This post was guest-written by Team Blue (Kyrie-Inn Blue with help from Tao Blue, Service Dog, Canine Good Citizen; and Mijo, Service Dog In Training).
Disabled folks are often too busy trying to survive day to day that they neglect tackling the emergency preparedness necessities that may just save their lives, their health, their property, their sanity, and their independent living status. Where do you store your important documents? How can someone track you in a SHTF (“sh*t hits the fan”) situation? Do you have a plan in place for solid shelter if you face a storm? If so, what do you need to have on hand to create viability? Two weeks without power has faced Team Blue on multiple occasions. Let us help you avoid omissions in your checklists!!
Today’s topic: what one should stock in their residence for various emergency situations.
We all need to seriously evaluate our personal emergency preparedness on at least a quarterly basis, rather than wait until the weatherman predicts a “superstorm.” Emergencies of all kinds happen on a daily basis, even those that are un-weather- related, like fires, certain types of evacuations, identity theft, etc. Can you efficiently respond to rather than freeze in a crisis? Team Blue knows it’s easier said than done… unless you have taken the time to prepare, equip, and practice.
EMERGENCY SUPPLIES for your residence
Most survival and government emergency preparedness websites advocate planning for a three-day to two-week immediate crisis. Most everything one needs is available at the local dollar store, WalMart, and other discount retailers. If you wants to step up a level, other items like weather band crank radios are available for purchase at reasonable prices at Amazon.com and similar websites.
Put aside $10 per month to begin equipping yourself at least minimally for SHTF (“sh*t hits the fan”) situations. If you can save more, that works… but we understand completely about limited finances, which is why we are attempting to keep the basics on the cheap!
Items available immediately and locally:
- Flashlights: At least one should be stored in every room of the house. Check the batteries monthly and change as needed.
- Batteries: Purchase multiple packages for your flashlight sizes, as many in all sizes as you can stock. Tip: they last much longer when stored in the freezer!
- Water: Often one finds oneself in a “dry” situation during SHTF. Make sure you ask your landlord (if you rent) exactly what utilities you will lose if the power goes out. For example: a residence in which we formerly lived still had water when we had no power. We had town water. However, we had no lights or heat or anything else electricity-driven. In another former residence, we had no water or lights, but we had heat, as we had a propane heating source. It is very important anytime you move to a new residence to ask those questions, so you can fill in your prep holes.
- Back to water (excuse the digression). We have at least two five-gallon containers from grocery or discount stores at all times. If we know crisis is brewing, we fill the clean bathtub with water, along with whatever bigger pots and buckets we own. Water is crucial to bucket flush a toilet if you are waterless in SHTF. You need it for drinking, washing yourself and your dishes, and cooking or food prep. Plan on using a minimum of two to three gallons per day for personal use. A pet needs its own gallon per day to ensure adequate hydration. Toilet flushing is not included in that assessment.
Plan and shop accordingly.
- Water: Every time you shop, pick up a gallon or more of water. Date them and rotate them; their plastic containers will begin to degrade at a year old. If you live within range of a non-potable water source, like a lake (we do), then consider purchasing a Life Straw or other personal filtration system, or having someone haul you a few buckets for toilet flushing. Tip: Life Straws also work fabulously when out in the woods, hiking or camping, and oops!! Oh dear. You ran out of water.
- Buckets: Are useful for holding bucket flush water or melting snow (yet another good free source of water for the toilet issue!), easily found at the local discount store. Stack them when not in use for easy storage, or, better yet, keep your emergency supplies in the buckets, so you will not waste time trying to locate bits and pieces when you need something immediately in SHTF.
- Candles: Light is good, and candles often provide a cheaper resource than constantly using the flashlights and batteries. But remember: Never leave a candle unattended for any reason!!
- Box of kitchen matches or several packs of lighters for lighting the candles.
- Baby wipes and waterless shampoo for personal hygiene while reducing water consumption.
- Plastic eating utensils, paper or hard cardboard plates and bowls, and paper towels will reduce the need for dishwashing.
- Food, glorious food… this is really fun.
- First rule of thumb: store what you eat and eat what you store. Date everything you purchase and rotate it. It is possible to eat a reasonable diet in a crisis. Canned food is the obvious and cheapest choice. Take $5 or $10 of your food budget every week (or however often you shop) and use that specifically to begin stocking.
- Ideas for canned goods: vegetables; fruit; canned or dried meats and fish; soup; pasta (like ravioli, mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs).
- Crisis is always weathered well with treats available. What do you like that you can eat with no preparation? We try to stock pop tarts, dark chocolate, energy bars, etc. Other ideas include: fruit and granola bars; dried fruit; cereal that can be eaten out of hand like Cheerios; different varieties of whole grain crackers. Make sure you have something nice to help you through!
- Plan for three meals a day plus snacks for two whole weeks. Make it a game, but make as many healthy choices as possible in the process of stocking! CAUTION: If you choose to purchase freeze dried foods from Amazon or survival-type sites, check to make sure you and your food allergies (points to self) can play nice with all the ingredients. Also remember those foods will require water and a cooking source (Sterno stoves work well as an inexpensive solution, as do homemade mini-rocket stoves).
- Manual can opener for opening your cans.
- Fruit and vegetable juices.
- Ginger ale in case one finds they contracted a bit of a stomach bug.
- Drink mixes: We usually buy iced tea in single serve sticks.
- Individual bottled water.
- Alternate power sources for charging your electronics: if you have a vehicle, buy 12-volt adapters for your electronics. Usually one can charge a phone in about 20 minutes or so of running the engine. There are many low-cost varieties of solar chargers on Amazon.com to fit your models and the energy is free! There is no reason for you to go without charged electronics.
- Make sure your vehicle always has a full gas tank in case you need to use it as an alternate power source.
- Books and magazines, art projects, and puzzles (or any hobbies you have that do not require electricity) will keep boredom at bay.
- Crank-powered radios and flashlights come in very handy, again readily available at Amazon.com at a reasonable cost. If you can find one to fit your budget, get one with a NOAA weather band, so you can keep up with the latest reports.
- Let’s not forget toilet paper!
- If you have warning of SHTF, in the way of storms or other situations, make sure you take time if you have it to ensure you have some clean clothes and clean what you can of your residence. It is much easier to weather a crisis in a clean environment.
These are the most basic necessities for sheltering in place. Please feel free to inquire for more ideas on sheltering in place in the comment section below. We at Team Blue have weathered every situation without going to a shelter thus far, sometimes without power for weeks at a time, and are more than happy to share more resources and experiences with all of the independent livers, creating custom plans with them to suit their situation.
This is Part 2 in a 3-part emergency preparedness series. Read Part 1 here. Look out for Part 3 tomorrow on creating a Bug Out Bag!