Preparedness (2 of 2)

preparedness 2

(Continued from yesterday)

5. Medicine
Get a first-aid kit to disinfect and bandage up cuts, burns, and basic off-the-counter medicine to relieve pains, colds, flues, diarrhea, allergies etc. For prescription drugs, both government and private health insurance plans only provide for a 3-months supply. If you want longer you have to pay for it yourself.

6. Sanitation
You still need to use the bathroom even when you are in the dark and there is no heat. So get enough toilet paper and soap to maintain hygiene.

7. Communication
For outbound to call for help, cordless phones may not work when there is no power. The old land lines still do because they have their own backup generators. Keep extra power cells for your mobile phone. For inbound to receive news, a hand-crank short-wave radio is a good investment.

8. Safety
Our US neighbors would likely associate this with carrying firearms to protect against riots and looters. For Canadians not into carrying guns, this may mean retreating to rural areas until the dust settles, which in turn translates into having a means to evacuate. Since you can’t store large quantities of gasoline in the city, at least top up your fuel tank when it’s half empty. Gas stations, in addition to supermarkets, go empty very quickly when trouble starts.

9. Money
In these days of cashless society, few people have more than a couple of days of currency on them. But what if banks and ATMs are closed and you can’t use debit or credit cards for anything? Cash becomes king until normality is restored, or when bartering kicks in. Have enough cash on hand for essential goods and services to tie you over the crunch.

Others would add mental and physical preparation, travel documents, survival skills etc., but the above would be basic to get you and your family through the storm.

preparedness 4

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Preparedness (1 of 2)

preparedness 3

Q. You wrote on spiritual preparedness. How about the physical? What preparations would you recommend for tough times ahead?

A. Well, if you’re thinking about the end of the world, then you can hardly prepare enough to last through the Great Tribulation! Some people have actually built for themselves bunkers stocked with food and water, with a generator so they can survive for months or even years! But that would be beyond the reach of ordinary folks like us. How many people you know have a rural cottage where they can hunker down? Few, I suppose. Having said that, all of us should be prepared for shorter-term emergencies such as natural disasters e.g. snow/ice storm, hurricane, flood, or man-made ones like riots, terrorism, financial collapse etc.

What you need to prepare depends on many factors such as the type of disaster, its duration (days, weeks or months), your location (urban vs. rural), the season (summer vs. winter), how many members to your family (their age and health), your finances etc. But most people would focus on the following areas:

1. Water
On average, each person drinks 2 liters of water per day, plus use another 2 liters for cooking and cleaning. A large bottle of distilled water in grocery stores holds 18 ltr. or about 5 gal. Calculate the number of bottles you need based on how many people and how many days you want to prepare for.

2. Food
You need 2,000 calories per person per day, in a balanced diet of all 5 food groups:
• Carbohydrates – grain, pasta
• Vegetables – canned
• Fruits – dried
• Protein – beans
• Dairy – powdered
The problem is shelf-life, only 2-3 years for sun-dried or canned foods, which means rotation to replenish older stock. You can’t depend on the refrigerator either, as frozen food starts going bad when power goes out for more than half a day. Some buy MRE (meals ready-to-eat) packaged food, which have a shelf-life of up to 20-25 years if stored in a cool dry place. These are vacuum-packed, freeze-dried or dehydrated foods which you only need to add hot water.

3. Light
Conventional flash lights using batteries do not last very long. More energy efficient, longer lasting are LED nights. Better still if they have solar panel for recharging. You also need to store candles and matches.

4. Heat
The trouble with gas or oil furnaces is that the blower fan stops working when there is power outage. For that you need a generator hooked to essential appliances such as furnace, fridge, and some lighting. However, If you have a gas fireplace, they keep going even when power is out.

The other usage is for cooking. For short-term emergencies, get a camp stove or hot-pot stove that use propane or butane in containers. Make sure you avoid carbon monoxide poisoning by cooking or boiling water in a well-ventilated place.

(To be continued)