We have been as realistic as possible with our recommendations but fully understand that individuals and their families may also have particular medical requirements, young children, parents, or pets and they all need to be factored into any plan.
Put a reminder on your calendar to rotate medicine (Med’s), water, batteries and food as needed. Take into consideration any medication that must be refrigerated. Should you need to leave your home or have no power, Cold packs may help for short term transport or storage of medicines. You may even wish to freeze some water bottles and keep ready to help keep perishable food or med’s cool. Once thawed, you can use for drinking or hygiene.
If you have firearms, be mindful of where you have them, laws and the risk they pose to children or those not familiar with firearm safety. Practice safe firearm handling techniques at all times, respect all laws and keep firearms and all ammunition in a humidity controlled metal safe until needed. If others in the family share your ammo, then you need to keep your supply of emergency ammo under separate lock and key (or better yet a combination that only you and your partner know)
Our bags often have areas designed for carrying small arms and you should become familiar with how to access them in an emergency. When transporting a large/long gun type firearm, you want it to be kept in a hard or soft case to help keep them secure and as free from environmental conditions as possible. If storing a weapon in one of our soft bags or hard cases, always keep keys handy yet secure or use combination codes that you will remember.
When powering up a home or cottage on a generator or when power is temporarily available, you should always consider filing up and replenishing any emergency water that has been used. This includes filling up bathtubs, pots etc. All this water can be filtered for personal consumption or used for cooking and hygiene needs.
Water: one half a gallon or 3 liters of drinking water is generally recommended minimum quantity per person, per day. Bathing and cooking is in addition! So, plan accordingly for home, office, cottage or grab and go bags.
Cash in the home: We recommend a minimum of 500.00 while on foot or in the car. It is up to you to determine what your home, cottage or office cash requirements should be.
Food: Easy to keep and prepare during a normal day. However, in an emergency the simple task of cooking may become very difficult. Also, your fridge or freezer may lose power so all that food will start the process of going bad within hours. So, when power looks like it is out for a while, remove what you need from the fridge and close the door as soon as possible. Do not allow children to open fridge or freezer doors, as you always want to ensure they are only opened when needed and then properly closed. If you have a separate chest freezer, you should take the contents from the small fridge freezer and place in the larger freezer. Put your milk, cold cuts, cheese all in the larger freezer so it lasts longer.
Cooking: if you can cook on your regular range you are in good shape. If not, then you need to have alternative source of cooking and perhaps for boiling water. When cooking up any meal, consider cooking up other foods at the same time so you save on fuel and time. This helps make a second meal easier to prepare and helps extend the life of food.
Propane camp cylinders and a Coleman type stove. (FOLLOW SAFETY WARNINGS) are a good solution. Make sure you are familiar with their use before actually needing to use one. Even when familiar with their use, take any new gear out of its box, assemble and test to make sure everything is working as it should. You do not want to rely upon a defective unit or be scrambling in the dark reading instructions by candle light. Examine which pots will fit on top of the grill so you know what you have to cook up food or boil water in will work. If your house pots do not fit, then purchase quality camping pots. Make sure you keep enough spare propane cylinders (A minimum Qty 6 of the small camping size) in a cool, dark and dry location. Spiders or other bugs often like to crawl into the stove lines, make a nest and hinder flow of gas, so it is very important that these essential items be kept in an air tight and water-resistant container.
if you have a BBQ and you are running them on small 25 pound cylinders, always have two full tanks in addition to the one that you are using. Also remember that you may not be around during a crisis and others will be trying to use equipment they may not be familiar with, so make sure they know how things work in advance. Never use propane or other sources of dangerous fumes inside or too close to a house or garage. Having good carbon monoxide and dioxide detectors in the house and garage can be a life saver so have them installed now.
Fireplaces are good to have for heat and for cooking, but unless you have cooked on one before, it can be extremely dangerous. Balancing a pot of hot water or soup on an open fire can result in the pot tipping over and splashing you or others with scalding hot liquid. Remember, you want to avoid emergency medical care during a crisis. If you are not familiar with cooking on open fires and have no alternative source for heating food, stick to cold soup, canned goods etc.
Space is almost always an issue so bear that in mind when ordering quantities of any dehydrated foods. You can order these types of food but remember you will need a means of preparing it and of course clean water. We are recommending the easy to store “box” shaped supplies of dehydrated foods from Mountain House. They stack well in a cupboard, under a bed and are tasty enough to get by in an emergency.
Everyone in the family, needs to appreciate that a crisis means gourmet meals will not be forthcoming so focusing on making a tough situation as comfortable and safe as possible will go a long way in maintaining everyone’s sanity. Having some tasty treats ready also helps improve morale so be creative with any rapidly diminishing fresh food stocks. Letting the children indulge in the ice cream that is melting in the fridge freezer will free you up to tackle the other chores.
Remember to charge all phones, tablets, laptops, electrical devices, battery chargers or backup power supplies whenever power is on. Power may come on during the evening while you are asleep etc, so make sure everything is plugged in to wall receptacles whenever not in use. Unless you have spent a full 24 hours or longer without power, it is difficult to understand how much we all depend on it today.
We recommend a battery charger and re-chargeable batteries for your home, office or cottage flashlights. Purchase the units that include a cigarette lighter adapter so you can recharge them in your vehicle.
Your home alarm system will likely have a small backup battery and this will fail during a power failure after maybe 30 minutes to a few hours of use, so be mindful of this when counting on any police or medical assistance. Ask your security company how to silence any low battery or communication trouble alerts on the keypad/s. You do not want these chirping in your ear while under stress. Learn how to do this now because your security company will not likely be of much help during an emergency.
Know how to access the alarm panels and look at having a larger backup battery system installed by your security company and make sure they look at all the other devices that the alarm system connects to and uses power. All related devices need to be on backup power and they must last you for the time you deem necessary.
UPS: The large Goal Zero UPS units we recommend in our lists work well for modems, routers, radios… Use the smallest TV possible when powering up on backup battery power. When running on UPS system, consider turning the TV on for only maybe ten minutes on the hour. Do not run the TV on battery backup power just to watch repeat news broadcasts. The radio or internet will often have sufficient news updates so use those or a laptop, tablet, smart phone etc. to obtain these updates and conserve power.
Under stressful conditions, people may find the forced silence a bit unnerving. So if you can listen to some music between news broadcasts, this may be enough to help some people get through a stressful situation. Keeping things as close to “normal” during an emergency goes a long way in decreasing everyone’s level of stress. Less stress also makes for less errors and injuries.
If any people have prescribed or non-prescribed need for alcohol etc, this must be factored into any plan.
A deck of playing cards or some other form of game to help keep both adults and children occupied is also very important to have and use.
Tip on battery maintenance:
- Keeping batteries in a flashlight for long periods can cause corrosion, so keep batteries out of your flashlights until needed. Once you have installed the batteries in your light. Turn flashlight on and gradually unscrew cap until the light turns off, then continue to unscrew for another full turn at least. This will help reduce the chance of the flashlight being accidentally turned on while in the bag or in your pocket. When ready to use, just retighten the cap and operate as needed.
- Let your eyes become accustomed to the dark and only use light when task orientated.
- Always use the lowest power setting possible to help retain your eyes night vision and to help stretch out battery time.
- Walking with a light can attract unwanted attention so be mindful of this and do not wave the light around.
- Recharge or change out batteries as needed.
Larger sources of power
Purchase at least one, 1000 watt power inverter and you can use an old car, boat or lawn mower battery to power up a TV, radio, smart phone etc. Even if the battery is no longer good for the car, it is still worth keeping around for a few more years as a backup power supply.
Use a “trickle charger” to ALWAYS keep the old battery charged. Simply connect the power inverter to the battery and plug in your radio, TV, laptop, modems etc. just like you would in the home.
The other item you should look at for charging up of old batteries is a solar panel. If you are not comfortable with choosing the panel and accessories consider approaching your local solar power company and look into what works in your area (amount of sun)and for your exact power requirements.