Practical Preparedness Part 3

What are we not going to talk about?The Zombie Apocalypse (TEOTWAWKI)– This is the straw-man ‘The End of the World as We Know It’ scenario from movies and TV shows like The Walking Dead. The odds of this specific scenario happening are slim-to-none, but it is illustrative in some regard. However we are going to discuss getting by in more likely scenarios and if you think the zombies are coming, you can use what you learn then too.Conspiracies – There are many conspiracy theories and we won’t have the bandwidth cover any of them. This is not my area of experience or expertise. Suffice to say if your conspiracy theory involves having to be prepared for the failure of services or supply chain then what we discuss will help, but I won’t use this as the basis of any discussion. What equipment/supplies do I need?This answer also varies, but there are some solid guidelines provided by FEMA and the Red Cross. The general consensus is that at a minimum you need to be ready to get buy without services or supplies for a minimum of three days in an emergency or disaster. This means three days without water, food or other supplies coming from outside your little world. As I write this, I’m about three weeks after a nearly week-long outage of utility power in the wake of an ice storm. The power outages were widespread and I’m pleased to report that pretty much everyone I know coped with them well despite it being quite cold. I like to say that you should be prepared ideally to go at least one week without outside support, and thirty days in the event of a supply chain failure. That means a weeks worth of water and up to thirty days of food, medicine, cleaning products and other supplies you deem necessary to survival. In reality shortages of various supplies could last longer but the idea of being without food for more than a month in North America, Western Europe and the developed parts of Asia is pretty remote based on history, but your mileage may vary in other regions of the world. WaterSo let’s talk about water. Water is a crucial supply and vital for survival. You can survive three days without it, but it is very unhealthy to do so. So how much water do I need in an emergency? The short answer is one gallon per person, per day. This is is a guideline provided by the CDC, FEMA and the Red Cross. More would be nicer, and certainly you could get by with less, but it’s a great basic guideline. These linked articles are both VERY good in their own right and worth a read. FEMA Basic PreparednessCDC article on Emergency Water SupplyGiven the guidelines we have so far, does this mean you need a barrel with a gallon of water per person per day for three days to be prepared? Maybe. Certainly there are folks that do this. The recommended supply of a gallon per-person for three days for a family of four is twelve gallons. Seem like a lot? Do you have a hot water heater? My hot water heater tank holds 40 gallons. So I have that much water sitting in a tank at all times. There’s a spigot for draining the tank for maintenance and I could, in time of dire need, hook up a hose to the tank, shut off the heater so it isn’t damaged by trying to run while partially empty, and draw off the water as I need it. However, my home is serviced by an on-site well and pump, so if I need water, I simply need electricity to run the pump. Your home may be on a municipal water system and you can use the water from the tap even if the pressure is low, by simply boiling it to remove any potential contaminants before using it to drink or for cooking. Most people simply buy several large flat-packs of bottled water when they are on sale and set them in the corner of the basement, but this might not be feasible for someone living in a very small apartment. If you find yourself so-constrained, you can simply go to a home store like Lowes and buy a few five-gallon plastic buckets (with lids!) and fill them with tap water. That’s fifteen gallons of fresh water and three durable, clean plastic buckets you can use for all sort of things in an emergency. Don’t overlook natural sources of water! I live about fifteen miles from a known natural spring that produces potable water all day and night and people that live nearby use it as a water source simply because the water is SO good tasting. It’s free, you simply need to take suitable containers. Are you lucky enough to live near such a resource? It’s worth looking into. Does that all seem simple? It is simple! Remember, the biggest thing is the mindset. How you think about preparing.

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