the toxic fumes that it will produce. They are better for keeping things dry, separated or maybe even for gathering food or water in for an emergency situation.
5. Wool – socks, cap, blanket and gloves – Wool can help retain much of your body heat, even if it gets damp or wet. You will read over and over on sites like this – Cotton Kills! In the cold, even in the 50’s plus, you can suffer from hypothermia wearing cotton if it gets wet and your in the wind. So wool or synthetics that are made for cold weather are far better to have as ‘extras’ in the emergency bag. You can always take them off if you get too warm, but it is difficult to get ‘warm’ in cotton if your outside in the cold and wet! (This is the Pac. N/W after all!)
6. Water and containers – Dehydration can happen quickly; because of colas and coffee, most Americans are already dehydrated to some extent even before an emergency. Read the article on Fresh Water and you’ll realize we can’t survive much over 3 days without water and can get delusional before that. Consider that having a couple of quarts of water stored in the car, just makes good sense. Cars also, occasionally run low on water, spring a leak in a water hose or maybe we just need to fill the window washer, etc. (Think too, the need for gorilla tape, to wrap a leaky hose or other car repairs. Think too, jumpers and tools.) Containers – Though a couple plastic quart bottles of water is great to have, having at least one stainless steel ‘thermos’ style bottle is even better. It doesn’t have to have the interior liner, the cheap, single walled ones work great. However, you don’t want plastic on the main section, as some of them have the spout area or handles made of plastic. You need to be able to put the container in or near the fire to boil water if your stranded for a time. They are also great to cook soups, tea, and other meals in, using the cap as the drinking cup as normal. Note, the plug that screws into the bottle can be plastic as you won’t have it screwed in during the time you have it in the fire.
Note; Plastic water bottles can be used for numerous things including boiling water in them. Main thing is to allow the heat from the fire to gradually heat the water. Do not put the plastic bottle in the flames or coals, but at a short distance above or beside the fire. Always keep the screw caps off any container while trying to boil water or stews. The bottles, even the stainless, will explode from the pressure with scalding fluids and bottle parts being projected everywhere.
7. Multi-tools – Again, it seems obvious, but consider a car break down. You now have wire cutters, pliers, screw drivers, knife and many other tools available, depending on the one you buy. Consider even taking hot bottles off the fire, making snares, cleaning game or even as protection. I bought a cheap one from a grocery chain for about $7.00 and it actually was not bad for that price. However, if you use one a lot and especially if your life depends on it; well you decide on how much one is worth.
8. Flashlight and batteries – Nothing can take the ‘scary’ out of the night like a flashlight! (Unless, my Grand kids are around and I shine it on my face!) However, when a car breaks down and you have to change a tire or fix a water hose in the dead of night. Well, a flashlight is great! But, did you know you can– start fires with the larger batteries, use the chrome light reflector as a solar fire starter, at night disorient someone coming at you with the light, use the larger ones as a club and even some of the smaller ones have a very sharp, wavy front edging as ‘protection’? There are other things a flashlights can be used for, how many can you think of?
9. Granola bars – Food is often a reason for panic after just a few hours in an emergency situation, however it’s immediate need is overstated. Most people can live for 3 weeks, or more, without food as long as they have water. With that in mind, why not have a few Granola bars tucked in there just for ‘comforts sake’. A food product is especially good to have if we are in a stressful situation, like an accident or get stranded. It is also a great energy booster if you have to say, walk miles to get home. Nut and berry bars are great to have for that extra nutrition and comfort. Unlike water, it doesn’t hurt to ration food out some if you have very far to go, but be cautious not ‘over exert’ at the start if you have a long way to go. Remember, try to save calories as much as possible in an emergency situation.
10. Bags – Large heavy duty garbage bags; They’re great for ground covering for working under the car, sitting on if the ground is wet or whatever. However, did you ever consider using them as a tent, poncho, sleeping bag, for gathering or for water collection, floatation and much more. The one gallon bags can be used for gathering articles or foods, carrying water, protecting phones and other things from water as well as floatation devices, mattress, pillows, etc. Now to stretch just a bit further, buy some of that cheap painters tarp plastic – 2 mil thick or better, about a 9’x12′. Now if you get to a store that carries those ‘foil’ emergency blankets that keep you warm, get one for a couple of dollars. Want to know what you can do with them? here is a video. Here is some good info. comparing tarps, plastic and tubes.
11. Nylon string – Needed for setting up tarps or coverings, repairs, snares and much more.
12. Compass and map – If you need to hike it home, things look a lot different walking through pastures and woods compared to driving roads. Under a disaster situation familiar things can become unrecognizable. Once I went through a town in Indiana after 3 tornadoes had ravaged it. All the familiar land marks were gone including houses, trees and businesses. It was now just rubble, dozed off to the sides for the roads. Not only was it eerie and confusing, but strangely enlightening as to the power of nature and the weaknesses of man.
13. Bandana and dust mask – Think Mount St. Helens blowing the ash, air pollution in Shanghai, a large explosion like 9/11 or even large forest fires. All good reasons to have some kind of air filters available. Both could also be used on a car’s air intake as a pre-filter for something like the volcanic ash. Bandana’s can be used for many other purposes too, like water strainers, slings for injuries and tourniquets. This will be one on the ‘multiple use’ pages.
14. Duct tape (gorilla) – Besides repairs on cars, tents and clothing there are dozens and dozens of uses for this product. Check later for our ‘multiple use’ page.
15. Jumper cables – Did you know you can not only start a car, but also a fire with these? Yes? Well – Did you know you could catch fish with them? — Ha! got ya! But seriously you really can! However, a longer wire works better. If you search you can find out how, or wait for future articles.
Need some more ideas here Ok, but remember you’re not going camping or moving to a different country, your packing a small bag for ’emergencies’ and to get home! here Remember, you are going to have to carry it all the way home!
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