In preparing for having the available resources for my family in an emergency, I found the answer to one question became important in terms of the planned solution(s), i.e., in terms of how I provide for the basics of food, water, and shelter.
The question is: “Am I planning for a situation where I will stay put, that is, “operate” from home or will I be leaving home and “operate” from some different location?” The answer to this question forced me to account for both scenarios particularly when preparing for water and food needs:
- Operate from home: Have survival supplies on hand at home with the home remaining as the shelter; and,
- Operate away from home: Have survival supplies that are mobile with the shelter being initially my vehicle(s) as we travel and then transitioning to some other semi-permanent one (family or friends homes, hotel, tent, etc.)
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For example, for survival we need water, food, and shelter at a minimum. In order to keep costs as low as possible, I’ve decided to select products that I can take with me if I had to leave the home (e.g., storm evacuation) but that would also support survival at home if I didn’t need to leave. This is my primary support line. I could then supplement this primary support line with items that are not so portable, but that would take care of us for a longer period of time (e.g., wide scale food shortages, very high food prices, unemployment or income loss, etc.) I also want to be able to build these “support lines” a little bit at a time, now and before any actual need arises, again so I don’t hurt my current cashflow and to avoid bare store shelves. You can do your own research online for food (Food Insurance ) and water storage options (Water Barrels and Storage.) There are links to several ones on this site.
As far as water storage is concerned, I hated going to the store to buy water when the news warned of an approaching storm. I felt a little foolish going to the store when everyone knew what I was looking for and perhaps realizing I wasn’t going to find what I needed. I knew this because that was the reason they were also in the store and had already purchased all the batteries and bottled water. I don’t like that feeling and I don’t like seeing an empty shelf where something I need for my family used to be fully stocked, perhaps as late as this morning. I have always filled my tub with water (using a plastic liner in the tub so the water didn’t slowly seep out through the drain cap), but if I needed to evacuate that didn’t help me…can’t take the tub with me. I needed a more mobile solution.
I’ve found water storage containers and advice on storing water long-term via the “Water Barrels and Storage” and “Water Storage Info” links. You can get storage containers that are small and others very large (185 gallons and more) that would be great for home storage, but not all are very mobile. One gallon of water weighs a little more than eight (8) pounds, so once the 185 gallon tank is full you really can’t move it easily. I liked the 15 gallon container When it’s filled, it weighs around 130 lbs so it can be moved and lifted into a vehicle though it may require two people to lift. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, suggests we plan for one gallon of water per day per person and for at least 3 days for drinking and sanitation. The 15 gallon tank holds enough water for the four people at home for about 3.75 days and I can load it into my car.
I found a couple options for food storage as well; long-term food storage meant for home and short-term food storage in mobile containers. My priority has been on building a dual use food supply, that is, mobile but can be used at home as well, so for now I’ll simply address that option. I’ve set a goal to build up a supply that I can take with me easily without taking up too much trunk or cab space and could support us for a week or two. I like the six (6) gallon weather proof bucket (Chef’s Banquet Food Storage) that supports one person for one month. It’s portable and can be used even if I don’t have to leave my home.
Since my plan calls for using two vehicles if I were to leave, I can stock both vehicles with enough food and water for four people for at least one week.
This isn’t the total emergency kit of course, but I hope you found some ideas and resources here and that it helps with your planning process. I’m now looking at the long-term solutions to get set for any potential large move in food prices, shortages, etc that we’ve seen occur around the globe should they occur where I live.