Notes From The Bug Out Bag

15 Jan

Emergency Preparedness 101: Lions and Tigers and Bears… OH MY!

But it really doesn’t need to be all doom, gloom, spooky forests, and long leggedy beasties.

Hello everyone, my name is Brett D Matthews and it’s my pleasure to chat with you about something that has turned out to be a calling for me, and that’s Emergency Preparedness.

Each month I’ll be bringing something to the forefront of your attention, and I’ll be suggesting some tips, tricks, and techniques on how you can become more prepared for those pesky little, and sometimes really big, things that always seem to happen in our already busy lives.

The first thing I want everyone to know is that you don’t need to prepare for every single possibility. I mean, gee whiz, if you were going to prepare for: earthquakes, climate change, cyber-attack, power outage, space weather, winter storms, sinkholes, house fires, civil unrest, epidemic, peak oil, personal health, flood, heat wave, pathogen release, home invasion, oops… sorry I meant to NOT scare you with my thoughts (and I was actually only about a fourth of the way done). My point is that there are simple things that you can do to prepare yourself and your loved ones that will benefit you regardless of the critical stress event. We can save some of the specific preparations for down the road.

There is an enormous amount of information available on this subject. I just now searched “Emergency Preparedness” and in .47 seconds I got 16.5 million hits, “Bug Out Bag” returned 22.8 million in about the same half second. That, by the way, is a great indicator of how this issue has been commercialized by folks trying to sell you something. It can be overwhelming to sift through this subject and determine the best course of action for you and your family. The important thing is to not let yourself become paralyzed by it. I like the phrase that goes something like “Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything; do something.” If you’ve stayed with me for this long congratulations on doing something. You’re learning. This is ultimately the most important thing you can be doing. I believe that knowledge weighs nothing, let that sink in… “Knowledge Weighs Nothing.”

If I know that, barring serious injury or illness, water is THE most important thing to sustain my life, and I also know that I need to promptly shut off the water main to my house in case of an earthquake, then by doing this I’m going to have 50 or so gallons of that precious, life sustaining commodity in my water heater. If I also know how many drops of sodium hypochlorite (regular household bleach) it takes to purify the water IN THE TANK, not the bowl (hehe) of my toilet, I’ve got a few more gallons.

In case you didn’t catch it, my tip for this month is that water is, in my opinion, the most important resource you can start your preparations with. Most of the reputable sources say that we need to set aside three gallons per person, per day for three days. That’s– let me see– that’s about 9 gallons each. Now then, here in the Portland area, the experts say we need to extend that out to 10-14 days. Hmmm, a minimum of 30 gallons for each person in my family. Now here comes the part where you don’t get paralyzed by the fact that your family of five needs three-55 gal barrels of water. Just pick up a case of water next time, or every time, you go grocery shopping, do something, even just a little bit, now. If you start thinking about how you don’t have the room for those barrels you might not even get started. Don’t allow yourself to be one of the folks that says “I never thought it would actually happen to me”.

Oh, by the way, that water heater of yours doesn’t hold much water when it’s laying on its side leaking all over the place because you didn’t install a seismic strap on it.

Replacing Fear with Preparation,

Brett D. Matthews