7 Things I Wish I Knew About Emergency Essentials When I First Started
When I first began improving my emergency preparedness and collecting emergency essentials, I focussed on storing food and water. I soon realized that to be truly prepared for a survival situation, I had to greatly increase the types of items I was gathering.
As I gathered emergency essentials, I made some mistakes and learned a lot. Here are some things I wish I knew about emergency essentials when I first started!
7) Only Certain Containers are Suitable for Storing Water
Storing water is one of the most critical aspects of emergency preparation. Each adult requires approximately one gallon of water (3.7 Liters) per person, per day. Without water, a human being quickly becomes dehydrated and can die in as little as 3 days. Water is also a crucial part of cooking meals, particularly if you have a large amount of rice or pasta stored.
How you store your water will determine how long it can be safely consumed. The best options for storing water are glass bottles, food-grade aluminum bottles or BPA-free food-grade plastic containers. All containers should be thoroughly sterilized, kept at a moderate temperate and kept air tight.
The water that is added to the container should be proofed, filtered and ideally should contain a small amount of chlorine to prevent the growth of bacteria. If consuming chlorine concerns you, re-filter the water before consumption.
Avoid storing water in:
- Plastic that is not food-grade
- Food grade plastic that has previously been used to store milk, fruit juice, or fruit.
It is very difficult to remove the sugars from the plastic, sugars which can increase the risk of bacteria growth
6) Have Test Runs For Certain Emergency Essentials
When I first bought my generator I tested it a couple of times and thought I had a good understanding of how it worked. 1.5 years later, when we had a blackout, I struggled to get it running — either the gas had gone stale or the starter was playing up.
Because I hadn’t been regularly testing it, it failed when I needed it the most.
Test your emergency essentials on a regular basis, particularly anything mechanical or electronic. I now have “prepper test runs” every 3 or 4 months, where I live off the supplies and equipment I have stored for an emergency situation.
5) Hygiene and Sanitation Supplies are Crucial
While food and water are crucial to survival in an emergency situation, hygiene and sanitation items should not be overlooked.
On another “prepper test run” I discovered that my health was starting to quickly deteriorate because I lacked hygiene supplies. Not only was I getting very smelly, I had a bacterial eye infection which occurred because of insufficient hygiene and sanitation.
Bring equipment to manage human waste disposal and have plenty of options for staying clean in an emergency situation. That means plenty of soap, hand sanitizer, toothpaste, toilet paper, moist towelettes, and anything else you need for an extended stay.
4) Variety is Essential
Eating the same food repeatedly for weeks on end can become very demoralizing and tiresome. That can become a huge problem in a survival situation when you need to be alert and energetic.
Your emergency essentials should include a wide variety of foods that you know you enjoy.
3) It is a Bad Idea to Store Your Emergency Essentials in One Place
You may have developed a substantial stockpile of emergency essentials, but if they are being stored in one location, you are risking it all!
Remember that there are a great variety of emergency situations and each one presents its own set of challenges and risks. If you only have one stockpile location and a serious flood event impacts your town, you could lose all of your supplies in one go.
By having a backup supply store that is in a separate flood-free location, you maintain part of your supply store and increase your chances of survival.
2) Collecting Emergency Essentials for Only One Emergency Event is Bad
If you live in an area that frequently has a particular type of emergency event, it easy to become fixated on preparing for that event.
For example, you might live in an area that has serious floods every 25 years, so you select your emergency essentials to deal that emergency situation. In my early days as a prepper, I mainly focussed on preparing for the big flood that usually occurs in my town every 25-50 years.
There are actually a wide range of emergency situations that could put you or your family in danger. It is important to assess if your emergency essentials are useful in other scenarios.
Will your stockpile help your family after civil unrest, earthquake, financial collapse, tornado or foreign invasion?
Consider more than one emergency situation to maximize your emergency preparedness.
1) A Wide Range of Pharmaceuticals Will be Required
As I mentioned earlier, my first attempts at making a stockpile focussed on food and water. While I did incorporate a basic first aid kit, I didn’t think about health and medicine as much as I should have.
Consider the illnesses and injuries that may occur during emergency situations. If you are preparing for a natural disaster like a flood or tornado, you should have medications to treat everything from an infected cut through to allergies and fevers.
Some items to add to your emergency essentials include:
- Broad spectrum antibiotics and colloidal Silver (a natural antibiotic)
- Anti-diarrhea medication and Stool softener
- Antihistamine medication
- Painkillers including aspirin and ibuprofen
- Natural remedies including tea tree oil (anti-fungal and disinfectant), Oregano Oil (anti-inflammatory and disinfectant) and Neem Oil (treats skin disorders)
- Medications to deal with extreme emergencies including Activated charcoal tablets (for dealing with toxins) and Potassium iodide capsules (for protect the thyroid after exposure to radiation)