Some people call it hoarding. I just call it smart. Natural disasters like Hurricanes and last year’s catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan have awakened many to our vulnerabilities.
Here are four emergency disaster supplies you should store to better face the unexpected:
Whether for cooking, driving or heating, a backup supply of fuel sources is a necessity (if you have a generator, you know how vital a fuel supply can be). Gasoline can be safely housed in 5-gallon containers and rotated through every few months. If you have a propane-powered grill, good news: Propane is one of the easiest and safest fuels to store. A supply of seasoned wood is also a necessity if your emergency plans include the use of a fireplace, wood-burning stove or cooking over a campfire.
Ready to Eat Food
Store foods that do not require refrigeration: items like tuna, dried fruit, granola bars, peanut butter, jerky, and V-8 juice provide energy without any preparation. Few people feel up to the challenge of cooking hearty meals when a crisis hits, so the simpler the better.
A few additional items to consider: pudding cups, seeds and nuts, packets of instant milk, and MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), which can be purchased online and in emergency supply stores. By the way, if you store canned food, don’t forget to also keep at least one manual can opener at the ready!
A Source of Light... and Batteries!
Earthquakes and even bad weather are just a few ways that nature can take down power lines, plunging homes and businesses into darkness. Have a supply of flashlights (LEDs provide the longest battery life), headlamps and lanterns along with plenty of batteries.
You can also bring solar pathway lights indoors when the sun goes down. Be careful about using candles with open flames as a light source, though, especally with young children around.
The most basic of the basics, clean water becomes more precious than gold when it’s unavailable. You’ll need stored water for drinking, cooking, sanitation, bathing, and, at some point, laundry.
Store plain tap water in cleaned out 2-liter soda bottles and stock up on cases of bottled water. If space allows, larger water containers can be stored outdoors.
In addition to water, be sure to also have at least two ways to purify water. Unscented bleach is a good option: it takes just eight drops of bleach to purify a gallon of water, 16 drops if the water is cloudy. But be forewarned: bleach has a shelf life of just one year, and begins to lose potency after just a few months. Buy a new bottle every six months and begin using the old one for laundry and cleaning purposes.
Another easy way to purify water is to boil it, but this requires a fuel source. Plan ahead if you choose this option.
It is always a good idea to be prepared for what nature (or mankind) dishes out! Now's the time to stock up before something happens and this stuff flies off store shelves. Maybe buy a few at a time, as you shop. Let's hope and pray we never need to use it as intended.
One more thing... don't forget to have one of these handy!