Trail Boss Emergency Preparedness Checklist
By Steven L. Doran
Life should be and adventure. Anyone who knows me will tell you I do not get to excited about anything much. Worrying just makes things worse. I do not look at power outages or severe storms as a bad thing. I look at them as a chance to see if all of my gear and supplies not only work but if I have taken the time to do my job in getting ready. Truth be told I have always had a blast when trouble arises and have never had an issue getting through the worst of disasters. It is all in your perspective.
A lot of people today are so slack when it comes to preparedness, they whine when the power goes off or the fast food joint is closed. When I was a kid my grandparents never sweated anything, it was just part of life something was going to happen living in the great white north. We had multiple severe storms summer and winter. When the power or local services went out for an extended period my grand parents and everyone around us was ready. No one rushed to the store, they had everything they needed.
Know that you can not hold out forever unless you are in a very rural location and pretty much living off the grid now, and the situation that occurs does not destroy everything you have. So never put all your eggs in one basket, If you have a shed or another storage area you may want to keep some supplies there as well. That way if you loose your home to a fire or a storm you have back up supplies to get you through.
Sometime the situation calls for you to leave the area. You can not take all of your supplies with you. If this occurs you need to have a bag or boxes ready that are easy to load with enough supplies to get you by for at least 2 weeks. Do not wait until there is an emergency to find out the bags or boxes you packed do not fit in your vehicle. You may also want to use lightweight dehydrated foods that take up little room in this kit.
1. Put away a supply of nonperishable food that will last you a month per person in the household. This way if there is a disruption in the food service deliveries to markets, or you can not get out you will not be affected. Buy things you like to eat and take little or no preparation. The best way to do this on a limited budget is every time you go to the store buy a few extra items. Since these are things you eat all of the time rotate your stock to maintain freshness.
2. Stock up on water 5 Gallon Mylar water bags in boxes is the best way I have found to store water they can be stacked anywhere and moved easily. You need one gallon per person per day.
3. Make sure you have hard copies of all your important documents ready to take with you. Back up your important computer information on a portable hard or thumb drive.
4. Stash some cash. It can be a big help during storms when gas stations and stores lose their ability to take credit and ATM cards.
5. Keep some extra medication. If your doctor says you can control some of your problem with diet and exercise get off your butt and then get off the meds. Stay in good physical condition.
6. Have your first aid kit well stocked, along with over the counter medications, vitamins and supplements that you may need. Again rotate.
7. Keep your gas tank full at all times, never let the needle go below ¾, of a tank. You can store up to 20 gallons but it will need to be used and rotated just like your food. You also need to have a safe place to store it. If not then do not attempt to do so. that is worse than having none at all.
8. If heating fuel, gas and electricity get disrupted make sure you have alternate ways to cook and keep warm or cool. Charcoal is a very safe item to store and cook with. A small inexpensive habatchi will allow you to cook absolutely everything and boil enough water to cook and wash with . Propane works well but storage and efficiency can be a problem. In a habatchi you can burn wood, sod or any other solid fuel. You can buy cases of the dura-flame type logs to store and just cut pieces off to cook with. NEVER bring the grill inside the house, basement or garage. If you have a wood burning stove or fireplace, make sure that it is clean and in working order and you have enough firewood on hand to out-last any outage. If you don’t have a fireplace or wood stove, you may want to invest in an alternative and safe heating source such as a kerosene or propane stove designed for safe use indoors good blankets, sleeping bags, long johns and appropriate warm clothing.
9. Get a couple of large coolers just in case the refrigerator loses power. If you store your ice in sealed freezer bags, your ice can be an emergency source of water, too.
10. Generators are not always a good idea. Do your homework on what you need and if it is even a worth while purchase for your situation.
11. I used to recommend candles and oil lamps. They are OK for the short term. But now that they inexpensive LED lights and lanterns I prefer them over other types of lighting systems they are a safe long lasting light sources. Keep extra batteries on hand and a good battery / solar / crank operated radio. If you live in a sunny area the solar walk way lights can be used indoors at night and recharged during the day.
12. Keep games, cards, puzzles books and little projects available to pass the time.
13. If you have pets they have to eat and drink, but remember they are animals, so they can drink water from a puddle or outside water source that will not harm them at all. Do not share your supplies with them. Get them their own, and use your head don’t risk you life or health for your pet.
When I was a policeman a family dog took off in a storm, The lady of the house took off after it leaving two small children in the home alone. During her search for the dog she slipped, fell, hit her head and broke her ankle. It took her hours to get back inside. She and her children suffered needlessly over a pet who wandered up after the storm and was just fine. You would be surprised how many people die each year saving a pet who does not need saving. I have also seen people giving their pets their emergency bottled water and food when their is a lake right outside their back door and they have a large supply of dog food. I can not say this enough YOU’RE PETS ARE NOT HUMAN. THEY ARE ANIMALS AND CAN SURVIVE BETTER THAN YOU CAN IN ANY SITUATION.
Each member of your family should know where all of the emergency gear and supplies are stored, and how everything works. If you want to have a great weekend with your kids come in and say the power is out, and let the adventure begin. The best time to practice is when you are not under the stress of a real situation.
Copyright © 2009 by Steven L. Doran All rights reserved under international and Pan-American copyright conventions. No part of this article may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means without written permission from the author Steven L. Doran.