At last! Here we are. I’ll avoid a long winded introduction and cut to the chase, saying simply this; these items are things which I have either (a) bought and used or (b) researched and THEN bought, even if I have not yer had the chance to use them. In some cases, (b) is a good thing, as I’m sure you’ll see as we go though the successive posts that deal with first aid and trauma supplies. (**Note: I order 99% of my items from Amazon. You do not have to. If you can find them elsewhere, go for it! It’s not like they send me a check or Christmas cards for telling you about the items. The items themselves are the important thing; make sure you’re getting the real thing, not cheap knock offs, no matter where you order them from –The Doctor)
In an emergency, your main concerns are going to be the most basic ones; food, water, shelter. Along with that go several sub-categories such as the ability to care for injuries, large and small, since help is not always immediately there, or a way to keep track of what’s going on during and after the situation. In this posting I will focus primarily on a few of these items, and continue in later postings. (First aid, for example, is a post all its own!)
Before I begin, let me say this: I also believe that security, i.e., a way to protect yourself and your family, is of paramount importance, and more so after a disaster. However, this is not an area in which I feel I have confidence to speak, save in a very general way, and so I will not. As with the decision to own/carry a weapon, that is a decision that you must make on a personal level, and based on your situation. I would, however, encourage you to do the research and have some form of defense not only for your family in general, but especially in the event that a disaster occurs and those who want what you have come looking for it. Much as we don’t like to admit it in this country, violence is still a very human condition across all races and ethnicity groups and disasters tend to bring that part out in many of those in the situation itself. Forewarned is forearmed.
First up, we’ll look at being able to keep informed and keep in touch with others. To that end, invest in a good, reliable emergency radio. I have a portable NOAA Weather Radio which I carry, being a SKYWARN volunteer, but it is limited in its usage, only being able to pick up NWS broadcasts and SAME alerts. (I won’t go into the details of why I recommend being able to pick up SAME alerts, but should you be interested, you can obtain more information here – loathe as I am to recommend Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Specific_Area_Message_Encoding ) For a reliable emergency radio it’s advisable that it be durable, have multiple power options and be able to pick up multiple types of transmissions. After doing my own research and comparisons, I picked up this one:
As you can see from the description of the item itself, it appears to meet and/or exceed the criteria laid out above. From having used it, I can attest to that fact, personally. It is durable and weather resistant, as well as having an ambient light and flashlight built into it. The entire back of the device is a solar panel and it not only charges rapidly, but provides ample power even when using the radio itself. It picks up AM/FM/NOAA bands, has a digital tuner, good reception, and can be run from batteries or the internal battery, which can be charged by solar power or the hand crank. The internal battery and crank can also be used to “dump” a charge into a device such as a cell phone to give you emergency power for communication.
Second is an alternate energy source for keeping your devices charged. If you hunt, if you fish, or if you just want to be prepared, I would recommend this device:
Having purchased and used it, I can attest to its durability and reliability, as well as its ability to quickly and reliably charge two devices at once (I generally charge my tablet and cell phone) in both direct and indirect sunlight. Bright, direct sunlight will charge the devices more quickly, obviously, but I have tested it in instances in which I put it in a sunny room but not IN the sunlight and it still charged. It folds into a neat, compact package, and has eyelets on it which allow it to be hung from a backpack for on the go charging, or hung up while camping. Although not waterproof, it is splash resistant and can sustain limited exposure to moisture, especially when closed.
Finally, let’s look at food and water. Yes, you may have a pantry full of food and all kinds of water, but what happens if you can’t take the time to pack it up and take it with you? Fire, evacuation of your home – any number of scenarios can make that impractical or impossible. To that end, I recommend these two items, both of which I have purchased and tried:
Datrex emergency water pouches have a shelf life of approximately 5 years (there are debates as to whether or not they would be good past that time, or if the bags might degrade and affect the quality of the water – my feeling is that it’s a good investment and if I have to use them when I get close to 5 years, I’ll use them and get more) and are the emergency water pouches that are stored as survival supplies in lifeboats and used by the US Coast Guard. The bags themselves have emergency directions on them as to their usage (Basically, unless sick, injured or in the desert, no water for 24 hours, then 8oz a day – the cases have 66 4 oz packages in them, which comes out to approximately 33 8 oz servings, so you can see you’re not getting shortchanged, to be sure) and the individual pouches, as well as the case itself, can easily be picked up and taken with you. The pouches are durable and can easily be stored in your car, in heat or cold, in your backpack, etc, wherever you have space. I currently have one case and will be buying more.
I purchased these and promptly opened one to try them out. Like their water counterparts, these are used by and approved of by the USCG, and are included as survival items in lifeboats. The bars are individually packaged, making them easy to store and pass out on an individual basis, and like the water they also have emergency instructions on them as to their usage. I found that they had a pleasant flavor, similar to a coconut flavored cookie and although I wouldn’t want to eat them on a constant basis (they are emergency, survival food, after all) I also found that they did not provoke thirst in me, and were filling. (I used them as a snack at different times, in my experiment) They have, according to the research I did, been tested and found to have the widest appeal even to children, in terms of flavor. An important caveat regarding potential allergens – it is my understanding that these do contain some degree of nuts in them. At the very least, they contain coconut products, so be responsible and, if all else fails, call Datrex at (337) 738-4511 and check into it before you purchase them. If these contains allergens, there are alternatives. When in doubt, check it out!
Whew! Well, that was a long one, wasn’t it! Thanks for reading the whole thing, and I’d be happy to answer any questions if you have them. Keep coming back and next post, we’ll go into the first aid/medical supplies aspect of emergency preparedness.
God bless today, my friends and hey – let’s be careful out there!