All of you who have been through my classes
know that I am not an alarmist. Instead, I am just the
opposite. To me, blizzards, floods and all the rest are not
disasters but adventures. I always ask, "What are you going
to tell your grandchildren 25 years from now?" Are you going
to tell them about the traffic jam that you got caught in on
the commute home, or are you going to tell them of the great
blizzard or flood that you lived through".
People seem to worship safety, security and
comfort as a god, but what we remember the most in life are
the intense times that we were not safe, secure and
comfortable. These are the times we become the most alive,
and these times are not just remembered, but relived. When
it comes to emergencies, there is one saying that comes to
mind. Be prepared. But be prepared sensibly.
What follows are some suggestions of what you
can do to be sensibly prepared for emergencies. Remember,
though, that your supplies need to be close at hand when an
emergency occurs. This means remembering to have such items
in your car, your backpack and your home. They do you no
good if you take a hike away from camp and your backpack and
an emergency occurs far from your supplies.
First, put away a supply of non-perishable food
that would last you two weeks or more. This way if there is
a disruption in the food service deliveries to markets, you
will not be affected. Buy things you use anyway, just a
little extra. Rotate your stock to maintain freshness.
So, too, should you stock up on bottled water. Make sure you have your own supply to fall back upon.
Important Documents and
Now is a good time to make sure you have all your important
documents ready for any possible emergencies.
Many times a little extra cash can be a big
help when something breaks down - whether its the ATM or
your car. That extra cash can really come in handy if it is
stashed away and only used in an emergency.
It is best to make sure that if you are taking
any medication on a regular basis, that you have enough on
hand, not only for yourself, but for all members of your
First Aid Kit
Another suggestion is that you have your first
aid kit well stocked, along with many over the counter
medications, vitamins and supplements that you may need.
Gasoline for Automobiles
I would also advise that you fill your
automobile's gas tank when you have sufficient warning of a
hurricane, snowstorm etc. Always keep it as full as possible
when potential threats appear.
It is also important to consider the
possibility of heat and electricity being disrupted. If you
have a standard outside grill, make sure that you have
enough charcoal or propane to allow you to cook. Remember;
NEVER bring the grill inside the house, basement or garage.
There is an extreme danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. If
you have a wood burning stove or fireplace, make sure that
it is clean and in working order. Also, make sure that you
have enough firewood on hand to out-last any outage. If you
don't have a fireplace or wood stove, you may want to invest
in an alternative and safe heating source such as a kerosene
or propane stove designed for safe use indoors.
I would also suggest that you get a large ice
chest or cooler and fill it with ice as a possible storm or
emergency approaches, just in case the refrigerator loses
power. If you store your ice in sealed freezer bags, your
ice can be an emergency source of water, too.
Some people have also invested in a small
generator, but remember these are for outdoor use and are
not to be brought indoors.
Remember to have candles, flashlights and
kerosene lamps on hand. As always, exercise extra care with
candles and lamps indoors. Carefully think through and
consider fire safety and ventilation issues.
Have plenty of extra batteries on hand.
Have a good battery operated radio with you.
I also suggest that you have board games,
playing cards, books, puzzles and other reading material
available. Who knows, a power outage may reinvent real
Don't forget those other important members of
your family, your pets. Consider their food and water
needs, too. If any of your pets are taking medications, be
sure you have enough on hand for them.
Family Emergency Planning
It is important that each member of your family
knows where all of the emergency gear is stored and how it
works. This is especially important for very young children
who may be upset with any disruption in normal life. My wife
Debbie suggests that you make a game of teaching them how to
deal with any disaster. For instance, play a game of turn
out the lights one evening, gather the family together in
the living room and talk or read by candle light or flash
light. This way they get used to the strange surroundings
and conditions and will not easily be frightened during the
time of a real disaster situation. Remember; be prepared
means for your children too.
Finally, not to push my own publications and
books, but I would like to suggest that you read, my book on
City and Suburban Survival. By just reading this survival
guide you will gain so much confidence and positive mental
attitude, even if you never use the things you learn. You
can find it at many libraries and order it through most book
Most of all, treat any real or imagined threat
as an adventure, not something to agonize over. Remember
when you were a child and couldn't wait for a blizzard to
give you a day off from school? Well, recapture that feeling
and an emergency might become an adventure.