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Jack thinks being prepared means gathering all his toys in one spot, and he's not wrong. Somehow “prepping” has gotten a bad rap, but when did it become gauche to be prepared? Nowadays we don’t know how to change a tire or live without YouTube or Facebook. Once upon a time, I could barely balance my own checkbook, let alone plan for a week without electricity. If I thought about it at all, I figured someone else would take care of me. My husband, my neighbor, the government.
I have a theory. I believe we are all more anxious than we were a generation ago. This could be because the horrors of the world are a second away from our fingertips. It could also be because we don’t plan ahead. Sure, we plan for the weekend, our next vacation, even (hopefully) retirement. But what do you think the chances are you might need to go a few days or a week without power?
Forget about the political anger across the country or the novel Coronavirus. We are one ice storm or an oil-tanker crash away from not having electricity or gas. Even if it was only for a week, would you be prepared?
Here’s what I want for you all: If something unusual happens, I want you to be able to pass the gas lines and the mobs at the grocery store. I don’t want you to put yourself in danger or panic because you can’t remember if you have batteries for your flashlights. You don’t have to go crazy, just spend a few hours so you and your family don’t have to worry so much.
There are tons of lists out there (the ones from the Red Cross are great) but I am going to give you a list of what I started with and have built on over the past few years. The basics should run you about $200, plus whatever cash you decide to keep on hand. Please, please, don’t think of this as prepping, just think of it as common sense - like filling up your gas tank before a storm. Before you do anything, you have to change your mindset and think of this as basics we should all have. Here we go:
Water - everything begins and ends with water. Drinking, cooking and toiletry, you will go through it faster than you think. Start with 10-15 big jugs.
LED camping lanterns. Forget about flashlights - you have to hold them, and they aren’t as versatile.
Emergency radio - Get one that can run off electricity, batteries, and/or solar or a hand crank.
Battery operated chargers - Make sure they can charge your type of phone or laptop.
Batteries for the above. Pay attention to this one. Find the biggest packs of batteries you can, then triple them. Batteries get used up quickly.
Gatorade/juices - Don’t buy anything that needs refrigeration.
Food - Granola bars, jerky, plastic fruit cups, peanut butter crackers. Double wrap them all in Ziploc baggies.
Pet food and medications - Put aside two weeks of both.
A first-aid kit with hand wipes.
Diaper bag with diapers, wipes, formula and/or baby food (if appropriate).
Candles/matches - Don’t go for anything fancy. Get the long-life plain candles.
Keep a duffel bag or backpack in the trunk of your car with a mini-version of the above list along with car emergency items (tire inflator, battery charger) and you are also set for traveling.
That’s it for your first level - you are now a prepper! Once you have those, here is the next level of security and comfort:
Water purifiers - These come in many options. I like LifeStraws; they filter the water as you drink it. There are also water purifying tablets.
Heat blankets - these are the ones which look like shiny silver foil. They are great supplements to the blankets around your house.
Battery operated DVD player (and batteries) plus a few movies. Also get 1-2 games, a deck of cards, and a few books.
Clorox/Lysol wipes (the big jugs).
One box each of medical grade gloves and N-95 masks. You don’t need Coronavirus to want to filter out pollutants or smoke.
A camping stove - gas or wood burning.
Rice/grain (large bins) and soup (get the kind that doesn’t need water or a can opener).
Swiss army knife (funny as it sounds, these things are amazing!).
Disposable silverware, plates, cups, bowls.
Toiletry kit (toothpaste, mouthwash etc.).
If you are a gun person, make sure you have enough ammunition.
Feel free to supplement from other lists and your specific needs. I hope this helps one person to be ready for the next ice storm or mini-apocalypse. And if you find something missing on my list, please add it to the comments.
Who am I, and what makes my blog different? I believe that animal rescue, as hard as it is, can also be uplifting. Every tale I have ever written has animals as central characters. My goal is to provide practical, positive information for animal lovers, interspersed with helpful tips for writers (and writers-to-be). I will also share updates on upcoming books and my canine family. We all have stories to tell - let's get started!