Thursday, February 7, 2013

Storm Season

A few weeks ago, at the start of the storm and snow season, I decided to prepare an emergency kit, to help us get by in case of a situation, such as the extended power outages that happened last year. I consulted many resources to build my kit, and here are the conclusions. This might come in handy now more than ever if you’re on the east coast, as it appears a major storm is about to hit.

Essentially, any house in the USA should be ready for emergencies, because there are always SOME risks. Some places are at risks of storms, others flood, and some earthquakes and tsunamis. Any house, in my opinion, should be ready not only for an extended outage (which would typically be accompanies by shortage of supplies), but also for a situation where you have to quickly leave your house for some reason, and travel as equipped as possible to live independently, but also as light as possible.

The primary concern is typically food and water. For food, I elected to purchase food pellets from SurvaivalTabs, which provide 20 calories each of well-balanced protein, carbs, fats and vitamins. A normal adult lives off about 2000 calories per day, and around 1000 on a harsh diet, but can survive on a lot less. A bottle of 180 tablets weight only 2 pounds and has 3600 calories (and they are quite tasty too). The manufacturer suggests 12 tablets a day as enough to survive, which means one bottle could keep an adult alive for over two weeks. I think 30-40 tablets a day is more realistic, which still means you can live off one bottle for almost a week.

There’s some controversy regarding water intake. “Official” resources say a human needs at least ½ a gallon a day. I believe this is greatly exaggerated, as I rarely drink more than ¾ gallons a day and I can survive on a lot less. Either way, the kit should keep one well for at least 4-5 days, and it’s unrealistic to carry around that kind of weight around. Luckily, my area (Seattle, Washington) has tons of water sources – lakes, ponds and Puget Sound itself, so I opted to carry 3 liters of water (1.5 Gallons) per person, and a portable water filter. I packed 6 bottles of 24 Oz each.

With the other things I’m about to list, the weight was considerable, so I needed to pack it all in a way that I can carry around without killing myself. To do this, I purchased hiking-class backpacks. These come in sizes of 35 liters and above, and two 55-liter packs were enough for everything (we also carry supplies for our 2.5 year old son). You can buy such packs in many places, but store prices are pretty high. Instead, I purchased Kelty Redwing 44 from Amazon, which were $55 each, with free shipping.

Another thing I wanted to have was copies of our important documents and info. I printed copies of our passports, drivers’ licenses, green cards, a copy of our home insurance contract and a copy of our will. I also made a list of important info, like bank accounts, phones, info of my lawyer, and regional emergency info. I also got a large USB drive (32 GB), and copied on it my entire “my documents” folder (which I’ll have to update occasionally, of course). I put all this in a water-tight container, which would also float. I also purchased 10 pieces of 1 OZ of Silver in bullion form and put these in another watertight container. The silver could be used instead of cash in many situations.

I wanted to have some kind of weapon too, but nothing too dangerous or heavy, so I got a sling, with a box of metal pellets. The pellets can be almost as powerful as a bullet in the right hands, and it’s not sensitive to weather, moisture or almost anything else. You also never run out of ammo, as you can use it to sling rocks too.

Other equipment I got for the kit includes:

·         Emergency thermal blankets
·         10 diapers
·         Light-sticks
·         Cable ties
·         Duct tape
·         First aid kit
·         Whistles
·         LED floating flashlight + battery
·         6 ID bracelets (I’d put one on my toddler, in case he gets lost)
·         Gloves (3 pairs)
·         String spool
·         Weatherproof matches
·         Moist wipes
·         Emergency ponchos
·         Craw-bar
·         Plastic bags – small (sealable)
·         Plastic bags – large (sealable)
·         Plastic bags – very large (trash size)
·         Ibuprofen tabs
·         Aspirin tabs
·         Burn gel
·         Acetaminophen tabs
·         Emergency tool (whistle+thermometer+mirror+compus)
·         Multitool (knife, pliers, can opener)
·         Emergency electronics charger (battery+solar)
·         Walkie Talkies (18 miles) + batteries
·         LED Lantern (lasts 50 hours)
·         Dust masks
·         NOAA radio (wind-up charging)
·         Hand sanitizer

I got almost all of the above on eBay and Amazon. Including the backpacks, the entire content cost about 400$.