Author Topic: Basic Emergency Preparedness  (Read 2760 times)

HappierAtHome

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Basic Emergency Preparedness
« on: September 05, 2017, 07:32:39 PM »
It's well and truly time for me to get my act together and spend a little energy and money on some basic measures in case of local, short term emergencies.*

Who else needs to get moving on having a small supply of drinking water, food, first aid supplies, etc on hand?

*So, not the zombie apocalypse, though that is also a fun thing to talk about.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2017, 07:37:30 PM »
One of my first actions will be to acquire some water storage containers (e.g. these) and create a stash of clean drinking water.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2017, 08:28:17 PM »
I've been re-upping my kit as well. The wild fires near me have me spooked. Badassity, to me, includes being able to keep yourself safe in an emergency and not be a burden. So a basic kit is a must in my eyes =)

(Cost savings- new gauze and bleed stopper I wanted for med kits I'm putting on my next subscribe and save. 15% off then 5% cash back. Holla).
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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2017, 12:46:57 AM »
I've been re-upping my kit as well. The wild fires near me have me spooked. Badassity, to me, includes being able to keep yourself safe in an emergency and not be a burden. So a basic kit is a must in my eyes =)

(Cost savings- new gauze and bleed stopper I wanted for med kits I'm putting on my next subscribe and save. 15% off then 5% cash back. Holla).

Coincidentally, I was reading this this morning: http://thesweethome.com/reviews/emergency-preparedness/

I have been filling 1.25L mineral water bottles and will just keep a dozen in the garage.

We had fires here last year and I got spooked -- my emergency plan was to get myself and the dog down to the beach, but that didn't seem so brilliant when surrounded by bush with the flames only half a suburb away! New plan is to get out early.
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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2017, 02:52:31 AM »
PTF

Very timely post! I was talking to DH about this just before bed :)

nereo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2017, 05:31:29 AM »
PTF.

After moving from an area prone to wildfires we've (stupidly) allowed ourselves to fall out of preparedness. 
We need to better organize things for a rapid emergency evacuation as well as back-up and protect things from an acute catastrophy (e.g. building fire).
For hte former we need to brush up on what we need to take in an emergency and keep things in a centralized location.  For the latter we ought to have a fireproof safe for our passports & other documents, some more cash on hand and off-site digitial backups of our 'digital lives".

I feel pretty confident we are reasonably prepared to 'shelter in place' given our food storage and backpacking hobbies (we've no shortage of pantry items, portable/gas stoves, light sources (headlamps, lanterns, candles plus batteries), water filtration & storage etc.)

what am I missing?
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Jmoody10

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2017, 05:57:23 AM »
Northwest edible just started a series on preparedness that I found interesting: http://www.nwedible.com/preparedness-101-1-what-is-preparedness/

nereo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2017, 06:04:36 AM »
Northwest edible just started a series on preparedness that I found interesting: http://www.nwedible.com/preparedness-101-1-what-is-preparedness/

Thanks for sharing.  I loved this bit of humor from Erika:
Quote
Holy leaping overreaction, people. You know in a real emergency, we’re gonna eat the needlessly hysterical ones first, right? Do try to keep it together.
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PC2K

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2017, 06:16:02 AM »
Basic Emergency Preparedness should be done by everybody. We are highly dependent on the systems around is; making sure you can at least get by a few days, when it fails makes just plain sense.

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #9 on: September 06, 2017, 06:24:35 AM »
I've been re-upping my kit as well. The wild fires near me have me spooked. Badassity, to me, includes being able to keep yourself safe in an emergency and not be a burden. So a basic kit is a must in my eyes =)

(Cost savings- new gauze and bleed stopper I wanted for med kits I'm putting on my next subscribe and save. 15% off then 5% cash back. Holla).

Coincidentally, I was reading this this morning: http://thesweethome.com/reviews/emergency-preparedness/

I have been filling 1.25L mineral water bottles and will just keep a dozen in the garage.

We had fires here last year and I got spooked -- my emergency plan was to get myself and the dog down to the beach, but that didn't seem so brilliant when surrounded by bush with the flames only half a suburb away! New plan is to get out early.

Don;t really agree with the recommendations on the website:
- The best bottle for preparedness is a hydroflask?
- Ration bars taste like sawdust? More like short bread, not something you want to eat day after day, but not too bad.
- Grill... ok, that seems a bit big and inefficient. Would recommend if you already had it, would not recommend buying one for preparedness.
- Candles, would not recommend them due to fire hazard.
- Fire striker tool; only for people who know how to use them.
- Fire Extinguisher they recommend is powder, which is very effective, but also makes a huge mess and destroys pretty much all electronics near it (and laxative...)

HappierAtHome

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2017, 06:28:39 AM »
Today we started stocking up on food with a long shelf life that we'll definitely eat anyway. There'll need to be a bit of inventory management to ensure stock rotation, but it means we won't be wasting $$ on food that won't be eaten. If there is an emergency we'll get bored of eating baked beans, but I can live with that.

ooeei

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2017, 06:55:33 AM »
I've lived in Houston for 3 years, and after the flood the year I moved here I started a small survival kit for me, my girlfriend, and our dog. Here are my tips based on what has/hasn't worked. Be aware I haven't had to actually use the supplies, but have had to move them around a bit and have seen what disappears from stores quickly.

First, don't get a giant 25L water jug you have to fill, even though it looks cool. Filling your own water bottle is a recipe for algae and stuff in it if you keep it long term, and it'll be a bitch to move if you have to evacuate (and you will want to take water if you evacuate). Every L of water weighs 1kg (2.2 lbs for us Americans). That doesn't seem like a whole lot if it's on a weightlifting bar, but in a jug of water it's certainly not convenient. I buy the 6 pack of 1 gallon (3.8L) bottles at Costco for something like $4. You can keep them in the 6 pack for quicker movement but heavier weight, or break them up if you need to. They're also shelf stable so you don't have to worry about algae or anything. I also have at least one large package of single serve bottles for convenience. 1 gallon per person per day is the rule of thumb, I have enough for about a week (a bit less if we give our roommates some) at that rate. Also, don't get the milk jug looking bottles, they break over time. I've had good luck with this style: https://goo.gl/images/wZvhwh

Granola bars and easy to eat things are good, but I also have some ramen and a DIY alcohol camping stove in case our home gas goes out and we want a hot meal. Freeze dried veggies are available at some supermarkets, and pair well with packaged ramen to add some substance. In reality, you probably won't need much food as whatever you already have in your fridge/pantry should hold you over for at least a week. If you want to be extra safe get a few MREs or camping meals, they last basically forever and some taste pretty good. We have enough random canned food and stuff in the deep freezer that I don't bother.

For first aid, Benadryl is a must to help with possible allergies. Some of each type of painkiller like aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen is good in case you or someone you may be stuck with needs a specific one. Triple antibiotic is also good.  I also like having burn gel (usually has near prescription amounts of pain reliever in it). Anti diarrheal meds and some fiber are both helpful as well, the fiber especially if you're eating a bunch of beef jerky and MREs for your diet. Be aware of expiration dates on the medicines. Don't buy a huge first aid kit that you don't know how to use with sutures and all sorts of crazy stuff. Obviously if you or a loved one have any prescription requirements, try and keep about a month's supply on hand at any given time.

An external phone battery is a good investment as well, you don't want to be like some friends of mine and have to go start up your car and burn gas to charge a couple cell phones.  A radio isn't a bad idea either (although I don't actually have one). Lots of batteries and a few good flashlights are a must, although a cell phone is a decent backup. I have a camping headlamp that uses AA batteries and have probably 10 at any given time. A generator is expensive, but may be worth it depending on where you are. I hear good things about Hondas.

Another tip is keep your gas topped up in your car. If you're lazy about it like me, just go get gas any time there's a remote possibility of a disaster coming. Hurricane that is heading in your general direction? Time to fill up. Don't rely on gas stations or grocery stores being useful before/during/after the disaster.

If you're doomsday prepping for a multi month ordeal, obviously this advice doesn't apply all that much. For most "regular" disasters you'll be just fine with some extra water and a bit of food. If you live out in the middle of nowhere, prepare for a longer stay. Also knowing common evacuation routes/areas is a pretty big deal. Don't be afraid to leave early.

edit: Just started reading the sweethome article. Be aware that shelf life for bottled water is for taste/odor, not safety. It will keep indefinitely. I'd trust commercially bottled water far more than an opaque jug I filled myself. Buying it at a big box store is very cost efficient. Their 7 gallon container costs $15 on Amazon, I bought 6 gallons at Costco for <$5 (I think it was around $3 actually). Their 55 gallon drum costs over $2/gallon, again very expensive and a pain IMO, although you may get more prepper cred for it.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 07:08:34 AM by ooeei »

mre

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #12 on: September 06, 2017, 07:21:52 AM »
PTF.

After moving from an area prone to wildfires we've (stupidly) allowed ourselves to fall out of preparedness. 
We need to better organize things for a rapid emergency evacuation as well as back-up and protect things from an acute catastrophy (e.g. building fire).
For hte former we need to brush up on what we need to take in an emergency and keep things in a centralized location.  For the latter we ought to have a fireproof safe for our passports & other documents, some more cash on hand and off-site digitial backups of our 'digital lives".

I feel pretty confident we are reasonably prepared to 'shelter in place' given our food storage and backpacking hobbies (we've no shortage of pantry items, portable/gas stoves, light sources (headlamps, lanterns, candles plus batteries), water filtration & storage etc.)

what am I missing?

Have you prepared your home and yard to be resistant to an encroaching fire? 

Clear at least 30ft between a structure and trees, woods, dry grass, etc.  Remove flammable materials from around the outside of the house (piles of wood, plastic lawn furniture, picnic tables, etc.).  Have either a nice green, irrigated lawn around your house or something not flammable, like a stone patio or rock garden.  I would also have lawn sprinklers on hand to set up around your house, and on your roof if you have a flammable roofing material, especially if you plan to "shelter in place".  If maintaining water in a power outage requires a generator, I would have one of those too.

Its fairly easy stuff, but a lot of people don't think about it until they can smell smoke.


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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2017, 07:37:03 AM »
One of my first actions will be to acquire some water storage containers (e.g. these) and create a stash of clean drinking water.

You already have a stash of clean drinking water if you've got toilets in your home.  The back of each toilet contains potable drinking water that is kept fresh via operation of the toilet.  Most people keep bottles to hold drinking water in their home already, and it just takes seconds to lift the top off the tank and fill.

nereo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #14 on: September 06, 2017, 07:41:51 AM »
PTF.

After moving from an area prone to wildfires we've (stupidly) allowed ourselves to fall out of preparedness. 
We need to better organize things for a rapid emergency evacuation as well as back-up and protect things from an acute catastrophy (e.g. building fire).
For hte former we need to brush up on what we need to take in an emergency and keep things in a centralized location.  For the latter we ought to have a fireproof safe for our passports & other documents, some more cash on hand and off-site digitial backups of our 'digital lives".

I feel pretty confident we are reasonably prepared to 'shelter in place' given our food storage and backpacking hobbies (we've no shortage of pantry items, portable/gas stoves, light sources (headlamps, lanterns, candles plus batteries), water filtration & storage etc.)

what am I missing?

Have you prepared your home and yard to be resistant to an encroaching fire? 

Clear at least 30ft between a structure and trees, woods, dry grass, etc.  Remove flammable materials from around the outside of the house (piles of wood, plastic lawn furniture, picnic tables, etc.).  Have either a nice green, irrigated lawn around your house or something not flammable, like a stone patio or rock garden.  I would also have lawn sprinklers on hand to set up around your house, and on your roof if you have a flammable roofing material, especially if you plan to "shelter in place".  If maintaining water in a power outage requires a generator, I would have one of those too.

Its fairly easy stuff, but a lot of people don't think about it until they can smell smoke.

Good advice for those in fire-country, but not applicable to us, as we have no yard and currently live in an urban environment.  No well either, though I grew up with one (my parents, who still live there, have a generator).
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ooeei

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2017, 07:46:33 AM »
One of my first actions will be to acquire some water storage containers (e.g. these) and create a stash of clean drinking water.

You already have a stash of clean drinking water if you've got toilets in your home.  The back of each toilet contains potable drinking water that is kept fresh via operation of the toilet.  Most people keep bottles to hold drinking water in their home already, and it just takes seconds to lift the top off the tank and fill.

That works if you plan not to use the toilet. I'd rather just spend $20 on enough bottled water for 4 people for a week.

Slightly related tip, fill up your bathtub if you have reason to think the water may be cut off. You could drink it if you had to, but it's better for washing hands and filling up the back of toilets (assuming the drainage system is still working).

nereo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2017, 08:09:00 AM »
One of my first actions will be to acquire some water storage containers (e.g. these) and create a stash of clean drinking water.

You already have a stash of clean drinking water if you've got toilets in your home.  The back of each toilet contains potable drinking water that is kept fresh via operation of the toilet.  Most people keep bottles to hold drinking water in their home already, and it just takes seconds to lift the top off the tank and fill.

That works if you plan not to use the toilet. I'd rather just spend $20 on enough bottled water for 4 people for a week.

Slightly related tip, fill up your bathtub if you have reason to think the water may be cut off. You could drink it if you had to, but it's better for washing hands and filling up the back of toilets (assuming the drainage system is still working).

Another, more substantial source of clean drinking water is your hot water heater.  Shut the breaker off (even if the power out), open the valve and you can have 40-60 gallons of treated water to drink and refill bottles with. 
If you haven't drained it in a while you might get a lot of silt, so i) drain it annually and ii) run it through a makeshift filter in a true emergency (cheese-cloth, sterilized sand in a 2l soda bottle, or just let it settle out etc).... or not.  the silt won't hurt you.

The only times this won't work is if the water pipes themselves become contaminated (e.g. salt water intrusion into wells or the city water supply) and it gets into your water tank or if you have a 'tankless' water heater.  To prevent this, shut off and turn off your water heater before a major storm as part of your emergency preparedness strategy.

*if you are on a well and/or have a water softener/hardener this is another large source of potable water in an emergency.
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Moonwaves

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2017, 08:18:43 AM »
Since this popped up in my email today, I thought maybe it might be useful for this thread.

50 Last Minute Ways to Prepare for an Emergency

No connection to the website, by the way, I just came across it years ago when looking at solutions for storing large quantities of cans or something like that and ended up signing up for their babysteps to preparedness manual (and dutifully filed all the emails and did none of it!) and from there started receiving their occasional newsletters.

Oh, meant to say that one thing I thought specially worth mentioning from that list is taking photos of everything beforehand, to facilitate insurance claims afterwards.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 09:10:45 AM by Moonwaves »

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2017, 08:24:53 AM »
Thanks for this thread, Happier!

To add:

1. Sandbag to block your toilet's drain. When we were flooded, this was a primary recommendation that most of us didn't know about. You put the sandbag right in the toilet, to block its hole. This way, if the sewer backs up, shit doesn't get added to your house's flood water.

2. Walking pole/stick. In a flood, you don't know where the holes, uncovered storm grates, etc, are. Poke the step in front of you, then proceed.

3. Identify at least four homes you can move to. One right out of the larger area; go there if you can. Three within a short walk. When we flooded, we were in a small, short, single-storey unit. We identified four nearby homes with a second-storey and room and friendliness enough to receive us if needed.

4. Inflatable or static floatation devices. In Houston, I liked when I saw two kids with life jackets on! People floated pet carriers on kick boards, old people kept themselves safe in inflatable tubes.

5. Battery-operated inflator for #4. I got one for $20. Compact.

6. Back-up batteries. (I generally use rechargeable in normal life. I wouldn't count on being able to recharge during an emergency.)
« Last Edit: September 06, 2017, 08:37:25 AM by jooniFLORisploo »

trollwithamustache

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2017, 08:33:08 AM »
So, how much do you guys Costco? Without planning for a zompocalypse, our standard larder seems to always have a week or more to go in it when we re-supply at the biggest box store in boxstoreland.

Seriously, I super recommend the week or so of canned/long term food and some bottled water. It just seems like we area always there.

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #20 on: September 06, 2017, 08:33:49 AM »
2. Walking pole/stick. In a flood, you don't know where the holes, uncovered storm grates, etc, are. Poke the step in front of you, then proceed.

Interesting - never gave this much tohught but it makes a lot of sense.

I'll add - prepare for more than one type of emergency.  People are focusing on flooding right now because of Harvey and Irma, but other dangers exist (e.g. fires, ice storms, blizzards, tornadoes, earth-quakes, civil unrest, ...)  Some happen with little warning while others can give you hours to days to prepare. You might need to shelter-in-place under some circumstances or evacuate quickly in others.  A disaster that doesn't impact your home directly might disrupt access and utility service for days or even weeks.
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ooeei

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #21 on: September 06, 2017, 08:47:06 AM »
So, how much do you guys Costco? Without planning for a zompocalypse, our standard larder seems to always have a week or more to go in it when we re-supply at the biggest box store in boxstoreland.

Seriously, I super recommend the week or so of canned/long term food and some bottled water. It just seems like we area always there.

We always have enough food on hand just from normal living, although more of it requires cooking than I'd like. In Houston flooding and occasionally tornados are the real danger, so I'm fine relying on a camp stove or grill if need be. We have enough no cooking needed food for probably 3-4 days at a given moment.

We never drink bottled water, but that is one thing I buy specifically for these sorts of situations. Everywhere was sold out 1-2 days before Harvey was scheduled to hit. I don't want to be like my roommate waiting at Sam's club for an hour to buy some overpriced Evian in individual 1L bottles. It's even more dangerous when people start freaking out and fighting over it.

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2017, 08:59:09 AM »
Also: minimalism and scanning :)

We had already minimized our possessions when our place flooded, so literally everything fit on one high shelf, in the high kitchen cupboards, and perched on our tiny table. That wouldn't have done much if the water came in enough to push the table and enter the cupboards, but it was fabulous for:
*water short of that point;
*having our most critical stuff ready for transport;
*having very little clean-up to do if the water did get bigger;
*not cleaning up stuff we didn't really want anyway;
*being able to quickly move our favourite stuff to those safe positions.

All but 20 of my documents are now scanned -cards and letters, tax stuff, rental agreement, health records, etc. I've kept many of the originals, because I like them (especially cards and letters), but if things got swept or burned away, I would still have the precious or helpful words. No need to go through more emotional angst or devastation than any crisis already brings!

Displacement, recovery work, clean-up, etc, can all take a huge toll for many, many, many months. I try to keep that period as light as possible.

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2017, 09:07:56 AM »

All but 20 of my documents are now scanned -cards and letters, tax stuff, rental agreement, health records, etc. I've kept many of the originals, because I like them (especially cards and letters), but if things got swept or burned away, I would still have the precious or helpful words. No need to go through more emotional angst or devastation than any crisis already brings!


A very good idea to have digital copies of important documents and memories (photos, videos). Just make sure that it's stored in more than one location.  It won't do you much good to have things backed up on an external hard drive that sits next to your computer if your whole house catches on fire.  FWIW I have two external hard drives (one at work, one at home) and have grudgingly moved certain files into 'the cloud,' though I worry about security and won't upload most financial documents there. 

'm considering also backing up files onto USB thumb drives and storing those with my parents.  That should help should we wind up in a city-wide disaster a-la Houston/Harvey.  Pathetic as it might sound, our laptops would be among the first things we'd grab in an evacuation.
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jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2017, 09:34:02 AM »
Yeah, I have different items stored in various places, depending on their use (sentimental, business, personal, housing, etc). Mostly different degrees of the cloud (from DropBox through various others to CrashPlan). I had been swapping out an external storage device to a safe deposit box, but let that go recently in favour of my new system.

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2017, 09:43:09 AM »
I live in my bug-out vehicle, a Class A motor home.  In AZ they have water stations that fill your jugs for $.25/gal and I have around 4 gal at any given time between my gallon jugs and bottled water.  I keep the gas tank on the RV at least half full, and try to keep the fresh water tank half full as well.  If I need to leave the RV, it is purse (ID and credit cards to handle the rest of the emergency), cat, computer, prescriptions in that order.  The cat carrier is near the door.  I have off-site storage of digitized documents on usb hard drives in my storage unit.

I do need to go through things and organize a bit more.  However, when we were on pre-evacuation earlier this summer due to the Highline fire, Mom attended a talk at her senior housing complex on how to evacuate.  She looked at me and said she would head for my RV as her plan.  At the time I was living a mile or so away.  She has taken the entire thing to heart, though, and has a to-go bag packed.  When the news showed folks held up for 9 hours on I17, I forget why, she started thinking about toilet issues, so we now have large coffee cans (with snug lids) in the cars to use if we are stranded in traffic for too long.  She always heads out with a small cooler with water as well.  We do live in a desert and she is 86yo, so preparation is a good thing.
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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #26 on: September 06, 2017, 10:22:20 AM »
We're working on emergency prep supplies. I'm mainly focused on utility outages (I remember the big blackout) and extreme winter weather. We're mostly focused on shelter-in-place emergencies, but we are starting to work on evacuation bags as well.

Residential fire and tornado are the more likely scenarios, which are typically acute and don't affect quite the same area that hurricanes and earthquakes do. Help should be available within a reasonably short amount of time. Even with the EF5 in Missouri a few years ago, there was assistance available relatively quickly.

I picked up a battery with integrated solar charging and an emergency radio with solar/battery/crank power. Slowly building up stocks of canned and nonperishable foods. Bought a bunch of water in gallon jugs (it was like $0.90/ea).

The one thing I'm undecided on is heat and cooking. My number one concern is a power-out winter storm. I'm looking at propane or kerosene heaters that we could set up on our brick fireplace, they all have safety features, but fire is still a concern. We're having the fireplace cleaned/inspected, but I'm less enthusiastic about keeping sufficient wood on hand versus a tank (or several) of fuel for a heater. Also considering camp stoves, but again, fire. We could conceivably use our private courtyard (buying a grill might make sense) for cooking even in winter, but I'd be a little worried about the amount of cold air we let in coming and going. I'm still working on that one.

Considering keeping some extra gas for the car on hand, but it would need to be rotated through semi-regularly. I couldn't realistically keep more than a couple gallons on hand.
The first step is acknowledging you have a problem, right?

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nereo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #27 on: September 06, 2017, 11:03:56 AM »
The one thing I'm undecided on is heat and cooking. My number one concern is a power-out winter storm. I'm looking at propane or kerosene heaters that we could set up on our brick fireplace, they all have safety features, but fire is still a concern. We're having the fireplace cleaned/inspected, but I'm less enthusiastic about keeping sufficient wood on hand versus a tank (or several) of fuel for a heater. Also considering camp stoves, but again, fire. We could conceivably use our private courtyard (buying a grill might make sense) for cooking even in winter, but I'd be a little worried about the amount of cold air we let in coming and going. I'm still working on that one.

Considering keeping some extra gas for the car on hand, but it would need to be rotated through semi-regularly. I couldn't realistically keep more than a couple gallons on hand.

Here's what we do/have.  We've got a propane grill with a 20lb tank (plus a spare, so always one that's full) we use pretty regularly. That can serve as our primary way of cooking things should we have an extended power outage.  For indoor cooking, we've used a camping stove with butane/propane cylinders.  There's always warnings against using in "enclosed spaces" but its functionally the same as having a gas stove in your home.  They also make an adapter for my camping stove allowing it to attach to the larger 20lb propane tanks. Because we do a lot of backpacking and camping we already have a nice two-burner (for car camping) as well as a jetBoil. Canisters are about $6 and last for several intensive cooking sessions. The canisters last indefinitely on a shelf, so you can buy a few and just leave them there basically forever.

Our biggest concern is heating during an extended power-outage during a very cold snap (like an ice storm). I'm considering getting a kerosene space heater, but I'm not 100% comfortable having them indoors.  Alternatively, we have a small portable generator from another project - it could power a single space heater continously, which should be enough in our small apartment to keep things livable; it would feel cold but bearable.  There's the problem of how to run the extension cord (or tie it into our breaker) though...
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Michael in ABQ

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2017, 12:49:50 PM »
No real threat of natural disasters where we live. No floods, hurricanes, tornados, forest fires, blizzards, etc. The only reasonable threat is power outage or some other loss of utilities. I have a couple dozen MREs that I've saved over the years after not eating them during a National Guard drill. We filled a bunch of old fruit juice bottle with water and keep those out in the garage as well. Probably about 20 gallons worth. Those came in handy when we had to turn off our water for a couple of days for some plumbing work. We also keep a decently stocked pantry, though that would probably only last a few days if we were totally cut off. We usually make two big grocery trips each month and towards the end of that two weeks we start running low. We have a good sized propane grill with a second tank always kept full that could be used for cooking. I have some old camping gear/old Army gear but most of it wouldn't be a whole lot of help.

nereo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #29 on: September 06, 2017, 12:58:40 PM »
   
Quote
No real threat of natural disasters where we live. No floods, hurricanes, tornados, forest fires, blizzards, etc.


Well that's pretty lucky.  Where do you live, may I ask?
Local topography certainly factors into it of course

there's a few places I've found that show large-scale risks
http://alertsystemsgroup.com/earthquake-early-warning/informative-maps
http://money.cnn.com/interactive/pf/real-estate/natural-disaster-risk-map/index.html
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NoStacheOhio

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #30 on: September 06, 2017, 01:16:52 PM »
   
Quote
No real threat of natural disasters where we live. No floods, hurricanes, tornados, forest fires, blizzards, etc.


Well that's pretty lucky.  Where do you live, may I ask?
Local topography certainly factors into it of course

there's a few places I've found that show large-scale risks
http://alertsystemsgroup.com/earthquake-early-warning/informative-maps
http://money.cnn.com/interactive/pf/real-estate/natural-disaster-risk-map/index.html

ABQ = Albuquerque

Tornadoes can happen anywhere
The first step is acknowledging you have a problem, right?

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NoStacheOhio

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #31 on: September 06, 2017, 01:21:02 PM »
The one thing I'm undecided on is heat and cooking. My number one concern is a power-out winter storm. I'm looking at propane or kerosene heaters that we could set up on our brick fireplace, they all have safety features, but fire is still a concern. We're having the fireplace cleaned/inspected, but I'm less enthusiastic about keeping sufficient wood on hand versus a tank (or several) of fuel for a heater. Also considering camp stoves, but again, fire. We could conceivably use our private courtyard (buying a grill might make sense) for cooking even in winter, but I'd be a little worried about the amount of cold air we let in coming and going. I'm still working on that one.

Considering keeping some extra gas for the car on hand, but it would need to be rotated through semi-regularly. I couldn't realistically keep more than a couple gallons on hand.

Here's what we do/have.  We've got a propane grill with a 20lb tank (plus a spare, so always one that's full) we use pretty regularly. That can serve as our primary way of cooking things should we have an extended power outage.  For indoor cooking, we've used a camping stove with butane/propane cylinders.  There's always warnings against using in "enclosed spaces" but its functionally the same as having a gas stove in your home.  They also make an adapter for my camping stove allowing it to attach to the larger 20lb propane tanks. Because we do a lot of backpacking and camping we already have a nice two-burner (for car camping) as well as a jetBoil. Canisters are about $6 and last for several intensive cooking sessions. The canisters last indefinitely on a shelf, so you can buy a few and just leave them there basically forever.

Our biggest concern is heating during an extended power-outage during a very cold snap (like an ice storm). I'm considering getting a kerosene space heater, but I'm not 100% comfortable having them indoors.  Alternatively, we have a small portable generator from another project - it could power a single space heater continously, which should be enough in our small apartment to keep things livable; it would feel cold but bearable.  There's the problem of how to run the extension cord (or tie it into our breaker) though...

I'm more or less on the same page. I was considering propane for cross-compatibility between heating and cooking. The heater I found automatically shuts off for "low oxygen," which doesn't mean not enough oxygen for human life. From what I can tell, burning propane only generates carbon monoxide if there isn't enough oxygen in the space. Cracking a window should allow enough air exchange without overcoming the heat you're generating. You probably wouldn't need to run it continuously either (one hour on, two hours off kind of thing).
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nereo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #32 on: September 06, 2017, 02:06:35 PM »
   
Quote
No real threat of natural disasters where we live. No floods, hurricanes, tornados, forest fires, blizzards, etc.


Well that's pretty lucky.  Where do you live, may I ask?
Local topography certainly factors into it of course

there's a few places I've found that show large-scale risks
http://alertsystemsgroup.com/earthquake-early-warning/informative-maps
http://money.cnn.com/interactive/pf/real-estate/natural-disaster-risk-map/index.html

ABQ = Albuquerque

Tornadoes can happen anywhere

Ah, thanks.  I should have decyphered that on my own.
At least according to one risk-assessment map Bernalillo County is medium risk for all natural disasters pooled together.  It's actually slightly higher than San Francisco and the same as the southern tip of Florida.

Point is - most people drastically underestimate the chance of a natural disaster striking their town, and drastically overrate the risk that natural disasters have in other parts. People in 'tornado alley' tend to think living in 'earthquake country' is nuts, and vice versa, yet both play down their own risks. As humans we are really, really bad at this (hence the need for actuaries)

risk map linked here.
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jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #33 on: September 06, 2017, 02:55:33 PM »
I was confident the place I owned a house was safe. From earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, wildfire. It was awesome. I was aware of the lovely luck of its location. I don't know how many places this is so for. I wanted to keep the house on that count alone, but decided I didn't want to live only in avoidance of such disaster. I don't want disaster, but I do want to live in various places, so I needed to venture out again :)

Anatidae V

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #34 on: September 06, 2017, 04:50:31 PM »
I know this thread is general preparedness, but the specific items I have/ need to obtain are:
1. a one-way valve for giving CPR, because you don't know what bugs someone else has

2. Something to smash windows with - I've seen a tiny hammer thing on tv years ago and it's occurred to me that at some point my child will sleep in their own room, and I'd like to be able to break into their room from the outside in the event of a fire.

3. Put a small roll of cling wrap in the first aid kit. Good for covering wounds.

jooniFLORisploo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #35 on: September 06, 2017, 05:07:11 PM »
Oh yes, the tiny window smasher! I have one in my car. If its electrical system gave out -which it did a couple of days ago!- we wouldn't be able to open the windows. These can be critical if a vehicle catches on fire or falls into water. As the latter happened way too often where I last lived, I got one. It also includes a seatbelt cutter and light. The last three car emergencies I've heard of, we would have been able to help the people involved :)

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #36 on: September 06, 2017, 05:09:41 PM »
I know this thread is general preparedness, but the specific items I have/ need to obtain are:
1. a one-way valve for giving CPR, because you don't know what bugs someone else has

2. Something to smash windows with - I've seen a tiny hammer thing on tv years ago and it's occurred to me that at some point my child will sleep in their own room, and I'd like to be able to break into their room from the outside in the event of a fire.

3. Put a small roll of cling wrap in the first aid kit. Good for covering wounds.
1) our Red Cross gives these things away, and they are for sale in just about every drugstore.  I've recieved one from every annual re-cert course.

2) just about anything will work, including a small craft hammer or a nearby rock.  In a true emergency with your child's life in danger you'll smash the window without any tools, though I recommend using a jacket or t-shirt to protect your arm.

3) cling wrap works in a pinch, but why not pack actual dressings in your first aid kit?  I mean, if you're planning ahead and all...
YMMV
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Anatidae V

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #37 on: September 06, 2017, 05:19:43 PM »
I know this thread is general preparedness, but the specific items I have/ need to obtain are:
1. a one-way valve for giving CPR, because you don't know what bugs someone else has

2. Something to smash windows with - I've seen a tiny hammer thing on tv years ago and it's occurred to me that at some point my child will sleep in their own room, and I'd like to be able to break into their room from the outside in the event of a fire.

3. Put a small roll of cling wrap in the first aid kit. Good for covering wounds.
1) our Red Cross gives these things away, and they are for sale in just about every drugstore.  I've recieved one from every annual re-cert course.

2) just about anything will work, including a small craft hammer or a nearby rock.  In a true emergency with your child's life in danger you'll smash the window without any tools, though I recommend using a jacket or t-shirt to protect your arm.

3) cling wrap works in a pinch, but why not pack actual dressings in your first aid kit?  I mean, if you're planning ahead and all...
YMMV
Oh, I'd have those as well, but cling film can also cover food and I'm pretty sure a few other things if I start looking on the internet...

HappierAtHome

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #38 on: September 06, 2017, 05:34:53 PM »
One of my first actions will be to acquire some water storage containers (e.g. these) and create a stash of clean drinking water.

You already have a stash of clean drinking water if you've got toilets in your home.  The back of each toilet contains potable drinking water that is kept fresh via operation of the toilet.  Most people keep bottles to hold drinking water in their home already, and it just takes seconds to lift the top off the tank and fill.

Yes, but I'd rather not rely solely on the relatively small amount of water in my toilet tank.

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #39 on: September 06, 2017, 05:42:56 PM »
I know this thread is general preparedness, but the specific items I have/ need to obtain are:
1. a one-way valve for giving CPR, because you don't know what bugs someone else has

2. Something to smash windows with - I've seen a tiny hammer thing on tv years ago and it's occurred to me that at some point my child will sleep in their own room, and I'd like to be able to break into their room from the outside in the event of a fire.

3. Put a small roll of cling wrap in the first aid kit. Good for covering wounds.

No, your reply is exactly the kind of thing I'm after: specific steps you're taking to improve your preparedness for the issues you as an individual are worried about.

Tiny window smasher is a great idea. If you want something multipurpose, a big mallet is useful for closing paint tins and staking fruit trees, as well as smashing windows ;-) but I definitely want a tiny window smasher for my glovebox. Or maybe a heavy torch that could be used as such...

HappierAtHome

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #40 on: September 06, 2017, 05:46:50 PM »
Re: water storage, it's pretty easy to buy transparent water jugs rather than opaque.

The recommendation is to wash them out with a tiny bit of bleach every few years to avoid algae etc.

It has also occurred to me that when I install a rainwater collection system for my garden, that will be another source of water around my home in case of an emergency bad enough to require use of toilet and water heater water.

Michael in ABQ

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #41 on: September 06, 2017, 09:18:58 PM »
   
Quote
No real threat of natural disasters where we live. No floods, hurricanes, tornados, forest fires, blizzards, etc.


Well that's pretty lucky.  Where do you live, may I ask?
Local topography certainly factors into it of course

there's a few places I've found that show large-scale risks
http://alertsystemsgroup.com/earthquake-early-warning/informative-maps
http://money.cnn.com/interactive/pf/real-estate/natural-disaster-risk-map/index.html

ABQ = Albuquerque

Tornadoes can happen anywhere

As can asteroid strikes. Historically though, I'm not going to worry about it as the only tornadoes in the last 70 years have been small and caused minimal damage, same with any earthquakes. I guess you could say Volcanoes are the only natural disaster as there are a few small volcanoes a couple of miles away and one super volcano about 50 miles to the north (Valles Caldera). The small volcanoes last erupted around 150,000 years ago and the Valles Caldera about 1.25 million years ago. Albuquerque is located in the Rio Grande Rift which is one of only five active rift valleys in the world.

In my opinion the most like emergency is some sort of civil unrest/loss of utilities. Whether it's from North Korea detonating an EMP, hacking, riots caused by some unforeseen future event, or something else.

We do plan to move into the mountains in the next few years and forest fires will definitely be a risk there. If we build our house (hopefully) I'd like to use something fireproof with a metal roof rather than typical wood frame and stucco. Also, having a rainwater cistern that would help to wet everything down if there was a fire nearby. Of course not having a nice big tree directly next to the house is always a good idea, though that's definitely part of the appeal of living in the mountains in an otherwise treeless area.

Urchina

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #42 on: September 07, 2017, 12:44:32 AM »
The most likely emergency for any of us are job losses or extended illnesses / temporary disability / family emergency that disrupts our ability to work for some time. Most of us will experience all three at some point in our working lives. Money fixes them.

As far as natural disasters go, we are in wildfire, earthquake and mudslide country.
We keep water, food and medicine for seven people for one week, plus standard camping gear (friends would join us in a natural disaster, since I am a Disaster Service Worker and would be called out).
And, our best preparedness plan is to help, and be helped by, our neighbors. We develop social and trust ties with our immediate neighbors, with our neighborhood, and in our larger community so that we can rely on each other when we need help.

nereo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #43 on: September 07, 2017, 06:10:21 AM »
   
Quote
No real threat of natural disasters where we live. No floods, hurricanes, tornados, forest fires, blizzards, etc.


Well that's pretty lucky.  Where do you live, may I ask?
Local topography certainly factors into it of course

there's a few places I've found that show large-scale risks
http://alertsystemsgroup.com/earthquake-early-warning/informative-maps
http://money.cnn.com/interactive/pf/real-estate/natural-disaster-risk-map/index.html

ABQ = Albuquerque

Tornadoes can happen anywhere

As can asteroid strikes. Historically though, I'm not going to worry about it as the only tornadoes in the last 70 years have been small and caused minimal damage, same with any earthquakes. I guess you could say Volcanoes are the only natural disaster as there are a few small volcanoes a couple of miles away and one super volcano about 50 miles to the north (Valles Caldera). The small volcanoes last erupted around 150,000 years ago and the Valles Caldera about 1.25 million years ago. Albuquerque is located in the Rio Grande Rift which is one of only five active rift valleys in the world.

In my opinion the most like emergency is some sort of civil unrest/loss of utilities. Whether it's from North Korea detonating an EMP, hacking, riots caused by some unforeseen future event, or something else.

We do plan to move into the mountains in the next few years and forest fires will definitely be a risk there. If we build our house (hopefully) I'd like to use something fireproof with a metal roof rather than typical wood frame and stucco. Also, having a rainwater cistern that would help to wet everything down if there was a fire nearby. Of course not having a nice big tree directly next to the house is always a good idea, though that's definitely part of the appeal of living in the mountains in an otherwise treeless area.

What you describe for fire prevention will help you against smaller brush fires, but will do little to protect against a full on forest fire. Wetting down your house is akin to covering your car in bubble-wrap to lessen the severity of collisions; both technically correct and functionally useless.  Cutting down nearby trees is the best solution and the forest service recommends cutting back everything within 100 feet of your home; 300 feet if you are in a particularly fire prone area.  Few are willing to do that (or have a large enough  property line). Trees in/around your property should be trimmed back so that the branches are at least 10ft from other trees.

I lived through several wildfires while in California.  The cinders can jump a quarter mile in even mild winds, and the heat is enough to melt the siding off homes even when the fire itself never comes closer than 100 feet. 

Tl/dr: don't underestimate the power of a large wildfire or assume that small steps like wetting down your property can do anything to save it.
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ooeei

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #44 on: September 07, 2017, 06:12:35 AM »
Re: water storage, it's pretty easy to buy transparent water jugs rather than opaque.

The recommendation is to wash them out with a tiny bit of bleach every few years to avoid algae etc.

It has also occurred to me that when I install a rainwater collection system for my garden, that will be another source of water around my home in case of an emergency bad enough to require use of toilet and water heater water.

I just don't get why you'd buy a giant jug like the one you linked when you can get jugs already filled with water at Costco or Walmart for a lower cost (<$1/gal), and you never have to worry about cleaning them out.

Rainwater collection is a great idea.

HappierAtHome

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #45 on: September 07, 2017, 06:15:15 AM »
Re: water storage, it's pretty easy to buy transparent water jugs rather than opaque.

The recommendation is to wash them out with a tiny bit of bleach every few years to avoid algae etc.

It has also occurred to me that when I install a rainwater collection system for my garden, that will be another source of water around my home in case of an emergency bad enough to require use of toilet and water heater water.

I just don't get why you'd buy a giant jug like the one you linked when you can get jugs already filled with water at Costco or Walmart for a lower cost (<$1/gal), and you never have to worry about cleaning them out.

Rainwater collection is a great idea.

Well for a start, Costco and Walmart don't exist on my continent ;-)

NoStacheOhio

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #46 on: September 07, 2017, 06:36:40 AM »
Tiny window smasher is a great idea. If you want something multipurpose, a big mallet is useful for closing paint tins and staking fruit trees, as well as smashing windows ;-) but I definitely want a tiny window smasher for my glovebox. Or maybe a heavy torch that could be used as such...

We have an escape hammer in the glove box and a D cell Maglite next to the bed (smashes windows or intruders equally well) :)
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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #47 on: September 07, 2017, 06:51:56 AM »
I'm struggling with water.  We have a bug out bag with a very small amount of water in it, and a water purification straw, but I'd like to have more water lest we have to shelter in place for a while.

We have a ton of food in our pantry, and a grill on which to cook it if we stay in our home.  And our bag has some shelf stable survival bars.  I tasted one and they are palatable.  Not yummy, but if I've resorted to eating them, I doubt culinary delights will be much on my mind. 

Kit has a bunch of other stuff--fire starter, flashlight/radio/charger (solar and hand crank), thermal blanket, small basic tent, first aid kit, basic sanitation items, and a bunch of other small stuff.  Really, I think water is the one place we are weak.  Our freezer is larger than we need so I do keep a lot of frozen water in there to make it more efficient, so that's probably a day or two's worth if we need it, I guess.  Husband would likely be taken care of (military, and would likely be put to work in most disasters and thus fed and watered), but I hate to count on that. 

After living through the 3/11 quake in Japan and the aftermath (though I was far enough away to thankfully be spared from any real danger or damage), I'm a bit paranoid about these things.  We don't have a water heater for our home (military housing and to be honest I have no idea where our hot water comes from, but there's no water heater in our unit) and our toilet tanks were growing mold so I've had to put bleach tablets in them, unfortunately.  (Yes, it was actually molding inside the tank.) 

Also, in one move or another, I seem to have lost my potassium iodide tables, prescribed to me when the cloud shifted and we had increase radiation in my 'hood.  Unlikely I'd need them, perhaps, but I was holding on to them just in case.  Damn.

ooeei

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #48 on: September 07, 2017, 07:49:24 AM »
Re: water storage, it's pretty easy to buy transparent water jugs rather than opaque.

The recommendation is to wash them out with a tiny bit of bleach every few years to avoid algae etc.

It has also occurred to me that when I install a rainwater collection system for my garden, that will be another source of water around my home in case of an emergency bad enough to require use of toilet and water heater water.

I just don't get why you'd buy a giant jug like the one you linked when you can get jugs already filled with water at Costco or Walmart for a lower cost (<$1/gal), and you never have to worry about cleaning them out.

Rainwater collection is a great idea.

Well for a start, Costco and Walmart don't exist on my continent ;-)

All right, Aldi or Woolworths then? I suspect no matter where you are pre-bottled water costs less than those big empty jugs.

nereo

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Re: Basic Emergency Preparedness
« Reply #49 on: September 07, 2017, 07:58:13 AM »
Water is always among the hardest, as it is heavy, takes up space and is prone to mold/algae unless its sterilized.

Villanelle - what is your climate like?  Are there freshwater streams/lakes nearby?  If so, a filter/sterilizer combo may be one brick in your emergency preparedness kit.  Certainly a pack of water treatment tablets (tiny, shelf stable and each good for a liter of water) can get you through a few days, though its bad for your health to use those for weeks on end.

A few cases of bottled water stored in a closet somewhere is another possibility. Unopened they don't go bad, though they'll taste plastic-y after a couple of years. At a bare minimum you want 2 liters per person per day (though 4 is much better and allows for cooking).  You can also jar your own using basic canning techniques, but I've never found that to be cost efficient.

When you have advanced warning you can fill just about anything with tap water and it will be fine to drink for several days.  Spaghetti pots, old 2-liter bottles, etc.

Interestingly, Anheiser-Busch distributes water in aluminum cans during natural disasters. They basically use their facilities to fill cans with tap water and then stockpile it throughout their distribution chain.  I really wonder why this isn't done more; I thick it would be easier to store a few cases of 12oz cans of water than those round plastic bottles of similar size.

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