Saturday, June 23, 2012

Stay In Kit

All emergencies fall into two categories:

*Those that require us to deal with them away from the home

*Those that require us to face them at or from home

Some emergencies will fall into one category and stay there.  Some, however, will start in one and move to the other (and even bounce back again, depending on the nature of the event!).

Our need to be able to take on emergencies from any location, is why we've been learning about and building the layers of emergency preparedness.  The EDC, Personal Emergency Kit (or Go Bag), Car Kit and Work/School Kits, are all specifically built for the times when you must deal with an emergency away from home.  The Stay In Kit and the Home Storage Supply, however, are specifically built for those emergencies which must be faced at or from home. 

Your layers help give you the ability to adapt yourself successfully to your needs--which is why you must plan them carefully and gain the skills you need to use them to your maximum advantage!

We've talked about the layers that cover the first category--our EDC, Personal Emergency Kit, Car Kit, Work and School Kits.  Now, we are going to begin talking about the layers that take on the second--the Stay In Kit and the Home Storage Supply.

This post is for learning about and beginning to build the layer called the Stay In Kit.

The Stay In Kit needs to be able to take care of all your basic needs for at least two weeks from your home without any outside resupplying--any length of time more than that, and you will be moving into your last layer, the Home Storage Supply.

FEMA is an excellent source for beginning your research into what is needed for building this layer, as is the Red Cross.   I recommend The Hoodlum Adventure Team referred to in my Cool Sites section for in depth information and assistance.

As you plan the Stay In Kit, once again go through the six areas we've talked about before--you are planning against a number of possible emergencies, so take the time to really think it through.  You will want to consider the following categories:

*Food and Water
*Light, Heat, and Cooking
*Repair and Maintenance
*Entertainment and Comfort

As you consider these categories, remember that you are planning for a two week use need.  And don't forget--you are planning for the self-reliance of you, your home, and anyone else (human and other) who might possibly be with you for that duration!  Because you don't know if you will have electricity for the entire duration, everything you plan must be taken into consideration from a non-electrical angle.  Just as you don't know if you will be allowed or able to leave your property at all.  So keep this stuff carefully in mind.

So let's begin.
You need to have a two week supply of food and water--one that doesn't require electricity to let you eat or drink it.  This means ready-to-eat foods (edibles that require NO cooking or heating up) and bottled water (as the piped water system of your home or your electrically operating well may not working--or even contaminated).  Remember this is a two week supply for everyone in your home--including all animals.

You will need to have light and heat sources.  This is psychological and necessity based.  Battery, fuel operated, solar, chemical triggered, and manual powered are all possibilities.  A means to heat up your food and water is not necessary but may be comforting or even helpful (especially when it is cold!).  Remember that everything must be non-electric powered and safe to operate in your home.  Don't forget the supplies that go along with your sources, like:  candles, batteries, fuel, quality blankets and warm clothing--or the stuff needed to maintain or operate your light and heat sources.  And definitely don't forget the correct type of fire extinguishers for every room of your home--in case something goes wrong!

Because power may not be on, you really need to watch your sanitation.  This means methods to keep yourself clean, to deal with waste matter, do your laundry and tend to garbage.  Depending on the emergency; water may not be flowing in pipes or contaminated, toilets my not be operational and garbage services may be disrupted.   Using disposable dishes and utensils, stashing garbage bags, having a portable toilet with supplies, storing bleach and other sanitizing agents, getting a manual washing machine with laundry supplies and knowing how to give yourself a proper 'sponge' bath,  are all some of the ways you can help tend your sanitation.  Remember that females, children, elderly and animals will require extra assists in this area. 

Other than life-threatening requirements, all of your medical needs should be able to be taken care of at home.  Keep at least a two week supply of all vital prescriptions or required items.  If there are non-electric or non-battery supports for any necessary medical devices, get them as backups (like manual wheelchairs)--talk to your medical support team now and see what is available to assist any needs in your home in complete power outs.  Have solar powered or manual chargers for essential batteries.  Store a quality, extended use, multi-person medical kit.  Be fully trained in basic and advanced first aid.  Remember that some emergencies involve serious illness--know how to properly tend sick people and keep supplies which will ease or increase their speed of healing.  Sometimes you will have to restrict access to your home in order to prevent contacting illness--be responsible and practice this quarantine completely, knowing that failure to do so may be fatal.

In an extended emergency, you may need to perform makeshift or immediate repairs of your home or any items in it.  You also will need to maintain everything.  Get any training you can to assist you in this area.  Store basic tool and supply needs (hammer and nails, tarps/plastic sheeting, duct tape, epoxy, gas shutoff tool, plywood sheets, hard hats and other protective gear, etc.)--quality home supply places can assist you in creating your home's basic tool and supply needs.  Remember, that this area can be greatly helped by your effort NOW.  Do any repairs you need on your home or property immediately.  Update insulation, secure piping, make reinforcements, and do other emergency pre-assists.  FEMA offers assistance in planning how to make your home more emergency resistant.  All this is part of your Stay In Kit.  Think of it like taking care of your kit's really large duffle carrier, essential.

Your protection in an extended emergency should be taken seriously.  Law enforcement officers and military personnel may be stretched very, very thin.  Without power, security systems both personal and local are down.  Damage may interfere in even access by personnel.  Even if your cell phone is operational, the system may be overloaded.  Plan to be your own protection.  You should do most of this NOW, while the supplies and professional installations are available.  This means putting in secure fencing, chaining and locking all gates, using window and door blocks, installing security doors and frames with proper locks, removing 'blind spots' or other danger spots about your home where criminals could hide or move undetected, etc.  Talking to law enforcement or home security personnel can give you excellent help.  During an emergency, be able to immediately install complete blackout protection (to avoid unwanted attention), have the ability to board over all windows and secondary doors, and reinforce your main entrance.  Be able to secure your vehicles and all out buildings.  Take defensive training and be extremely competent with firearms and other weapons.  Plan how you will defend your home.  There are professional personnel who can teach you this.  Remember that a large part of protecting yourself is in reducing your risks--don't open doors, don't open windows or use window blocks if you have to, use a quiet generator or sound proof where it is located, don't tell others about any supplies you have built up, keep your gates locked, stay armed, etc.  Criminals become bolder, more violent and hunt in larger groups in extended emergencies--and any supplies you have, the bad guys will want for themselves.

Now, you may have no power in extended emergencies but you still need to receive emergency information and know what is going on.  Get at least two quality emergency radios--only one of which can be battery operated, the second should be a solar or manual powered one.  Store extra batteries.  If you can, become a HAM operator and have your own generator powered set up--this will let you receive and sent information, becoming an assist to emergency personnel in your area.

Because you may be staying inside your home or confined to your property for the entire two weeks without power, do not neglect your entertainment and comfort category!  Emergencies are highly stressful, especially ones that extend over more than one week.  Our society is a highly 'plugged in' one, but while you might have access to power, never count on it.  Murphy's Law remains in effect!So plan to entertain yourself in non-electric ways.  Books, games, hobbies/crafts, exercise equipment, etc., are all options.  Remember to include snacks and other comfort items!  Have easy access to meaningful items, to give yourself extra emotional support.  Take the time daily for prayer, meditation, and other 'quiet' moments--you need to stay calm and stay focused, even when everything else gets a bit crazy.

And that is the basic setup of the Stay In Kit.

Of course, the Stay In Kit is an extensive kit--some of it is 'built in' and some of it is in actual supplies.  Because of its intended duration of coverage, and the skills it requires of you, it is going to take serious thought and research on your part for this kit to be of the best help to you.  Don't let the 'size' of this kit make you nervous, take it by category and work your way through it.  You'll change things as you gain skills and knowledge, but everything you do to help increase your success in an extended emergency is good.   Think of everyone (human and other) who could possibly be with you in an emergency--with all of their needs, as well as your own--and plan your kit around this.  Get professional assistance, information and training.  Start gathering your supplies and keep them in a secure but easy to access place.

Remember, that building this kit will take some time--so start now and keep at it.

So roll up your sleeves and have at it.

You can do it!

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