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Most of us prepare for things every day but don’t really think about it. You carry a spare tire in your car, a flash light, an umbrella, and so on. Why? Just in case! Okay how about this? Have you ever been in a tornado, hurricane, wild fire, or any major upheaval (terrorist attack, economic crash, etc.? Some of us have and I’d like to offer a little advice on preparation.
Problem: When it comes to emergency preparedness and planning, people do not know where to start. Many give financial reasons for not being able to start building a stockpile of the items that they would need in a short-term emergency or even long-term. You may think you won’t have to leave your home, but that idea is unrealistic in many situations.
Proverbs 21:20 (NIV)1
In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.
This verse shows a comparison between the wise and the foolish. In the wise man’s house are stores [stockpiles for emphasis] of food and in the foolish man’s nothing because he ate it all. The record of Joseph in Genesis 41 shows the need for storing food:
Genesis 41:36 (NIV)
This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”
Solomon had whole cities that stored food, as well as other cities that stored other things.
1 Kings 9:19a (KJV)
And all the cities of store that Solomon had…
Isaiah warned King Hezekiah about what Babylon would do:
2 Kings 20:17 (KJV)
Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord.
We could look at many storehouses of food throughout the Bible, but here are a few to look up in the KJV: 1 Chronicles 27:25; 2 Chronicles 8:4 and 6, 11:11 [here they had food, wine, and oil], 16:4, 17:12, 31:10, 32:28; Isaiah 39:6; and Malachi 3:10. If people understood the tithe, they would know that what was given was for the most part food and animals for meat.
As they did, we need to plan ahead. Get a little extra every time you shop. And, if necessary, cut back on movies and other things that are not major needs for a while. You will be surprised how fast you can build up your store of supplies.
While it would be great to be able to order everything that you need at one time, few people are in a financial position to do so. So start small.
First, here are some small steps that you can take to get started in your short-term emergency planning. Many forget that during a time of disaster you will probably need important paperwork. If you need to leave your home, you will need to bring these papers along with you. Here is a list of important papers you may need. Your list may include other items. These should be in one place at all times.
- Marriage License
- Driver’s License (or any other important forms of picture identification)
- Birth certificate
- Insurance policies
- Social security card
- Medical records/copies of prescriptions
- Medicare card
- Bank account information (which includes charge cards)
- Deeds and titles to homes and cars
- Computer backup: This should be in the form of two Flash Drives. One can be kept with you and the other should be kept in a secondary location [You may want to scan any important papers into your computer, and save them to your Flash Drives].
Whatever you do, put all these in one place where both you and your spouse [or someone close to you] can get them quickly and place in a safe container. A safe may seem nice, but remember that you may need to be able to grab these items and go. Therefore, I recommend a military ammo box as your best choice. It is portable, has a handle, and offers protection (a seal to keep it waterproof) for your important papers.
Here is another step you can take without spending a lot of money. Put together a “BOB,” a “Bug-Out-Bag,” or a “GOOD Bag,” which stands for “Get out of Dodge.” You can use a large bag with a shoulder strap, backpack, or a vest (also called a “72 Hour” kit or pack). I recommend a backpack or vest because it gives you more of a hands free situation in the case of doing things while moving or in case you’d have to carry a weapon. Some people in New Orleans had to carry weapons in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina in order to protect their possessions [by the way nobody shot anyone, but a show of force was given many times]. If disaster strikes, you need to be prepared to hit the ground running and, even if you have never experienced anything like this, you still need to prepare for any eventuality.
How long do you think it would take you to put together a bag of items you could carry on the run that would keep you safe, warm and, most important, alive in an emergency? You might not have that kind of time once an emergency hits, so you’re going to need a BOB made up ahead of time. Below are some items that should be packed and ready to go should you need to escape your home for a few days [or even longer], such as to evacuate ahead of a wildfire, tornado, hurricane, terrorist attack, or whatever. I’ve seen other BOB lists that boast that they are a more comprehensive collection, but they include so many items you’d need a couple large suitcases and a pack-mule to haul them. That’s unrealistic for anyone who might have to carry them while on the move, which is likely. This list could vary for each person.
10 Most Vital Basic Items for Your BOB
[Each person should have his own personal BOB, but each won’t need every item as you can share some things, like the radio]
- Water [Canteens, water filter, SolarBagTM Water Purifier, purification tablets].
- Food [At least three days’ worth of some light weight food from Mountain House®, GoFoods®, Food4Patriots® [vegetarian but tasty and nutritious], Wise® Company, Food Supply Depot®, or something similar]. I do not recommend MRE’s [Meals Ready to Eat] as they contain high levels of MSG, TVP, salt, nitrates, artificial flavors and colors, but it would be better than nothing. Mountain House® even has some organic foods, but not all the time. The Sportsman’s Guide® carries foods at lower prices, if you’re a part of the Buyer’s Club, Food4Patriots, and GoFoods® can be found online, and also offer discounts as a member, and many items are free of additives, artificial colors and flavors, and MSG.
- Shelter [Shelter half for each of two partners, tube tent, pop up tent, poncho, something light.].
- Seasonal Clothing [At least one extra set, as yours may get wet, damaged, etc. Extra socks are a must. You have to stay on top of this, as t-shirts aren’t too practical in winter and thermal underwear won’t help much in summer, so make sure you rotate seasonal items.
- First Aid Kit [Add any meds you’re on, vitamins, hand sanitizer, bug repellent, sun block, a small sewing kit (for clothing repair and maybe large cuts), feminine needs].
- Basic Gear [Sleeping bag, a good knife (I prefer Cold Steel® from Special Projects), plastic ware for eating [some are almost unbreakable, very light, and more quiet than metal], something to boil water in that also pours, something to start a fire (butane is not best, as it needs to be warm to work well, but if that’s all you have, store it next to your body to keep warm), a cooking spoon, toiletries: deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, razors and shaving soap, toilet paper in a zip lock bag, soap, a wash cloth in a plastic bag.].
- Weapons [The situation, and why you have to leave your home, will determine how many and what kinds you should take, and how much ammo. If you have to take a firearm, you’ll need a gun cleaning kit. You may need a knife for defense, as well as skinning or butchering (many knives are not suitable for skinning, for example, a Tanto pointed knife and many double-edged knives are no good for skinning or camp chores). Not all firearms or knives are suitable for every situation. If you have questions, ask me or someone who knows.].
- Your ammo box [Put together earlier with important papers, maps, travel info, disaster plan. This should include a designated place (with directions, if necessary) for all family or group members to meet (you may not all be home when disaster hits), the location of every emergency center near you (in every direction), locations of water sources near you (again in every direction), evacuation routes, phone numbers, cell numbers, and addresses (email too) of people you trust, family members, etc. And of course a pocket Bible.] Every family member needs to know where to go now, in an emergency, not when the emergency hits!
- Tool kit [A good multi-tool [one you didn’t get at Harbor Freight®], duct tape, 550 Para cord (550 is its weight rating), long and short zip ties (these will help you build any kind of shelter, as well as secure items on your bag, pack, or vest to keep you quiet while moving, and you can use them for hundreds of jobs).].
- A Crank-Operated Radio [In an emergency, this may be your only source of information as to what’s going on in the world around you, and to where aid is in a major disaster.
You may be thinking that I forgot lots of stuff. Not really. I gave you the basics for three days, which is how long the effects of the average natural disaster last. Here are other items you can add or store buried or hidden outside your home in bushes, piles of wood, etc. Just be sure to hide things when you know no one is watching. This list can go on forever, but you can’t carry everything unless you have a pack-mule.
- Cash (small bills and change is best). Some older silver coins might really come in handy.
- Cleansing wipes (great item to have when a bath or shower is not available).
- Camp stove (pack size) and fuel.
- Comfort items such as games, toys, cards, and books.
- Compass [GPS is fine, as long as you have a power source].
- Fishing lines, sinkers, hooks, and lures.
- Folding shovel.
- Glasses case [if you wear glasses, you must have a place to store them at night].
- Glow sticks.
- Hand ax, hatchet, or tomahawk (a good Cold Steel® tomahawk can serve as a camp tool and a weapon).
- Hat with brim that covers ears and neck—not a baseball hat.
- Knit cap (Jeep hat is best, as it has a brim for cold weather).
- Matches (waterproof are great to have, as well as the strike-anywhere kind, in a case).
- Mirrors (for shaving or signaling).
- Pet supply items (pets could be a liability under certain situations).
- Soap (for washing and laundry).
- Special items for elderly or babies.
- Tactical flashlight (must be able to take rough handling).
IMPORTANT Final Notes:
For putting together your kits, put everything in Ziploc® freezer bags to keep it dry. Freezer bags are heavier and will last a long while. Ziploc® makes big bags for larger items. Don’t use trash bags, as most contain pesticides that are bad for you and your food.
In the event that you must be away from home for more than three days, you need to think about a place to go. You may need to have a stockpile of items to resupply from, hidden somewhere away from your home. The day will come when we Christians are persecuted [it’s happening now around the world], so we must plan where to take refuge. Consider this verse:
Proverbs 22:3 (NIV)
A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
God must have thought we need to know this because He repeats it later in Proverbs 27:12. Twice establishes it. Based on the Word, if we see danger we need to take refuge, but what if your house is destroyed or the police/National Guard won’t let you get back home, like during Hurricane Sandy and Katrina and what happened during a week of martial law in Boston? You may still need a place of refuge. If possible, get together with other believers and/or your family and think about this together. We can’t do everything on our own, so work with others. As per Proverbs 15:22 (NIV), “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” Here’s another interesting verse:
Proverbs 24:27 (NIV)
Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.
What I got from this verse is that it’s more important to make sure WE take care of our needs, food-wise, even before we take care of where to live. So I think it’s important that we try to grow some of our own stuff as well as store it somewhere outside our home. I understand that for many people growing food is not really that possible, but you’d be surprised what you can do, even in small areas. Instead of flowers, plant produce in the same area. Outside our front door, we grow lettuce, celery, peppers, cucumbers, and herbs. My wife grows herbs in pots on our back porch. We made a temporary root cellar out of a 3×4 wooden crate covered with bales of straw, and stored cabbage, potatoes, apples, and squash through the winter. Even my mother-in-law, who’s in her eighties, has a garden. We have a believer friend who grows leaf lettuce, tomatoes, and all kinds of peppers in pots on his apartment balcony. We know a guy who grows produce, and if you buy in bulk and learn how to freeze, dry, and can, much of your food is a lot cheaper. I’m sure God and our Lord can, do, and will take care of us, but we need to do what we can for ourselves. If we fail to plan, we are planning to fail.