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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Emergency Preparedness Task #1- Write Out or Print Off Your List of Needed 72-Hour Emergency Auto and Household Supplies

Having a basic set of emergency supplies on hand is just plain smart, in my humble opinion.  Being prepared for an emergency is something that brings peace of mind, and I can't think of anything more minimalist than possessing that feeling.  There are many great websites, blogs and books on the topic of emergency preparedness.  I highly suggest that you Google the subject.  What I'm going to do for you here is present a series of practical, easy-to-accomplish tasks so that you can get done today for dealing with emergency situations.  There's absolutely no way to prepare for all emergency eventualities- but a little preparation can go a long way.

My first suggestion is to make up a list of supplies today for both your home and also your car that would last you (and your family, if applicable) about 72 hours each.  Many, many websites list those basic supplies, so I won't repeat that here.  If you need it, here's a link to a minimal list of those emergency supplies:

http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/checklist_1.pdf

Adapt this to your own and/or your family's needs.  I love perusing Amazon for these supplies, by the way.  Even if I won't be buying the items from that site, there's loads of comments and reviews from experienced preppers that are also incredibly helpful to read.  There's so much to learn about prepping.  People have thought of and invented supplies that would never come to mind for me.  But if you're like me, don't get too carried away!  Keep in mind the basics- keeping warm in cold weather, keeping cool in hot weather, having something to do (books, playing cards, board games, etc.), cooking supplies, sun protection, rain protection, light, shelter, food, water. 

Your first priority should be stocking up on water.  There is no such thing as having too much on hand, especially if running water ends for you if your power goes out.  (Some people have this problem, others don't.)  You don't have to buy the water itself; there are ways to store your tap water for later that are safe, too.  For myself, I also bought some water treatment tablets and a little straw-like gadget that will filter water if my tap water got contaminated somehow.  Second, have plenty of light sources available- flashlights, waterproof matches, lanterns, light sticks, etc.  Third, stock up on food and OTC medicine, including something to cook on that doesn't rely on your household gas/electricity/coal.  This is especially needed if you wouldn't be able to use your regular stove top or a fireplace in the event of a blackout.  Look for a portable cooker that you can safely use indoors.  If you can't cook outdoors due to living in an apartment or something similar, this is very important.  Fourth, protection for yourself, your home and your car against the elements and other people who aren't wanted around your home in the event of an emergency.  Blankets, towels, sheets to spare.  Plastic sheeting and duct tape for your windows, doors, etc.  Water to pour in the toilet if the electricity is out, hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, toilet paper to spare...sanitation is going to be key in these types of circumstances, too.  A portable heater and big battery-powered fan are important.  Rain ponchos, hats and boots.  Insulated sleeping bags and tents, especially if you live in a colder climate.  Fifth thing to prepare for is communication- an NOAA radio, a crank- and/or solar-powered cell phone charger, etc.  If you have a SmartPhone, be sure that the charger you buy works on that type of phone.  Finally, especially if you have children, I recommend stocking up on things to do in times of a blackout or other emergency.  Learn a few games that can be done with playing cards and teach them to your kids.  Buy a chess or checkers board and (if needed) a book on how to play.  Coloring books and crayons or a sketching pad and pencils are fine as long as they have enough light.  Depending upon the circumstances, you may not be able to let your kids play outside and you may not have electricity, so they'll need to be able to entertain themselves in a different way.  Some kids are happy playing with Barbies or G.I. Joes, something like that.  For your car, I ask that you eventually pack a couple of different items like this so that you're always ready for an emergency.  I'd recommend stocking up on some light-hearted magazines, novels or books for yourself and your family to read during these types of times, too.  You can't be too prepared!

I suggest making a separate list (or printing off a ready-made one from online) for your automobile and then also one specifically for your house.  Some people also make a list for a bug-out bag.  It's entirely up to you.  Carefully consider the likelihood that you would need to grab a bag and actually leave both your home and your car completely behind before investing in bug-out bag supplies.  Some people live in a country or town where this is a very real possibility- however, for others it is only a very remote reality.  I highly suggest preparing your home first, then car, then a bug-out bag, particularly if you are on a budget.  Some people like to carry a small amount of supplies on them all the time, in a purse or other bag.  There are mini survival kits and first-aid kits available, and of course such things as pepper spray or Swiss Army multi-tools that can be carried almost all the time on your person.  This isn't especially minimalist, but it sure is organized!  Again, use your common sense and judgment to determine what works for you and your budget.  Three-hole-punch these lists and put them in your control journal or household notebook today.

Here's to being a prepared organized minimalist,
Liz

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