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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guest Post: "The Minimalist's Emergency Preparedness Kit" by Mary Ann

You never know when disaster will strike.  It could come at home, at work, or at the pub.  It could come in the form of a fire, a brawl, an earthquake, or a volcano halfway around the world blocking out the sun over your hometown.  It's impossible to react intelligently if you don't proact now -- think ahead, and get your s*** together.

A die-hard Boy Scout friend of mine takes the motto "Be Prepared" to heart, and he believes he's prepared for everything.  He also carries around a 12-pound bag of "Prepared" everywhere he goes, just in case the zombies attack when he's in the bathroom at the theatre, I suppose.

Personally, I prefer a more minimalist approach -- I believe in packing a few items that have a lot of uses, and keeping them in the car.  After all, I'm rarely more than 5 minutes away from it, and it's a lot better at carrying stuff than I am.  If there's a disaster that requires a response time of less than 5 minutes, I figure I'm probably screwed anyway.

Here are the items that I keep in my emergency kit:
  1. Because it's in my car, I always keep a Lifehammer in my kit.  Not only is it good for cutting seat belts and bashing out car windows, but in a pinch it can disassemble clothes and it makes a decent self-defense weapon.
  2. A basic first aid kit is a critical element in any emergency preparedness kit.
  3. An emergency radio that doesn't require batteries or an electrical outlet -- mine is hand-crank -- is important in any urban or suburban area.  Mine is equipped with a flashlight that also runs on the hand crank.
  4. Finally, you need enough nonperishable food and water for at least one day.  Some experts recommend three, but I'm a minimalist and I know how to hunt, so I figure one day (long enough to get home and get the bow) is good enough for me.


Now, my wife's minivan has practically Mormon levels of food storage and a full mess kit -- but then she's also the type to have a spare phone book in her car (despite not having a cellphone.)  To each of their own, I suppose.  

I encourage everyone to be ready in case of a catastrophe, whether you go over-the-top or, like me, as simple as possible.  Just the act of thinking about it now will make you ten times more ready to deal with the time comes.