I’m reading some stuff in the news about how those who were at least somewhat prepared for hurricane Sandy were clever for doing so, but does this really vindicate preppers or the movement? I personally think that if any credence was given to smart folks who stocked some food, water and a generator, it will be extremely short-lived. Most Americans will quickly get lulled back into their false sense of security with just a single giant, over-priced coffee from Starbucks. It’s just the nature of the beast unless we can use that little bit of credibility to wake people up without scaring the shit out of them.
So what’s helping us spend that credibility? The American Prepper Network is large enough now that it includes a wide gamut of examples of people who will both encourage the growth of the movement, and push people away from it. They’re the most prominent organization, and one I highly recommend anyone at all interested in ensuring the safety of your family and yourself in times of crisis. You don’t have to read too far back in my posts to recognize that I think the nuclear attack/zombie apocalypse end of the spectrum are freaks doing a disservice, but I don’t dismiss them entirely. Even a blind squirrel find a nut now and then, and these folks also have some a couple of good ideas in a vast ocean of really outlandish ones.
There are still plenty of people without power from hurricane Sandy, not an overly strong storm, but it just hit a susceptible area of the coast. FEMA and other organizations are doing what they can, but when you’re infrastructure is damaged, moving supplies and people becomes really tough and slow. So the way to avoid suffering as needlessly as some people are as a result of this is to have interim supplies on hand. Those will get you through until the cavalry arrives to set things right. If you own a home with a yard, you’ve got space to store it all. If you live in an apartment, you also have some space for supplies, you just have to be smarter about it.
A couple of observances from listening to interviews with people affected (I heard them by listening to DemocracyNow radio, the 4 major networks didn’t have anything remotely as valuable to say on Sandy):
Listen up, if you have a Kindle, you’re in for a treat, if you don’t have one of the app equivalent on your PC, MAC or mobile device, quit stalling and go get it! Why? It’s simple – free information. Amazon and authors make lots of book available for free every day for their Kindle platform. See more after the jump, and learn why it’s OK to have digital and some paper books post-SHTF.
What are “preppers”? Well, there are many definitions for this term but for this article I am going to discuss a growing group of people who simply believe that they need to become more self sufficient.
Self sufficiency is what many believe made this country great and some believe we have gotten too dependent on someone else to take care of us, namely the government.
Now, don’t get me wrong, preppers aren’t some nut case who is stocking up on guns and ammunition, they are simply people who have lost faith in our government. Not only do they doubt in the ability of the government to really take care of them, many of them don’t really believe that it is the responsibility of the government to take care of them.
So, what should you stock up on, what do you need to do to help make sure you and your family are prepared? Well, since no one knows what type of emergency you may face, natural disaster, terrorist attack, depression, etc. it makes sense to try and form a well rounded plan for preparedness.
Here are some ideas of the things that you can start working on:
1. Food. In the event of a natural disaster or even a terrorist attack, food may become a little scarce. You can start right now by buying a few extra cans of non perishable food items every time you go to the grocery store.
To make sure none of it goes bad, you can rotate it so you use up your older items and replace them with new. Add things that can be eaten cold or that don’t need much preparation.
Also, try to stock up on wood or charcoal or propane, etc. These will make it possible for you to cook.
And, when it comes to food and water, don’t forget about your pets. Make sure you have plenty of food for them too.
2. Water. You can start filling up 5 gallon jugs of water, or buy some extra bottled water every time you go shopping. Again, you can rotate it so that you use it before it gets too old and then replace it with new, fresh water.
3. Medicines. Having a well stocked first aid kit is just common sense. Things like pain relievers, bandages of various sizes, anti infection ointments, gloves, sanitizers, and a sling. This is a good basic kit. You can add other things to it as needed. Again, make sure you take note of the expiration dates on any products and rotate them out as needed.
Also, try to have at least one month of any prescription medications you may need to take.
4. Shelter. Investing in a tent and some tarps can not only provide some fun recreation with your family, if something ever happens it can keep you all safe and out of the elements too.
5. Stocking up on extra soaps, shampoo, deodorants, etc. can make whatever emergency you may face a little less unpleasant. Just like with food, water and medical supplies you can stock up a little at a time and rotate through your supplies so nothing is kept too long.
Of course, there are other things that can be helpful to have such as extra gasoline, some type of weapons for protection, and even some books or things to read.
None of this is to scare you, but preppers know that doing some simple things to make sure they can take care of themselves and their family if the need should ever arise is the best peace of mind they can have.
It’s 14F this morning as I write this post, and I have an old 3×5 index card in front of me from the first time I figured out what would go in my winter emergency car kit. It’s pretty beat up and has several revisions, and with good reason. No emergency kit is perfect, heck, no kit out there is perfect, but this one has been relied upon several times while living in the Colorado Rockies for over a decade. Weather up there is no joke and when you break down in such cold weather as this morning, in the middle of no where, you’re life is literally in your own hands. Many places still don’t even have cell phone coverage there!
So I’m going to provide you with my tried and tested PapaBravo’s Winter Emergency Car Kit. Please feel free to revise this for your situation and needs, that’s the great beauty about lists, they can be revised! After I list the items, I’ll talk about why I chose the items and why I revised the list.
The weather and road conditions which prompted this suplemental kit, are quick to change and kill people not prepared for them every year. Determined to not ever become such a stastitic, I researched kits in both books and online and came up with the original. The food and water are self-evident, if I get stuck in my car for a day or two, I want to have those basics. I can use the car to provide warmth, as long as I keep the tail pipe clear of snow. The thermal blanket goes toward me, and the wool blanket over that, if needed. You have to stay warm if you’re stuck. The warmers are for that as well, but I figured if I’d have to change a flat in near-zero temps, even with decent gloves and coat, I could risk cold damage because I’d be working with metal. I needed a way to provide some pretty quick, deep heat once back in the car.
The lightsticks are for signalling more than personal light, which the car or flashlight on my belt-line kit provide. The candles, mathes and lighter were another source of heat and light if needed. The first aid kit is COTS (complete, off the shelf) that I picked up at the local big box mart. It contains much of what you need for common minor injuries. If figured the radio could provide an information/entertainment source if the car battery was inoperable, due to an accident or something and the multi-purpose tool would help out if I needed one, although I carry a Leatherman Wave as part of my belt-line kit.
After needing to use this kit more than once over a ten year period and being lucky enough to survive those situations, which was never a great worry, thankfully, I’ve made some revisions over the years. The main change was that I originally planned for myself, but after getting married, had to update all my kits for the possibility that another person would be around. That made me realize that I had been pretty selfish to begin with because what if someone else had been in the damn car anyways?! Now I suggest that if it’s even a remote possibility that you’ll have passengers, kit up accordingly BEFORE needing it all because 5 passengers and preps for one means some much tougher times than needed to happen!
Some of the energy bars were swapped out for self-heating MRE’s because they were less shocking to the system. If you’re situation is bad, don’t make it worse by eating cardboard and getting demoralized. I also boosted the water content for consumption and MRE use although in a pinch, ice or snow could be used for the MRE. It’s very foolish to rely on snow and ice for your water consumption needs because it can actually cool your body too much too quickly when in an emergency situation and your body is already on edge. The hand warmers I’d originally used ended up being total crap, and was one of the occurrences that led to my personal pledge that I wasn’t ever again going to rely on kit that I hadn’t tested myself before hand. I’ve since swapped them out for a Zippo-type hand-warmer, which really heats the whole car. Just remember to ventilate the vehicle if using in that small space.
I’ve added some extras to the first aid kit; things likely to help out during winter-time accidents, and there is a third thermal blanket too. The candles got replaced with a LED flashlight which has a sort of traffic guide attachment, which also works great as a “candle”. the flashlight also stays lite much longer too. In one situation, where I actually had to help rescue a big tough guy foolishly drive his big SUV like a moron (speeding, wreckless lane changes and such on bad roads, you know the type!), after he’d flipped it and came to rest in the median. I pulled up in my little PT Cruiser and broke my basic multi-purpose tool getting him taken care of. It’s a good thing the Leatherman on my hip was there for back up! Now I have a tougher one in the kit to match the tough one on my hip.
The duct tape, bailing wire and rope are honestly items I haven’t needed to use, but have always seemed to help MacGuyver out in a pinch, and while I don’t foresee the need to turn my exhaust pipe into a flamethrower or whatever, I do see the practical nature to having some amount of these items on hand.
How about you, what’s in your winter car kit or do you even have one?
A couple of months ago, a friend asked me how much cooking fuel to store in case of a t-plus event. At the time, I was a bit busy with other projects, and told him I’d get back to him. That night, after eating a healthy, nutritious meal which came from a #10 can, I got to thinking about how one knows their supplies will last. more