Emergency Preparedness



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Have you done any planning in case of an emergency? I don't believe any of us should be compulsive about this, but planning for possible problems is completely reasonable and responsible. Here is some information to help you get started.

Yahoo Shopping is a great place to look when you don't know where else to look for something - they have thousands of "shops".

Free Guidebook

You can get a free Emergency Preparedness Guidebook here from Are You Prepared - a web site that sells emergency preparedness supplies. The guidebook has lots of good ideas to get you started. Here is another one from the Los Angeles Fire Department.

If you want a printed copy, but these are too big for you to print yourself, save them to your hard drive, then click here to access Fedex-Kinko's print service. If you choose black-and-white printing, the cost is quite reasonable.

Water Storage

Water storage barrels are available at many places - try BA Products and BePrepared.com. I bought 2 of the 30 gallon barrels - they are small enough to fit in a closet, and we were thinking about moving into a condo at the time. You will also need to buy a bung wrench - a special wrench to remove the plugs that seal the barrels - and maybe a siphon pump. They are available on the same page.

 I have read 2 different approaches to disinfecting the water. One approach is to add a disinfectant when you fill the barrel - this keeps the water safe for 5 years. The other approach is to add some bleach to the water at the time you need to use it. Not a lot - 8 drops per gallon of water - but a) this did not sound appetizing, and b) assumes you will have bleach when you need it. The above web sites sells  products to add when you fill the barrels.


For short term nutrition, you can buy food bars - packaged in specific calorie sizes, and providing a complete, balanced - but very limited - diet. For longer term nuitrition, the most common type of packaged food is MRE - Meals, Ready to Eat. These are pre-cooked meals in a pouch, ready to eat as-is. They can be eaten cold, or heated in boiling water, or with a special heater pouch. Life span is 5 years or more. For truly long term survival, you can buy bulk, freeze-dried food that requires cooking.

Food bars and MRE's are available at lots of sites. Try Long Life Food Depot or Saratoga Trading Company. I bought a case of MRE's that included full meals - meaning deserts and snacks that I don't really need - I should have just gotten entrees. But if you have kids who might need something to distract them, the snacks may be worthwhile.


Don't forget about an emergency kit to keep in the car. And I would suggest including some good walking shoes - in case you are wearing something impractical when you need to walk home - and something to keep warm or dry. I bought some big, cheap, ugly/bright sweatshirts (2 for each car) at Alert Shirt.

And consider building an emergency kit for home - with candles, matches, a transistor radio, first aid kit, etc.

Another thing to think about is your critical computer data. I use a service called Connected which backs up your data to their data center. It's impractical to use to backup your entire system, to allow a restore of a working system - and you pretty much need high speed Internet access to use it. But it saved me recently when one of my hard drives crashed.