The media portrays the lives of preppers and survivalists on our home televisions with regularity. They usually portray them as being a little off. Some of this is no doubt due to the behavior of the individuals, while the remainder is due to clever editing by the producers. While a portion of the media pushes the average American to think that preppers and survivalists exist on society’s fringes, the government and other parts of the media encourage all Americans to prepare their homes for a catastrophe. This contradiction exists amidst poor economic times, high sales in the gun industry, and raised feelings of insecurity among the general population. I will to go out on a limb and say that preparing for a potential disaster is a good idea. A practical amount of emergency supplies can’t be bad thing.
The first step in preparing for any disaster is to perform a threat analysis. Make a list of the most likely catastrophes in your geographic area. Since I live in North Texas, I am not too worried about a volcano erupting in downtown Dallas. However, North Texas is vulnerable to frequent tornadoes, hail, gusty winds, floods, grass fires, and even hurricane remnants. We also have small but steady earthquakes in some areas. If we get a winter storm and the roads ice over, everything in Texas tends to shut down—including the electrical grid. This makes planning for a disaster in my area particularly difficult, since we must be prepared to bug-in for ice storms, or bug-out for wild fires.
At the bare minimum, residents in all parts of the country should have a 72-hour kit. It is not expensive to plan for a 72-hour long emergency and it may save your life. You may not be able to think of everything, but having the bare essentials can really help should the SHTF.
- Water – one gallon per person per day
- Food – ready to eat or requiring minimal water
- Manual can opener and other cooking supplies
- Plates, utensils and other feeding supplies
- First Aid kit & instructions
- A copy of important documents & phone numbers
- Warm clothes and rain gear for each family member
- Heavy work gloves
- Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper for water purification
- Personal hygiene items including toilet paper, feminine supplies, hand sanitizer, and soap
- Plastic sheeting, duct tape, and utility knife for covering broken windows
- Tools such as a crowbar, hammer and nails, staple gun, adjustable wrench and bungee cords.
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Large heavy-duty plastic bags and a plastic bucket for waste and sanitation
- Any special-needs items for children, seniors, or people with disabilities. Don’t forget water and supplies for your pets.
A component of your disaster kit is your Go-bag. Put the following items together in a backpack or another easy to carry container in case you must evacuate quickly. Prepare one go-bag for each family member and make sure each has an I.D. tag. You may not be at home when an emergency strikes so keep some additional supplies in your car and at work, considering what you would need for your immediate safety. Here are some ideas:
- Battery operated radio
- Dust mask
- Emergency cash in small denominations and quarters for phone calls
- Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
- Local map
- Some water and food
- Permanent marker, paper, and tape
- Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
- List of emergency point-of-contact phone numbers
- List of allergies to any drugs or food
- Copy of health insurance and identification cards
- Extra prescription eye glasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
- Prescription medications and first aid supplies
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Extra keys to your house and vehicle
- Any special-needs items for children, seniors, or people with disabilities. Don’t forget to make a Go-bag for your pets!
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