General Preparedness Issues And Lists (Basic)

Basic Prep Items And Situations
     I have had a request here lately for a list of general preparedness  items that one should have, this in itself can be a huge undertaking and in fact whole sites are singularly dedicated to just that one topic. I have some posts that do have some small minor lists but nothing complete so I will make this post such as it is a primer that will cover some basics.

     In breaking down the aspect of preparedness you need to first and foremost know what you would like to be prepared for. As an expansive list could go into the hundreds of possible scenarios I like to break it down to simpler terms such as what an event might take away from you:
  • Shelter
  • Food
  • Water
  • Air
  • Security
     The above list while small  pretty much sums up most of the important aspects of life, remove any one and you could be in immediate danger.  The above List also represents  what will be some of your  issues in the event of a disaster. In most cases it does not matter what the disaster is because it is the end result of that disaster that affects you.  It is the above five items that I will try and expand upon in list form with some basics.


      Air is one element that you really can not do without and in most cases we can only go 3 minutes or less without it so I rank it as your #1 concern. When thinking about the lack of air that might affect us we are usually faced with a displacement issue. A displacement generally is where some other element pushes out or uses up the available oxygen in the area of habitation. 

     Some of the most common areas where this might happen are in the home or while on the job, most are preventable with a little common sense and preparation. 

  • Home
     Two very common oxygen deprivation events that occur in the home are CO2 poisoning and smoke inhalation due to structure fires. We hear every year how someone had a faulty appliance that resulted in death or serious injury, Gas heaters, stoves,  hot water heaters, cars and generators are the main culprits. Structure fires in the home can be caused by electrical, smoking, children and any other number of causes.

First Alert Sco7cn Battery Operated Combination Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Alarm With Voice Location (Smoke/Carbon Detectors / Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors)     Besides a good dose of common sense like getting a regular checkup on your gas appliances and not running your car in a closed garage there are a few simple devices that are a must have.  Pictured here is a combination Smoke/ CO2 detector that is available in many stores and new homes are required to have them hardwired into the house electrical system with battery back up.
Speaking of batteries, many times due to being lazy (Or bad cooks) we unplug or remove a battery from a smoke detector and forget to put it back or worse negligently not put it back.  I can think of no other device that will protect you all day and especially while you sleep.

A&h Baking Soda 16ozKidde FX10K Kitchen Fire Extinguisher, 82CI     Another tool that you should have and know how to use is a fire extinguisher, Consider yourself a first responder in this respect and if it is safe to do so you can employ a fire extinguisher.  A classic example would be a cooking fire in your kitchen. A small box of baking soda can also come in handy to dowse a small grease fire in a pan as well as simply putting a lid on the offending pan. For larger more out of control fires your best coarse of action is to collect your loved ones and get out, forget your possessions they can always be replaced your life can not, evacuate and call 911 from outside of the home.


Officesnax Bottled Spring Water, 8 Oz., 24 Bottles/Carton     Water like air is also one of the necessities that we cannot live without, we can usually go about 3 days without depending on the environment. During a weather related event or civil unrest water as a utility can and does fail or it becomes contaminated, we take for granted that the tap will always be there and magically flow with a twist of the handle. The good news is that water is usually a high priority item to repair but one should still take measures to ensure that you have drinking and cooking water available. Stocking a couple of cases of water in the closet is extremely cheap and easy to do. While on the subject of stocking up on water it is also important to stock your vehicle as well in case you can not return to your home immediately, again the benefits are well worth the few dollars in cost. 

     In some cases you might also have to deal with contaminated water and there are a few options that you may need to take such as boiling, chemical, ultra violet or filtration. At some point in our lives construction company X has hit a water line somewhere in the city and the result is the local area being put under a boil order. This is one of the easier things to do as long as your electricity or gas is working. The procedure is fairly simple although you will find several recommendations on exactly how long to boil your water (0 to 5 minutes), I will usually bring the water to a rolling boil and let it continue to boil for about 5 minutes, I like to be sure. The other three options that you can use and are chlorine, UV or some type of filter. Some people will use all four if they have the belief that the water is extremely contaminated.        

There are a few other options and combinations but water purification is a huge and specific subject worthy of it own blog so we will only touch the basics here in the article.


     Food is another item that we really take for granted, we have long been blessed with store shelves that are loaded with more choices then you can shake a stick at. The problem usually comes when the transport system breaks down in some form or another, Our modern day stores have on hand only what you see on the shelves and they depend on daily truck replenishment to keep the shelves stocked. We have all seen the news that cover the grocery stores when bad weather is about to hit, they are usually picked pretty clean of a good many items in real short order. 

     Usually in most cases supply lines can be re-established within 72 hrs but I wouldn't bet your life on that, we usually have on hand a weeks worth of groceries, one thing to take into consideration though is that in rough weather or some man-made event  you have to take into consideration your utilities. Briefly look into what foods you have right now and think about how much of that food needs water or heat to prepare, take into consideration what foods you might loose without your refrigerator or freezer.

     The in-expensive way around the problem of not having utilities is canned goods, they have a very long shelf life and do not require any water or heat. There are more appealing options but with that comes a higher cost and is outside the scope of this article. One other option if you want to heat things up that most of us might also have is the outside propane grill, they do not require power and can last for weeks or months at a time on one tank so keep that in your mind as an option. Some homes also have an indoor fireplace and while you could use it for cooking most people in the urban setting keep very little firewood on hand, one exception might be a fireplace with a natural gas connection. Again though do not count on your utilities working durring an emergency, try and have several options.

      Being home during an emergency would in most cases be the better option as you will be most comfortable there and have the bulk of your supplies there as well. What happens though when you either can't get home or your home is no longer there, hopefully at that point you will have your vehicle. Many of us spend some time in our vehicles and it makes a great deal of sense to have some supplies along for the ride. While it would be impractical and almost impossible to have your car stocked as well as your home you can still include some basics to get you through, food, water, a change of clothes, spare medicine, glasses, cash, etc. The list is something that really needs to be tailored to your specific needs and those of your families and should allow you to make it to some safe location until whatever is happening is over. 


      Shelter in most cases is your home and would be the primary protection from the elements but as previously stated there might be times when you can't get home or your home no longer exists. When something like this happens having an option or two in place can relieve a great deal of stress. Most of us would opt to stay with a close friend of find a hotel or motel but if you are in the middle of a regional event your options may be limited as so much depends one the utilities being up, one limiting factor in you finding a place to stay would be how far you can drive on he fuel you have, no utilities usually means no gasoline flowing from the pumps, some stations have generators but don't depend on it. Keeping your fuel tank as full as possible is a good habit to have.  

     Shelter is one of those things that is dictated to you by several factors, weather and temperature will indicate the level of shelter you will need. Short of a nice air conditioned hotel room heat is best dealt with by staying out of it, find some natural shade such as a tree or hill, even the side of a building will help or under an overpass if it is safe. Water is the key in the heat and the more you have the more comfortable you will be.

     Sheltering for a cold climate can be just as rough as a warm climate and in this case you want to be as warm as you can without sweating as that can kill you. Short of a fire and that nice warm hotel room you do not have clothing in layers is one way to deal with the cold, being out of the wind will also reduce the wind chill factor significantly. Keep in mind as well that being near or on concrete or steal will sap the warmth right out of you, non conducting insulation such as cardboard of tree limbs and brush can be used in this situation. If you have the option of being with your car and the sun is out but it is cold then you can orient your car so it is receiving the maximum amount of solar radiation through the windows as possible. You will be surprised how warm it can get inside. When in cold country with your vehicle you should also store some cold weather gear in it, a couple of blankets can go a long way, how about a small 2 man tent, extra gloves, matches if you do have a chance to start a small fire, again every kit should be tailored to your specific region and weather or social/ political climate. 


     Security, especially personal security  is one of those issues that people have have very strong feelings about, some would not raise a finger to protect themselves under any circumstance and others will spend thousands of dollars on the best self defense instructor they can afford. The bottom line comes down to what you are comfortable with and what level you will take it too. A policeman in most circumstances in nothing more than a historian, they are there after the fact and that may or may not help you, as a victim you do not have the luxury of picking the time or the place of your victimization so it is up to you in how you want to deal with it, there are many option that are both lethal and not lethal but bear in mind that the best weapon is the one between your ears, if something doesn't feel right or look right then trust your gut, avoiding a situation is far better then having to deal with one.  Common sense and looking like a tough target as well as good situational awareness will keep you out of trouble in many cases but not all. Disasters and man-made events bring out the best and the worst of humanity and when you get down to it man and woman is not that far removed  from an animal when things stray beyond the norm. Katrina has shown us all the horrors needed to punctuate how cruel and vile we can turn on each other so plan accordingly.

Final Thoughts

     Please bear in mind that each and every subject here can be greatly expanded upon as well as other supplemental information that has been omitted here for the sake of brevity. Each and every situation as well as the different supplies will vary due to your taste, location or availability. This article is meant to be a very basic primer and it relates to how I would do certain things in certain situations and may not reflect how or what you may or may not be capable of, wow this sounds suspiciously like a disclaimer so on that note I hope you enjoyed the article and you gleaned some useful information out of it and as always your comments are welcome bot good and bad as well as any questions you might have. Please feel free to link to or re-post all or part of this article with proper attribution and a courtesy link back to me. Much appreciated.


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Jhess said...

Great post, these are things you should have in general. Even if 2012 does not happen lol

Scott R said...

Afternoon James,

To me the 2012 issue will just be another day for me, we have enough problems that we can rip from the headlines to justify prepping, I worry more about the day to day and weather related issues but who knows I might get run over on the sidewalk

Appreciate you stopping by

Healing Morning said...

Hey Scott, I'm finally getting over here to browse through your last several posts. This article was well written and delivered in a wonderfully calm, logical, reasonable manner. As we've both discussed in the past, I'm not on board with the willful hysteria that's being promoted right now. I just want to educate myself and learn skills that will give me control over my own health and well being, as well as for that of my loved ones.

Thank you for the time and effort you put into writing this for all of us. :)



Scott R said...

Dawn, appreciate the comment.

I will agree there is a lot of hysteria out there and some things are greatly overblown and that is why I try to stick with what happens to us in our daily lives or with real life situational examples that happen every day but I will admit that some of the big things do get my attention just because of human nature being what it is.

Thanks Dawn

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