Archive for bug-out bag

Creating A Basic Starter Emergency Kit

Do you have a basic emergency kit? Governments around the world are encouraging their citizens to be prepared in light of more frequent disasters, both natural and man-made (Germany, Russia). Your basic kit should include everything you need to ensure your survival for several days or until help arrives.

Drinking Water

One of the first things that will get you into trouble in any type of disaster or emergency is sawyerwaterfilterdehydration. Make sure you have safe drinking water for several days stored. A good alternative or addition is a small water filtration system you can use on unsafe water sources to extend drinking water. I have the Sawyer portable water filter. It can filter up to a 100,000 gallons of water and includes a cleaning plunger to periodically clean off the filter.

Food and Accessories

Next, it’s good to have at least some emergency food rations. This is particularly important if you have small children, pregnant or nursing women, elderly, or anyone with diabetes or low blood sugar in your family. They can make it even fewer days or hours with food than you can. Keep some easy, ready to eat food on hand like granola bars, nuts, and canned foods. Make sure you have any tools or accessories you need to open the food containers and utensils to eat with. Manual can openers can be super cheap. I suggest keeping 2 of the really cheap ones in your evacuation bin just in case one breaks.sosrationsemergencybars

Focus on food items that won’t perish quickly and that can be eaten cold in a pinch. Chances are power will be out and you’ll have no way to cook or heat the food you’ll be eating. Something like these S.O.S. Rations emergency bars would be good. They’re compact, have a lot of calories, and will help keep you alive until you can get to something better (note: doesn’t taste like candy, if you know what I mean).

Radio, Flash Light, and Cellphone

Next, let’s talk about small electronics, or electric, hand-cranked devices. You want to be able to get the information you need and see where you’re going. A good flashlight with long battery life is aacuriteweatherradio must, as is a small weather radio. This can be battery operated or hand-cranked. I previously mentioned this battery- and ac-powered weather radio that we have. We’ve had it since 2012 and have not had any problems with it. If you’re using battery operated devices having a spare set of batteries in your kit is always a good idea.

Last but not least, when disaster strikes, grab your phone and charger, if possible. You want to be able to get in touch with loved once as soon as possible. I recommend also keeping a paper copy of your contact list in your evacuation bin.

First Aid Kit

Afirstaidkit small first aid kit that includes bandages, alcohol wipes, Band-Aids, scissors, and some basic pain medicine is another must have. Make sure it also includes any medication you take regularly. If you have family members with severe allergies, antihistamines or even an epi-pen may be an important and potentially life-saving addition. You can start with a commercial kit and then build on it according to your family’s needs.

Assorted Tools

There are various tools that may come in handy in an emergency. A good knife is a must and can come in handy in a variety of different ways. A wrench or pair of pliers is handy if you need to turn of utilities in an emergency. A multi-tool can have myriad uses. Last but not least, consider adding a whistle and flashing light or emergency flares to your tool kit so you are able to alert rescuers to your location.

Also include a few days worth of clothes and basic hygiene items for each family member. Remember to change these clothes out seasonally and as sizes change!

You may not be able to get everything right away, but getting anything is better than getting nothing!

PS. I have the bin in the featured image. It’s 27 gallons, professional grade and you can find it here.

5 Ways To Keep Important Documents Safe And Secure

We hope and pray that nothing will happen to our home, but it’s a good idea to be prepared “just in case.” You likely have insurance on your home and many material things in your house can be easily replaced should disaster strike. Other things like photos and important documents can be hard or impossible to replace. Missing documents can make it harder to rebuild after disaster strikes. That’s why it is a good idea to keep them safe and secure.

1. Invest In A Fire Safefiresafe

A good fire safe will survive a lot of damage. Invest in a quality one for any documents you want to keep at home. You can get a fairly small box that can be stashed away in a closet or cabinet. Make sure both you and your spouse know where the safe is kept and has a key to open it.

2. Get A Bank Deposit Box

You may also want to rent a bank deposit box and store important documents, or notarized copies of them there. This will come in handy when you need the information on the documents (i.e. your insurance policy number), or you need to replace documents that didn’t survive a home emergency.

3. Make Physical Copies

It’s amazing how much easier it is to get a replacement passport or birth certificate if you have a copy of the original. That’s why it’s helpful to make these paper copies and keep them in a secure offsite location (like a bank deposit box). You could also keep them at a family member’s home. Make sure the copies are stored safely to avoid issues like identity theft.

4. Make Digital Copies And Store Them Online

Go ahead and scan the documents or take pictures of them with your phone and store them on a secure online server. Places like One Drive, or even Google Photo, will store quite a bit of information for you free of charge. Since your document scans are living in the cloud, you can easily access them from anywhere with your phone or a borrowed computer. This also makes it easy to email them off to insurance agents, or government officials to get replacement documents made.

5. Upload to Thumb Drives

Upload copies of your important documents to thumb drives. You can keep one in your purse or thumbdriveswallet, car, everyday carry bag, and your bug-out bag. Set passwords so that they can’t be accessed if lost or stolen. Thumb drives frequently go on sale; I recommend purchasing them ‌in multi-packs.

Spend a little time this week to sort through your most important documents and get your paperwork in order. It won’t take you long to scan them, take pictures of them, and/or make photo copies. The little work you’re doing now to be prepared will potentially safe you a lot of headache down the road.

Schedule it on your calendar to revisit your documents every 6 months to make sure everything is up to date and in order. Once the original setup is done, it will be much easier to keep up with it. You’ll likely only need to change out one or two document copies a year.

Hurricane Emergency Preparedness Tips


With the possible approach of Hurricane Matthew, I thought I would put together some hurricane preparedness tips.

If you live on the coast (or within a few hundred miles of the coast) in an area that is prone to hurricanes it’s important to be prepared and to keep an eye on the weather forecast, particularly during hurricane season. If you’re new to the area, or if a rare hurricane is heading your way, here are some important tips to help you prepare and stay safe.

Know When A Storm Is Approaching

It’s impossible to be prepared if you don’t know what’s coming and when. In this day and age it is easy to stay alert to any severe weather threats including hurricanes. Hurricanes have the added benefit of being one of the very few natural disasters that we can see coming from a long way off. Set up severe weather alerts on your phone, watch the news, or keep up with the National Hurricane Center website at

Secure Your Property

Hurricanes bring a lot of rain and strong winds with them. Use the time you have before the storm reaches you to secure your property. Bring in things like patio furniture or grills that could be thrown around and possibly into a window by the storms. If you’re anything like us, remember to also check livestock areas for loose items such as buckets left out for easy water/feed/supply transport.

Before hurricane season starts, it may also be a good idea to evaluate any trees on your property and have them cut back or cut down if needed. If you’re prone to flooding having a few sandbags around to keep water from entering your home may also be a good idea. They sell them on Amazon in several sizes: 14″ x 26″, 15″ x 27″, 18″ x 30″.

Prepare To Ride It Out

If you plan on riding out the storm at home and have not been asked to evacuate, make sure you are prepared to lose power and be stuck at home for several days. Make sure you have plenty of clean drinking water and food stored.

FEMA says 3 days worth of water; that may not be enough depending on your source of water. Our power was out for 9 days during the derecho in 2012. We stayed with my mom in the city during that time (they were only out 1 day), but I can see where it would not be unreasonable to try to store 2 weeks worth of water. I know a lot of people won’t have the space for that much water; due to its weight, you may not want tall stacks of cases of water in one spot (about 50 lbs per 6-gallon case from Costco/Sam’s Club). We are on a well and need electricity to get to our drinking water. If we lose power during a snow event, I can get water from other sources, such as the river across the street, and treat it. If we lose power due to heavy rains, there’s going to be a lot of sediment in the katadynfilterriver water. You need to be able to deal with an outside source of water if you can’t store enough. I just bought the Katadyn TRK Drip Ceradyn Water Filter. It has ceramic filters that can be washed and reused for years. It can treat about 39,600 gallons of clear water (150,000 L) on the original ceramic filters. You do have to scrub off the filters occasionally.

It helps to have food that’s ready to eat if the power goes out and you can’t cook outside because of the weather. In other words, stock up on some canned good and things like crackers, peanut/nut butter, and bread. Walmart has even started carrying several types of organic canned beans (I try for as little BPA as possible, though we do still use conventional canned food as well).acuriteweatherradio

Keep a battery operated weather radio handy so you can continue to monitor the situation. We have an AcuRite 0851-RX and it’s been working well since 2012.

Evacuate If Needed – The Earlier The Better


Don’t be HERE when the storm comes!

If you are asked to evacuate, don’t hesitate to pack up and head out. Things can be replaced, people can’t. The earlier you leave the better. You don’t want to be stuck in a lot of traffic with a huge storm at your back.

Make sure you know your evacuation routes well ahead of time and have alternate routes planned as well. Head to a shelter if you must. These places quickly get crowded though, so if you have alternative options like staying with a family member or friend, take advantage of them. This is the reason for having a bug-out bag or box (BOB). I’ll be doing a post on bug-out bags soon. Also remember to take easily portable items that you might not want to fall into the hands of looters (and I’m NOT talking about TVs here).

Have Emergency Contact Information Handy

Create emergency contact information including non-911 numbers for the local police department and emergency services, your insurance company, doctors, and of course all family members. Having these numbers with you will come in handy when you have to leave at the spur of the moment. Don’t rely on electronic devices. Power may be out and a good old fashioned index card or planner with important numbers on it will come in handy.

What tips would you add? Let me know in the comments below!