When my friend Shannah Game asked me if I’d join her on her Millennial Money podcast to talk a little bit about disaster preparedness – I was all for it. We’ve been developing some resilience and preparedness content here at KHS and I think Shannah was intrigued when I mentioned it to her, but also felt overwhelmed – as many people do, in the face of even thinking about disaster prep.
When I tell people I’ve recently gotten a lot more interested in preparedness, their initial instincts are typically pretty doom and gloom, with a dash of ‘the end of the world is near, can I join you in your bunker?’ So I figured this might be a fun opportunity to inspire my pal’s curiosity, and hopefully through her, inspire some curiosity in her audience! Being resilient to the things that life throws at us isn’t an all or nothing proposition. There are a hundred tiny things you can do every day to make your home (and life!) weather life’s storms a little better. And that’s a story the team and I can’t wait to tell!
Aside from sleeping in some sort of clothing, there is no simpler way to be prepared for emergencies than to know where a flashlight is. I like this set of smaller flashlights, that offer a good amount of light, take up very little space, and come with both a clip and a wrist cord. I’ve got one in my nightstand, by the front and back door, and in several other spots in the house!
There is no major event I want to survive without coffee. But in the simplest of events – a power outage – your coffee maker won’t work. Enter a much maligned friend from the past: Instant Coffee. Starbucks Via packets can be torn open, dumped into a water bottle or a mug, and consumed cold – or with a little ingenuity, heating up water for your favorite cup without a coffee maker can be done!
One of my favorite products that inspires much head scratching is the emergency water pouch. Originally created for the Coast Guard, emergency rations, and military use, these pouches are great to have around – especially in your car – where neither high or low temps will cause it to explode or leach chemicals. Grab a box and share with a friend – these tiny marvels have a 5+ year shelf life too!
Paperwork, keys, passports and copies of your most important documents are usually not top of mind, and all in one place. Buying a decent sized fire safe not only gives all of these things a home that’s easy to grab if you need to – but leaves a little room for mementoes, and cd’s of your wedding pictures you never printed.
An easy way to dip a toe into the supremely awesome world of solar power without having to cover a whole roof, consider getting a decent solar charger. If you keep it charged, it fills the cracks between plugs in your life, and using a free resource (the sun!) to charge your phone or tablet can be handy, and weirdly satisfying.
On a recent trip to the Dominican Republic, my husband and I rented a car and it had some serious issues while we were on the road from Punta Cana to Santo Domingo. While I was trying not to be sad about sacrificing a cute t-shirt for him to wipe the grease off, I remembered I had two of these body wipes in the bottom of my backpack. The larger size is so helpful for real messes, and just one did the trick! (which was great, since we needed the other one on the drive back!) I keep a few tucked into all my travel bags, glove boxes, and work bags now.
Some disaster preparedness items seem like they’ve only got a use if the world comes to an end. This LifeStraw water bottle is a wonderful thing to have on hand in case you’re out in the wild, on a camping trip or escaping zombies, to allow you to drink from any water source you stumble into. It’s also great for travel, as it filters out chemicals, bacteria, and protozoa – as well as removing odors and chlorine, so you’re a lot better off in a country where you’d be uncomfortable drinking the water.
When the power goes out, having a light source you can leave burning a while can be wonderful. These ‘candles’ feature liquid paraffin with a wick that you can adjust the height of, depending on how much light you prefer. Being smokeless and odorless, they make for a good resource if you’re spending a lot of time in a small space with other folks, and could power your board game challenge all through the storm, with up to 115 hours for each one.
Survival tabs are chewable emergency food, small and round, and not the most gourmet thing you’ll ever consume. While not unappealing, they are certainly a survival food. Backpackers use these sometimes because they do not weigh much, but deliver the nutrients needed to keep you going. With a 25 year shelf life, you can toss a bag of these into your car, bug out bag, and anywhere else you might get stuck without a sandwich and forget about them for … well, forever.
At the end of the day, it’s good to poke around at some survival products and materials, and start learning how to use a few. Having a familiarity with these tools and items is half the battle in a moment of duress, and we could all stand to be a tiny bit more prepared. Did you listen to the podcast where we chat about some of these things? If not, you can find Shannah, and the episode, here!