What Could Go Wrong?
Emergency Preparedness — isn’t that something from the 1950s, with bomb shelters and warnings of imminent disaster, or maybe a worry for the folks with all those faults out there in shaky California? We hardly ever think of earthquakes, and tornadoes spring up “somewhere else” but are soon forgotten by most. We live in a safe, stable neighborhood, after all. What could go wrong?
Oh, how many sad stories begin with that question, “What could go wrong?”
Things do go wrong. We’ll have to admit those tornadoes are getting more frequent, and they’re not just in Kansas anymore. Wind and hail, and even wintertime blizzards, can leave us in the dark for extended periods. Even breaking down on a remote mountain road is something to consider. Hey, how about a pandemic? Nah…
Well actually, although the restrictions we are dealing with right now don’t require a really hard survival posture, we have some basic considerations to think about, in the event of a short-term emergency situation. The list below is for preparedness at home, but you’ll find some of the ideas pertinent to when you’re on the road as well.
- Candles: 100 hour safe burning candles are available for $4.95 each on campingsurvival.com. It’s a good idea to have several on hand, with several ignition sources (lighters). We’re used to the sky-glow of the big city, and having street lights around, but in a serious emergency scenario it will be dark at night.
- Mirrors/emergency lights: a small mirror may be your most critical item if stranded or broken down. Harbor Freight stocks small lighting units (often free with any purchase) which provide a bright light with an AA battery and will blink or oscillate for use as a signal. You should have at least two backup fresh batteries, and dedicate these lights and batteries for emergency use only.
- Consider a whistle.
- Knife/utility tool: multi-functional “Leatherman” type combination tool can be very useful, along with a simple can opener.
- Portable radio: mid-sized battery operated radio with at least 2 sets of fresh batteries stored outside the radio. Unit used only for emergency. Replace batteries at least yearly.
- Water purification/charcoal tablets with quart sized dedicated bottle for mixing, and a sturdy metal pot.
- 200’ roll of duct tape.
- Firestarters: compressed bricks or sectioned fire logs for ignition are more reliable than kindling.
- Be certain your chimney is clear of buildups, nests, and any other obstructions.
- Space blanket/poncho: conserve body heat. Waterproof rain jacket.
- First aid kit (not merely bandages).
- Propane fuel fired heaters (It’s critical to vent them properly.)
- Good neighbor consideration. Check on your neighbors. Better safe than sorry.
A good survival supply of water and storable food should last at least a week, and all items should be stored several feet above floor level. Generators should be mobile (on wheels) and be matched to the power need. NEVER run one inside your home or garage, to provide proper venting.
The American Red Cross provides extensive guidance for recommended survival kits. Click here for info and recommendations.
These are ideas that can help us all stay safe, and be friendly, and continue to be good neighbors even in difficult times.