First Aid and Other Supplies You’ll Need When Preparing
Make no mistake about it: The Big One is coming. This isn’t an irrational fear promoted by extreme preppers or the companies that market to them. It is a real fear that is fueled by real science. And, while many preppers are mistaken for people who believe that the Walking Dead could really happen, what we know is that our infrastructures are simply not built to withstand major earthquakes or other disasters.
On the West Coast, for example, Cascadia isn’t a rumor or an urban legend; it is a reality that is no longer a matter of “if” but “when.” And when that quake happens, the roads, the electrical grid, the municipal water supply, internet connectivity–they are all going down. Some experts say that it could take more than a year to simply get the basic necessities back into place. Estimates on life getting back to “normal” (like we take for granted now) say it will take a lot longer than that.
So: while a giant meteor strike or nuclear Armageddon might feel a little far-fetched, for a lot of our readers, the possibility of being cut off is something that must be dealt with. The best way to deal with that reality is to make sure you are prepared.
Experts agree that, at minimum, you should have enough clean water and food supplies on hand to last for six months to a year. You should also make sure that you are stocked up on first aid supplies and other necessities like comfortable and durable clothing, shelter supplies, etc.
If you are new to prepping, this can seem incredibly overwhelming. The good news is, you don’t have to go overboard with your disaster prep right now. We recommend building up your supplies slowly over time. Here is a tip list on how to start preparing for the worst:
It is vital that you have enough clean water on hand to get you through at least a few weeks of living once disaster strikes. Remember, this water won’t just be used for drinking. You’ll also use it for cooking, bathing, etc. Collect enough for your entire family, both humans and pets. The simplest way to do this is to buy 1-2 five gallon drums of fresh water every time you go to the grocery store.
You will also want to purchase a portable filter and supplies for making polluted water drinkable. These will come in handy if and when your clean water supplies run dry.
2. Medical Supplies
Those cute little first aid kits that you keep in your bag or your vehicle are great for minimal needs, but you’ll want to step that kit up a few notches for your emergency supply. You are most likely going to want to stock up on disinfectant supplies and sterile bandages. After that, you’ll also want to keep basic sewing supplies and gauze in your kit, creating a small surgical kit of sorts. And, of course, this is a good place to store some extra matches–in addition to sterilizing instruments; fire can also cauterize deep wounds.
With all of this in mind, you might want to spring for a course on some basic medical training that you can use in the field. Sign up for first aid and CPR classes. Make sure you know what to do when you can’t call an ambulance, as being able to reach emergency personnel will be out of the question.
Focus on non-perishables that don’t require cooking in order to be edible. Canned beans, dried fruits and veggies, are a just a few examples. Add a few family sized cans to your cart every time you go grocery shopping to build up your supplies. There are some great checklists available that detail the types of food you’ll most want to have in case of emergency.
You will want to be sure that you are sheltered from the elements in the event of an emergency. You don’t necessarily need to have an expensive or expansive tent, but a tent that can shelter your family and can be easily assembled and disassembled is recommended. Be sure to practice putting up and taking down the tent a few times to ensure that you know what you’re doing. Taking a wilderness survival skills course that will teach you how to build shelters “from scratch,” how to tell good plants from bad, how to make snares to catch small pretty, etc. will only further increase your chance of survival.
The main reason to do all of this, of course, isn’t to be the King of the Mountain once disaster strikes, but to simply survive long enough to have normalcy return. Having supplies on hand and knowing how to use them will help you stay calm in an emergency. Your calming presence, more than anything else, will help you keep you and your family alive in scary and dire situations.