1. 2-liter soda pop bottles, if filled only to the shoulders, are strong enough to take freezing and thawing many times. FEMA suggests tap water (with chlorine added already) will be safe for up to a year, but dn't go past that. Empty, rinse well, and refill -- 6 months is better. If you remove the cap, let fresh air enter, then recap and SHAKE the bottle hard, it aerates the water which is how water comes out of our taps--aerated, so it tastes much better. THAT makes a huge difference in how it smells and tastes.
Water heater IS another good source of water.
2. Pulling together extra medications can be done even if you only refill once a month. In a year you can squirrel away nearly two weeks' worth by merely moving your refill time ahead one day a month (or so). ROTATE your saved pills so you keep only the newest ones in your emergency kit. don't let them "time out." Most meds are good for at least six months.
3. Ponchos and space blankets--much needed and can be folded up very small. Our trailer would work to keep us dry if the house roof caved in. The question would be if we would survive the house roof caving in. Who knows? But dry is better than wet unless it's hot out. Exgra socks and a pair of waterproof boots. Hat and gloves. Sunglasses.
4. Food. There are good meals available in camping supplies. Cost up to $10 for a bag, but if you find a good place to buy them, just buy one per shopping trip. Also: top ramen, cooked: 1 packet to 1/2 cup liquid from a can of vegetables, heated to nearly boiling, with a can of beef with gravy added and a can of vegetables makes a pretty good substitute for those camping meals. Packets of instant oatmeal (again, just add water)--dry powdered milk. Canned chili and plain canned beans (protein)--canned chicken & tuna. Canned vegetables. Try to store things you eat anyway. Weird food isn't all that comforting, though ANY food is comforting when you're hungry enough. Canned food has this advantage--it contains extra water. Though it sometimes contains a lot of salt and maybe sugar, too. Both are slightly dehydrating. six of one, half dozen of the other.
5. Don't forget books, puzzles, games. Those solar
lanterns look super and would be vital if you wanted to read when it's dark outside.
those little triangular LED battery lights
from Harbor Freight with the red light
and blinking light
capacity are good for signaling you need help. The batteries last a surprisingly long time. We keep one hooked to every lamp in the house in case the power shuts out suddenly. they cost about $3.99 on sale--and they seem to be on sale every other month. Ke have several in Peanut already and there they'll stay.
6. The big Q I see on these suggestions is this: do you stock up the trailer, or make portable get-away packs? Maybe we will keep our grab and go packs in the trailer--but we've been keeping them in the car in winter, including bottles of water (partly empty in case of freezing) and enough dog food for several days. We will not leave our dogs.
7. On a lighter note (all this talk of disaster is not light
, nor should it be)--I discovered that Paul was going out to the car when he had a break at work and eating the emergency pop tarts, peanut butter, and raisins. Nice we could supply him a little extra snack...but...! 8) The man needed bigger lunches!
8. CASH. don't forget to stash some cash.
9. A P-38 can opener can be attached easily with a split ring to any zipper, like on your emergency bag. Any Army surplus store should have a container full of 'em for less than a dollar each. Buy several and hand them out to friends. Practice a few times so using one comes more easily to you. Learning new "technical" tricks under duress can be stressful.
Rotate, rotate, rotate! We had some emergency kits (food, water, bandages, etc.)_ our son gave us and this spring we went through them. OMG, they were 15 years out of date, parts were seeping and gummed together--even the "instant water" packs were bad. (You know what I mean--you buy the packs, and under emergency conditions, reconstitute by just adding water.) 8) . No--the water packs, all three of them, a total of 9 ounces of water, were probably still good. But totally inadequate. We learned that emergency kits aren't a one-time thing. Build them, pack them, and check them every year. I have no idea why we thought those would last "forever." They won't. They can't. And the pre-made kits--one was filled with nothing but large gauze pads, a now-rusted medical scissors, and some rolls of de-laminated sticky tape. Yeah, that'd be really helpful. all the pads had been ruined by seeping packets of food and the tape gum.
You know, by the time we get all our supplies gathered, we have a mound so big we also need an emergency camel--or elephant--to haul it.
Better keep our car well-gassed up and ready to go!
Now I want to start filling Peanut up again...having a safety hoard ready is comforting. And it'd make Peanut nicer if we ever use it for a guest room...our guests will be able to rummage up something they like.
Paul is asking--have I told 'em everything I know, and won't I miss having any thoughts in my head--sorry about the length. This is just such a good topic!