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Planning for Emergencies

This week for National Preparedness Month, let’s talk about making your plan for emergencies! There’s a plethora of emergencies that you can try to prepare for from flooding to space weather (think solar flares). Maybe you’re thinking that none of these could happen to me. They may or may not so it’s best to be prepared. What you need to focus on for yourself, your family, and your business is what are credible emergencies we may have to deal with. For instance, those in Ohio are less likely to see a hurricane and more likely to see a tornado. Florida is less likely to experience an avalanche, although it is Florida so let’s not rule anything out.

Start by determining what is a possible hazard for you and where you live. Also, think of areas you frequently visit like parents and grandparents’ homes or vacation spots. Things to consider are common severe weather for the area, population/city issues (riots and pandemics), power structure failures (dams and nuclear), and infrastructure collapse. Infrastructure collapse is a broad category covering everything from power outages, road/bridge maintenance (collapse/flooding), to a complete loss of government.

Now that you have your list of likely scenarios, let’s start planning for them. The broad strokes for planning for all these situations is the same. Identify the hazard and the impact, plan for immediate threats and long-term complications, and make a contingency plan for when the initial plan fails. For instance, let’s talk tornado. The immediate threat is, obviously, the tornado. Do you clear the area or shelter in place? That choice will depend on the size, direction, and proximity of the tornado. If its overhead, shelter in place. If its 1 mile out, gaining steam and heading your way, bug out.

Next, you survive the immediate threat, now what? What are the long-term complications? Is your home usable or is it a loss? If it is a loss, where do you go? If its usable, what’s the damage? Do you have power? What’s your backup to not having power for 3 weeks? Can you get food, water, groceries during that time? This is where you need to have stores of non-perishable items and fuel. Consider what you have to barter, cash may still be king, but a gallon of water may go a lot farther in a situation like this. Let’s say you have 2 weeks of food, 1 month of water, enough batteries and fuel to cook and survive at least 2 weeks. What is your contingency if something else happens?

You and your family survived, your house survived the immediate threat, your stores of supplies survived the initial tornado… but then Murphy’s law takes over and turns your plan upside down. Power has been down for 3 days and it’s getting cold at night. Your neighbor, in an attempt to keep everyone in their house warm, lights an oil lamp in the house and their cat knocks over the lantern. Their house goes up and the fire is spreading to your house. You and your family make it out, but you’ve now lost half your food, water, and fuel. What do you do next? What is your contingency? This is where having a secondary bug-out location with additional supplies can come into play. That secondary location doesn’t need to be another plot of land you own, maybe it’s an in-laws 250 miles inland or a cousin 2 hours south. These should be things you consider in your plans and create a network of people that can rely on each other in these situations.

Whatever the emergency, you need to survive first, then have a plan and contingencies after that. There is a famous quote that would apply to these scenarios too, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy”. Know that what you expect to happen and what you plan for, may go out the window immediately. Make your plans easy to follow and simple to understand. You need to be able to recall them quickly without referencing a 2” binder. And most importantly, once you have the plan, make sure your family knows it as well as you do.

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Bug Out Bag Prep

Continuing National Preparedness month, we wanted to talk about bug-out bags. The bug-out bag should be something you can grab quickly that is already packed with gear and supplies. You can have multiple bags, depending on the needs and how long you expect to be away from your home. We’ve talked about them once before in our blog but we wanted to hit it again. The key to remember is that different situations, emergencies, and geographical location can change what’s in your bag. This post will cover our feelings of the basics, as well as resources for more in-depth information.

There are a lot of things to consider as you pack your bag. One key is to remember that the bag needs to be a fluid, evolving item. Not something you forget about in the back of your closet. It should be reviewed and upgraded as needed. For instance, as we are starting to get towards the fall, my bags are shifting to include more waterproof and cold weather gear. I am also switching my BBQ flavored MRE’s to Pumpkin Spiced ones. All joking aside, food is something you should pack and should be checking expiration dates periodically. These bags need to adapt to your changing environments and the hazards you expect to encounter.

There are tons of lists out there of items you “need” to have in your bag. I choose to have several bags, each packed for different scenarios. I have a 24-hour, 72-hour, and “Never come home” set of bags. Remember to pack for all members of the family as you think about these kits. Include pets and anyone nearby that may bug-out with you, that doesn’t live with you. Think parents, grown children, or kids that may not live with you full time. Here is my take on the minimum items you need to have in a 24-hour bugout bag for 1 person.

• Prescriptions for 3 days (just in case)
• Water (at least 1 gallon)
• Matches/Lighter/Fire Starter
• First Aid kit with tourniquet
• Protein bars/Trail Mix/High Calorie food that tastes good
• Clothes: extra shirt, underwear, and socks
• Flashlight and batteries
• Emergency blanket/sleeping bag
• Moist towelettes/hand sanitizer

Again, there are tons of lists out there to help guide your decision on what you could add. This is not meant to be an all encompassing list, but a place to start for someone who has never tried. There is a lot more in my back including money, extra ammo, and solar charger. But what I pack may not meet what you need. I pack ammo for protection and hunting, you may be in an urban setting where hunting isn’t feasible. Make decisions that are best for you and your family. If you are packing a 24-hour bag, pack comfort food that people will enjoy, your family may already be upset and scared. Goldfish and cheez-its in a time in uncertainty can make a difference.

I am going to sound like a broken record here but Google searches,, and Superesse Straps are great resources as you decide how to build your own bags. Google and will give you the free minimum items that most everyday people could use. Superesse Straps takes those lists and puts them into another level, making sure that you are truly prepared. Whatever you chose to do, don’t put it on your “honey-do” list. Get off your phone or computer and go do it. Talking about it does no good if you aren’t prepared when all hell breaks lose, or SHTF.

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September is National Preparedness Month!

September is National Preparedness Month! We will be releasing a few short blogs and links to resources to help you prepare. To begin, you should put together a plan. Each plan will need to be specific to your group, but below is a basic framework to follow. 

First, you need to determine communications. If you are all together that’s easy, but what happens if some of you are at home, some are at school, and others working? It’s easy to say, “everyone has cell phones”, but as we’ve seen in times of national emergencies the cell towers can’t be the only means of communicating. They get flooded with traffic, or the towers themselves can be damaged. 

Second, know if you are going to shelter in place, or bug-out! What are the reasons you would secure your home and bunker down, vs. when is it smarter to move to a secondary location? One easy one is when there is a Shelter in Place order, makes the choice obvious. But how will you secure your home? Do you have the materials on hand to do so? If it’s a hurricane coming, bugging out to a secondary location inland, or maybe even a tertiary location inland and on higher ground, may be the best option. When you think about these, remember communication. If cell towers are down, how will you communicate with those outside of the house that you made the choice to bug-out and to which location? 

Lastly, you need supplies. If you are going to shelter in place you need to be prepared to securely and safely stay in that location for however long you see fit. As we have seen with the power outages in New England recently, many went 2 weeks without power. So, loading up your deep freeze may not be the best option if you don’t have secondary power and fuel to feed it. If you are bugging out, you need the supplies to get you to a secondary location and possibly back home. If you can’t go back home, do you have enough supplies stored at another location to survive?

There are a ton of resources including free ones from and tons more if you just google it. If you want the Cadillac of preparedness documents that will give you the best start, check-out ICERS from Superesse Straps. They have a big library of documents (linked here) worth checking out. Everything from ICERS, bug-out bags, and target hardening. I have no affiliation with them and get no kickbacks, I paid for most of their library personally and I am telling you from my experience, it’s worth it! 

In the next couple weeks I will also post blogs about building your bug-out bag, deciding to shelter vs bug-out, and more.