Hey there preppers! Remember when we talked about Doomsday Prepping for Non-Paranoid People? About how, in these uncertain times, we should all have a well-stocked emergency kit, or in my case, an emergency cabinet? If you acquired the basics of water, food and gear six months ago, now is the the time to open your kit and check that your supplies are still functional, edible and potable. You don't want to want to be mid-disaster and realise your batteries leaked corroded crusty goo all over the Kind bars.
Take, for example, water. Here is an excellent pamphlet, which you should likely review every six months, from FEMA on how to prepare your food and water supplies in an emergency.
I store my water in Waterbricks, or hard-sided, rectangular and stackable containers, because my previous water supply, 4L jugs from the pharmacy, eventually leaked in my cabinet. (If you don't want to buy Waterbricks - I needed them because I live in an apartment and need a space-efficient solution - you can wash out and sanitise 2L soft drink bottles - not milk or juice containers.) Replace the water every six months.
In addition, check that everything else is up-to-date and in good working order:
- Do you still have adequate shelf-stable food for at least three days and ideally more like two or three weeks? (Do you have a little extra for the arseholes who said, "I'll just come to your house in an emergency"?)
- Do you still have water-purification tablets and/or unscented bleach and a medicine dropper? And instructions on how much bleach to use? (Sixteen drops, or 1/8 teaspoon, per 4L of water. Stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water doesn't smell slightly of bleach, discard it. Write these instructions on the bottle in a Sharpie.)
- Do you still have extra pet food or did you raid your supplies one Friday night when you were too lazy to go to the store?
- Do you still have an adequate first-aid kit, tampons/pads, toilet paper and hand sanitiser/baby wipes? (Has the latter dried out?)
- Have you opened or closed any bank accounts, gotten a new driver's licence, or gotten married or divorced? Check your Ziplock bag of photocopies of your important docs to make sure you have all your important papers.
- Did you change out any prescription meds or expired birth control? Do you have over-the-counter things you need (Panadol! Claratyne! Immodium!)?
- Has your eyeglass prescription changed? Put a new pair of specs in your kit.
- Are you newly responsible for an elderly person? Do they need special gear, such as meds, adult nappies, hearing aid batteries or colostomy supplies?
- Do you still have enough blankets for a winter blackout or no-heat situation? You didn't grab one for guests and misplace it, did you? Rain gear/cold-weather gear/sun hat still in place?
- Are your batteries uncorroded and working? Does your radio and mobile charger work?
- Do you still have the paper maps for getting where you need to go? Is your emergency plan still the same (for example, you're all meeting at Aunt Rita's)?
- Is your work "go-bag" still intact for if you need to walk home or shelter at work for a day or two (for example, food, water, blanket, candle, warm clothes, sun hat, maps, sneakers, a phone charger, a book, meds, cash, documents in a Ziplock bag, dust mask, a whistle, garbage bag, toilet paper, wipes, toothbrush and paste, radio, batteries?)
- For that matter, is your home "go bag" still adequately packed? How about your car "go bag"?
- Still have a can opener, utility knife, torch, candles, matches in a Ziplock bag, and duct tape? (No kids have squirrelled these away for their little kid games?)
- Have you added a baby to your household? Has your baby grown? Do you have the appropriate-size nappies and formula and bottles (even if you're EBF)? Do you need baby food?
- Cash in small notes? I know I raided my stash of cash and it's time to replenish.
- Still have a deck of cards and adequate chocolate? Better eat what you have and buy some more, just to be safe.
And now, I'll add one more thing to the list: That FEMA pamphlet. Print it out and tape it to your kit. And congrats! See you in six months.