Why Emergency Prep Isn’t Just for Preppers: 7 Must-Have Items
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Emergency preparation often has a connection with the zealous prepper who hoards rolls of toilet paper and water to outlast the next zombie apocalypse. While having fuel, food, and water for the next 10 years is a stretch for most, the government does recommend storing at least three days of essentials for an emergency.
An emergency can be anything from a natural disaster to job loss. While having three days of essentials may not provide long term needs, keeping a few extra essentials will minimize the stress of the situation.
If you aren’t at prepper status but would like to know what essentials are worth having, there are seven items to get started. These items group into basic needs, luxuries worth keeping, and long-term basics.
The Basics Everyone Needs
As many have learned from reality television shows, like “Survivor” and “Life Below Zero“, everyone needs shelter, water and food to survive. Individuals that have these items have a leg up when life takes an unexpected turn.
Often when emergencies occur there is no time to prepare, which is why everyone should have the basics. Individuals with the basics can live longer and help others.
Let’s take a deep dive into what things people should include in their shelter, food, and water preparation.
1. The Importance of Shelter
Everyone knows that having a place to stay that protects against the elements is vital during harsh weather. During an emergency, a place to stay is just as important, which is why when government officials can, they request citizens either shelter-in-place or shelter-at-home instead of evacuating.
Shelter-in-Place and Shelter-in-Home
There is a difference between sheltering-in-place and sheltering-in homes. Sheltering-in-place means no matter if the individual is at home, school, work, or driving, they take shelter where they are. However, sheltering-in-home means that individuals away from home should travel home and stay there.
While government officials will call for shelter-in-place and shelter-in-home policies when possible, there are circumstances when evacuations are necessary. In these situations, it is important to stay calm. If possible, bring some camping essentials like a tent and sleeping bags in case there isn’t room at the designated community shelter.
2. Survival Food List
Having food during an emergency is a must-have. However, the type of food that is stored is where things start to get tricky. Most people buy lots of food that needs to be frozen or refrigerated, but what if the emergency includes an extended power outage? Making sure that there is also food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated to stay fresh will ensure there is food to eat regardless of the situation.
The government advises storing at least three days worth of non-perishable food for each person. What this looks like is completely up to the person storing the food, but it is best practice to store foods that are enjoyed instead of items that the individual would normally never eat. It is also a good idea to rotate these foods, so they are less likely to go bad by the time they are needed.
3. Water Preparation
The average person can go without food for a couple of weeks before they will die. However, when they can go without water, they often won’t get past a couple of days. Our bodies are over 60 percent water, and without it, we quickly stop functioning.
The government has recommended storing at least three gallons of water per person. This water supply will give the average person the water they would need for three days.
Water Filtration and Purification
It is also important to have a way to filter water, so when this supply runs out, people can continue to live. There are several different ways to purify water.
Iodine, chlorine, reverse osmosis, UV light, water filters, and boiled water are a few of the many different water purification methods. However, if the individual wants to be sure that there are no contaminants, it is best to boil water and then drink the collected steam, also known as distilled water.
Luxuries that Would be Hard to go Without
When disaster strikes, the small luxuries can become a big boon to morale. Some luxuries that we don’t often think of are our climate-controlled homes and the machines in them.
These machines help us do everyday chores, like dishes, cooking, laundry, and refrigeration. They also keep our water hot and the lights on at night.
Having a way to keep these comforts running during an emergency makes life a lot easier.
4. Preparing With Solar Panels
The common thread that runs through most of these appliances is their dependence on electricity. Having a backup electricity source will make it so many, if not all, of the electricity-dependent devices in the home can be used during an emergency. One way for homeowners to generate their electricity is through solar panels.
Gather Power from the Sun With Solar Panels
Because of how solar panels work, a residential solar array can convert the light from the sun into electricity. During the day, homeowners with solar don’t need to worry about how they are going to wash their clothes, heat or cool the house, or keep the food in the fridge from going bad. However, in an emergency, solar needs a little help.
5. Increased Access to the Sun With Battery Backup
While most homeowners with solar don’t think they need battery backup because of their connection to the electrical grid, there are a couple of reasons why it is worth having. The first reason to have some form of battery backup for a solar array is that solar arrays turn off as a safety feature during power outages.
The second reason is that solar panels will not power anything when the sunlight is gone. However, homes with battery backup can store excess solar power produced during the day, and use it whenever it is needed.
Storing Excess Power in a Battery Backup Option
Storing excess solar power in battery backup allows the homeowner to use solar to its full potential. However, the amount of battery backup needed depends on the homeowner’s usage needs and budget, which is why Go Solar Group offers different levels of battery backup.
Necessities for Long-Term Survival
While not necessary for most emergencies, it is worth putting some preparation into long-term survival. Most think of this as living off the land for several years. However, it could just mean living a couple of weeks past an individual’s three-day supply of food and water.
On the surface, long-term survival includes determining where to get food and water. However, it also entails keeping up on hygiene and determining what protection items are necessary.
Necessities for the long run are different for each situation. However, there are a couple of versatile items that are worth having no matter the emergency.
6. Hygiene and First Aid Gear
Keeping up on hygiene is not only about making sure everyone smells okay, but it is also about health. Those that can continue to keep up on basic hygiene needs will have fewer health problems down the road.
Basic Hygiene Items
One of the most basic hygiene items to have is soap and water. Making sure that everyone’s hair, body, and hands regularly get cleaned helps decrease germ-related illnesses from impacting an individual’s health. Washing hands can reduce diarrhea-related illnesses by 30 percent and respiratory infections by 20 percent.
Other hygiene items that will help make life easier down the road are a toothbrush and toothpaste. Not keeping up on dental hygiene can cause unnecessary pain and health problems in an already stressful environment.
Things that Should be in a First Aid Kit
While grabbing a preassembled first aid kit from the store will provide basic needs for scrapes and scratches, it may not have essentials for emergencies. Having essentials to keep wounds cleaned and dressed and pain at a manageable level will make long-term survival a possibility for someone that needs immediate medical attention. It can also prevent a small injury from becoming a health issue.
Mayo Clinic provides a list of first aid items everyone should have. Some of the items on this list that most may not have thought of are superglue, duct tape, disposable gloves, insect repellent, and aloe vera gel.
7. Needs for Protection and Survival
Items that provide protection and increase survival in a long-term emergency also differ from one situation to the next. Having items that can serve a variety of purposes will increase preparation without needing something for every possible scenario.
Weapons Worth Having
One weapon that can serve a variety of purposes is a pocket knife. Pocket knives are useful for cutting things open, preparing food, and breaking things free. As a last resort, it could be useful for protection and hunting.
Another weapon worth having is a gun or bow. Which one to have is dependent on which one the individual is more comfortable using. Having an item like this is good for hunting purposes, and if necessary, for protection as well.
Setting up traps is another way to get food. They can be set up and then checked later instead of spending hours looking.
Sprouting and Long-Term Seeds
Seeds are another great investment in long-term survival. Growing both a garden with seasonal plants and sprouting seeds for immediate food is great to have regardless of the situation.