He’s a Prepper, She’s a Prepper, (if you live in Boston) wouldn’t you like to be a Prepper too?Written by William Brokhof on February 8th, 2013
How many Bostonians would be prepared for Nemo if it lasted a week?
I’m sitting in my real estate office which is currently deserted. Earlier, Centre Street in Jamaica Plain was bustling with my neighbors running around getting food, buying shovels, going to the bank, getting haircuts and generally enjoying the coming onslaught of snow. The temperature has now dropped to freezing, the wind and snow have picked up and it’s getting serious out there. Passers-by are leaning hard into the wind and the snow is sticking in earnest.
I got a chuckle yesterday as I watched from my cozy real estate office window as folks upped the French Toast Alert status. This is what I call the propensity of folks to run out and buy milk, eggs and bread before a big storm. Whether they would typically do that or not…but in all seriousness getting ready for a storm is not a bad idea. I was once a Boy Scout and being prepared is part of my nature now. In fact, I would consider myself among those that call themselves Preppers.
Preppers range from folks who are just careful and thoughtful to those who are seemingly clinically insane. I would count myself in the first half of this bell curve. Maybe about halfway up the slope. No matter who you are – you should have a basic emergency kit in my opinion. You can buy them ready made, but I recommend putting your own kit together. I highly recommend outdoor outfitters like REI or even army surplus stores. Here’s some basic ideas for a kit:
Basic Emergency Preparedness Kit
- First Aid Kit – There are tons of these for sale online or in stores. In my opinion, more is better. My friend Mike made a really cool kit using a big tackle box. This was nice to keep everything organized. Just make sure the kit includes things like bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin or ibuprofen, a thermometer, scissors, and tweezers. I also highly recommend you have a mini kit also. If you need to grab a few things and pack light you will need a small tote with just the basics.
- Water – this is a big one folks. Have plenty of water on hand. I recommend a few different options here depending on where you live and what resources you have at your disposal. Don’t forget, you never know how long you’ll be without the basics so plan for longer if you can. Most camping outfitters or army surplus stores will have collapsible water bladders. You may want to get some of the plastic ones too as they are more rugged. Don’t forget that rain barrels can be really great source of water. Maybe not best as a potable source, but they could hold lots of water for things like bathing and watering plants.
- Food – keep in mind, this is the basic needs kit. You may very well have all sorts of other foods that you are able to consume first in an extended emergency. What you want to have in your kit are basic canned goods and foodstuffs that will not spoil anytime soon. Think canned goods that are high in protein. Another option are MREs or “meals ready to eat”. You can get the military grade or slightly more gourmet versions at camping stores like REI. I must warn you that I had some of these REI MREs and they did eventually get a little less than “fresh” but they were fine in a pinch. DON’T FORGET A CAN OPENER! I highly recommend having a can opener just for the kit. You may not have time to go looking around for items you will need in an emergency and you might have to go mobile!
- Light – when I used to do a lot of spelunking the rule was always have three sources of light. I don’t see any reason to deviate here. I would also consider a lantern. One of my favorite flashlights is very sturdy, uses LEDs and can be powered up my shaking it back an forth. It works great. A light that can hang or grip things will be useful too. Headlamps are highly recommended. And STORE BATTERIES SEPARATE. There’s nothing worse than opening up a flashlight and being greeted by that white corrosion. Oh yeah, don’t forget lots of candles. But be careful – I was in the NYC Blackout in 2000 and I had to help save people from a burning building because of candles. It’s a true story!
- Electronics – Every kit should have an emergency radio. I highly recommend the ETON crank radios. There are a lot of these out there. You can spend a fortune on a fancy one if you want. I have the ETON Scorpion. Beyond the radio it has a flashlight, solar panel and the ability to plug in and charge cell phones – not to mention a bottle opener! I also recommend a separate little solar panel charger for your cell phone. You might also want to grab a set of walkie-talkies. If the phones go out you might need these to communicate with your family and they pick up emergency radio as well. Don’t forget – don’t store anything with the batteries in them. And have lots of extra batteries!
Okay, that’s about it for the basics. You can learn a lot more about being a Prepper at these helpful websites:
I’d love to see any comments about things you think should be in an emergency kit, or items you have included in your kit or any best practices you’d like to share!