With the start of a new year underway and the unpredictable weather of spring upon us, it’s always a good idea have a good emergency plan in place.
No one likes to think or expect the worst, but unpleasant and inconvenient “stuff” does happen from time to time.
Whether you’re concerned about weather disasters, hurricanes, floods, economic disruptions, earthquakes, political upheaval or just simply worried your power may go out for several days, it’s not a bad idea to be a little prepared for the worst to happen from time to time.
One of the first things to consider is having a “bug out bag”(BOB). Recommended by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), this portable bag (kit) contains all the supplies one would need to survive for 72 hours when “waiting out” or evacuating from a disaster. Typically, in a natural disaster, agencies such as FEMA and the Red Cross arrive within 3 days of a disaster.
A good “bug out bag” or “72 hour kit” should contain at least 3 days worth of non-perishable food, water and personal items for each member of the family. You can buy ready-to-go preparedness kits but a good “bug out bag” will also include a first aid kit, bedding, clothing, rain coat, poncho, blankets, water purification devices, cell phones, solar and crank cell battery chargers, wrench, whistle, manual can opener, dust mask, towelettes, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) radio, battery lighting, batteries, candles, solar and crank flashlights, compass, and a fire starter.
Other items to consider for more extended periods of displacement or excavation are lanterns, bicycles as available transportation, backpacks, tents, traveler’s checks, cash and a signal flare.
It is also important to consider special preparation and plans for elderly members of the family, infants and your pets.
Escape to where?
Another important thing to consider is where to go in case of emergencies, such as a home gas leak, chemical leak from a nearby factory or a local or national disaster evacuation. Common preparations include a safe haven location typically called a “bug out location” (BOL). This is usually a remote, out of the way, safe, defensible, survivable location for you and your family.
For most common emergencies such as power outages and bad weather this typically ends up being your home or basement or that of a neighbor’s, friend or relative. For larger more serious evacuations you may consider securing shelter at a more remote location such as a out of town family member’s home, lake cottage, remote campground, cabin, wilderness area or secluded hotel, lodge or inn.
For a prolonged even worse disaster, one would want to consider securing passports, cash, gold and a possible out-of-state, out-of-region or even out-of-country fleeing route and accommodations.
Additionally, a person who is seriously prepared for any emergency generally “stockpiles” supplies at their “bug out location” such as non-perishable foods, water, clothing, medical supplies, firewood, farming equipment, water purification devices, generators, fuel and hunting gear.
As with all emergencies it is important to use common sense, a controlled sense of urgency and a good plan. How elaborate one plans for a potential disaster is really a personal decision. Some “preppers” build underground shelters and some just have a 72-hour kit and a backpack. It’s really up to each individual how they want to plan and prepare.
Remember, for most of us, our day to day activities are pretty predictable normal days without crisis, but emergencies and disasters do and can happen at any time. So if you want to be prepared, all it takes is a little prepping and a little planning.
Additional information can be obtained from various books at the library, bookstores and various websites such as ready.gov, fema.gov and redcross.org
Ron Brohm is a regular contributor to this newspaper.