Being well prepared looks like a lot of work. Truth: It can be a LOT of work.
There are simple things you can do that will put you ahead of your friends and neighbors…
…in 46 minutes or less. And with very little effort…
Most disaster events take 72 hours to either resolve or for help to arrive. This is true in urban disasters and getting lost in the woods. Preparing to stay alive for three days in your home, in most cases, is not difficult or expensive to accomplish.
With that in mind, here are 7 steps you can do today that will put you way ahead of the curve. The life you save will most likely be your own.
Ready… Set… GO!
72 Hours of Water Storage
Put three gallons of water on your grocery list for each person in your home. The easiest way to do this for most people is buying a case or two of bottled water.
The rule is one gallon of water per person per day. However, this is a very general rule. If you are in a hot and or arid region consider adding a little more.
Conventional wisdom says not to store bottled water on a bare concrete floor. The short of the long is a theory that harmful chemicals will leach into the water. I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the last 4 or 5 years looking for an actual study that backs this up. To date, I can’t find. That being said, better safe than sorry. Break down and spread out an old cardboard box. The set your water on top of it. You can get fancier with your water-concrete barrier if you feel the need.
Time: 1 minute…
When was the last time you checked the batteries in your smoke detector? I see… Yeah, most people are bad about that. Now’s a perfect time.
Fire extinguishers do not stay charged forever. Fortunately, they all come with easy to read gages. Examine yours and ensure that it is fully charged. Also ensure that yours is a type ABC to cover all your bases.
Time: 5 Minutes…
One of the easiest things I did to prepare was signing up for a First Aid/CPR/AED class. The Red Cross has a very easy online sign-up process. They are not the only game in town though. You can always look into other options by running a quick online search to see what other organizations offer First Aid/CPR/AED classes in your area.
A note to remember: It’s considered bad form to slip your CPR partner or dummy the tongue.
Time: 10 minutes…
You know where your front door and back door (if you have one) are. But have you considered other ways out? Also, if you live in a high-rise, do you know how the fire escapes work and where the stairs are?
Grab a pen and a piece of paper. Then take a few minutes and make a quick sketch of your home. Walk around the interior and find a window in each room that will make a good exit. Check to make sure it opens easily. Mark it on your sketch.
If you have have a fire escape, note it on your sketch and take a moment to see how it works. If you find that it does not work, or that you’re not sure how it works, make a note of that.
Go outside and see if there is anything that makes any of the exits you marked a problem. Correct issue or choose alternate as necessary.
Time: 20 minutes…
Let There Be Light
Eye site accounts for approximately 90% of the information we have about the world around us. Thus, Murphy has a law about this (or he does now). In most disaster situations, whether large or small, it will be night and we will be without electricity. To top it off, we’ll also probably be in bed.
Time to check the batteries of the flashlight in our night stand.
Wait, you don’t have one? The good news is most grocery stores have them for pretty cheap. And you were already going there anyway. We’ll cover that next.
Time: 1 minute…
Make a Shopping List
While running through this exercise you probably found that you were missing a couple items. Fortunately, there isn’t anything mentioned in this article that isn’t at your grocery store–most likely.
Here’s a reminder list:
- Did you have batteries for all your smoke detectors?
- Did you find you had no smoke detectors?
- Did you need a new ABC Fire Extinguisher for the kitchen?
- Did you need batteries for the flashlight in your nightstand?
- Did you need a flashlight to put those batteries in?
Time: 4 minutes…
Mark Your Calendar
You may have a few items that require a follow up. Plus, you don’t want to forget your First Aid Class. Also, as it turns out, the steps mentioned above should be repeated on intervals. Most of us use digital calendars these days and setting recurring reminders is very easy.
Add these reminders:
- Check smoke detectors and ABC Fire Extinguishers every 3 months.
- Check batteries in flashlights every 3 months.
- Use and replace water every 3 – 6 months.
- Check exits for blockage or other issue once a year.
- Follow up with appropriate person about the condition of your fire escape or how to information as needed.
- Add your First Aid/CPR/AED class to your calendar and a reminder to take it again every two years (or as directed by certificate).
Time: 5 minutes
Feel like taking it up one more notch? Thinking I forgot about food?
Most people can go up to 30 days without food. It’s not comfortable. You will not be in great shape afterwards. But you’ll probably survive.
Going even a day without a single meal for most of us is very uncomfortable. Going 72 hours or more is unthinkable for most people. Building a small cache of extra food in your home is very simple. For extra survival credit, checkout an older article on The Inner Circle titled: Food Storage Made Simple.