Wednesday, April 30, 2014

5 Easy Ways to Start Prepping for Emergencies - Guest Post by Lee Flynn

5 Easy Ways to Start Prepping for Emergencies

It seems like you can’t go two days in a row without hearing about some terrifying natural disaster or emergency occurring somewhere in the world. From ice storms to wildfires; from hurricanes and tornados to earthquakes, pandemics, tidal waves, and blackouts—the truth is that there’s a lot that can go wrong for us on our deceptively peaceful blue marble. But with responsibilities associated with work and family, it can be difficult to scrounge up enough time and money to adequately prepare for all of the dangers this planet has to offer. Well, don’t fret; here are five simple and inexpensive ways you can get yourself and your loved ones ready to face down any disaster.

1. Start Storing Water

In an emergency, water is often both the most important and most difficult to acquire of all of the basic human needs. We tend to forget just how much we rely on our city’s water purification systems, right up until the moment we find ourselves having to drain drinking water from the back of the toilet. The truth is that clean, fresh water can be very difficult to come by. Thus, one of the most important things you can do is to start including as much water as you can in your emergency food storage. An easy way to do this is to purchase a gallon of water for your emergency supply every time you go shopping. This will only end up costing you an extra dollar or so every trip, and your water storage will build up very quickly. Also, it would be a good idea to invest in some non-electric water purifiers (such as the kind that operate with a pump), or to get some purifying drops/tablets as a back up (but remember: stored clean water is always a safer way to go).

2. Make a Grab-And-Go Box For All Your Important Documents

If you find that you have to evacuate your home, you’re not going to want to waste precious minutes running around the house gathering important documents. Instead, store all of the paperwork that you absolutely can’t do without in a small, portable, fire-proof box. Things such as birth certificates, social security cards, financial documents, insurance info, etc., should all be able to fit inside. Keep the box in an easy-to-remember spot. Make copies of these documents and keep them in a safe location away from your home, such as with a relative or in a safe-deposit box.

3. Consider The Poop Issue

It is entirely possible during an emergency that your toilet may become unusable. If this were to happen to your family, what would you do? If you have a big enough yard and don’t mind a little digging, you could always go that route, but you might end up regretting it once the emergency has passed and you’re left with a bunch of feces-filled sinkholes hiding under your lawn. The better alternative is to create (or purchase, if you prefer) a human-waste disposal kit. These usually consist of a 5 gallon metal bucket, a snap-on toilet seat, some heavy-duty trash bags, powdered chlorinated lime, borax, a spoon or ladle, and toilet paper.

4. Have a Way to Prepare Your Stored Food

Once you have a large enough food storage to get you and your family safely through the disaster, you’ll need a way to prepare it. Sure, you could live off of dried nuts and cold canned goods, but morale is bound to suffer if you can’t provide everyone with a nice warm meal. Camping stoves are relatively inexpensive, and can be used to whip up some steaming-hot whatever quickly. Alternatively, if you have enough wood and a fireplace/fire pit, you can make like the pioneers and use the flames for all of your cooking needs. In either case, just make sure that you’re careful when dealing with fire/fuel; it wouldn’t do to add to the emergency by burning your house down. You could also purchase or build your own solar oven and let the sun do all of the hard work for you.

5. Stock Up On First Aid Supplies

Many people forget about the first aid side of emergency preparedness. However, when it comes to disaster related situations, simple things like gauze, painkillers, and antiseptics can be literal life-savers in dire circumstances. Again, if you’d like you can purchase well-stocked emergency first aid kits, or you can assemble one more tailored to your family’s needs. Be sure to include any necessary medications that you might require if you’re unable to make it to the doctor/pharmacy during the crisis. This can be somewhat tricky, as expired medication may lose its effectiveness or even become dangerous, and emergency storage is generally supposed to be able to be kept for a long time without needing to be replaced. Speak with your doctor about the possibility of getting a larger prescription when you go in for a refill so that you can keep extra, non-expired medication in with your food storage. It may be a hassle, but at least you won’t have to worry about not having your medicine when you need it.

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