Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Emergency Prep

Before we moved into the cave to begin our year-long wilderness living experience in southern Utah, we spent time getting ready and learning what we needed to know. But after we had been on the ground for six months in that desert, we hardly gave it a moment's thought day-to-day. We just lived. We transitioned from being in "prep mode" to being in "life mode."

Being in "life mode" insofar as emergency response goes, is the safest way. You just naturally do the right things to be able to handle problems when they arise.

For example, consider for a minute that an earthquake is going to slam your region in the middle of the night while you're asleep. Under those conditions, is it better to have a flashlight in the dresser drawer at the far side of the room or within easy reach of where you sleep? Is it safer to have your shoes organized in the closet or right beside your bed? Is it safer to have some gloves tucked away out in the garage or there in the bedroom?

If the earth shook and things fell off shelves, windows shattered from twisted frames, mirrors exploded sending shards of glass across the floor, you wouldn't want to have to walk barefoot to find your shoes. You wouldn't want to have to dig through rubble bare handed. You wouldn't want to fumble around in the dark hoping to remember where the flashlight was. Under those conditions, you would want to be in "life mode" rather than in "prep mode."

If a disaster hits during the day while you're out and about, there are so many variables about where you might be and what you might have access to that the only thing I can recommend is to always be aware of what is around you and how you might use it to provide the necessities to keep you alive.

But from the standpoint of being at home and having a disaster hit while you're asleep (which will really catch you off-guard), there are some things you should always have near your bed so you can have immediate access to them. You don't want to have to go hunting for these things in the dark when your world is coming unglued at the seams. You just live prepared all the time. 

Ideally, you should be able to reach these items without having to leave the bed to grab them.
  • First, sturdy shoes. If you have any reason to believe there is broken glass or any other type of debris on the floor, do not put your feet down until they are inside sturdy shoes that can protect against nail penetration, etc. Injured feet will not only invite infection, but will also disable you from being able to carry on with survival tasks. 
  • Heavy leather gloves. If you need to claw your way out of a collapsed structure, or move broken and splintered wood to clear your way to the exit, these will protect your hands. 
  • Safety glasses or goggles. If you're blinded by dust or flying debris getting in your eyes, you won't be able to save yourself or anyone else. A lightweight pair of swim goggles will work, and they don't take up much space. 
  • A flashlight. You want to be able to reach and grab a flashlight (loaded with fully-charged batteries) without having to get out of bed to find it. If it is a "headlamp" type, so much the better, because that leaves your hands free to do whatever is necessary to get yourself and your family to safety. An LED light draws much less power than a light with incandescent bulbs, so the batteries last longer. 
  • A fire extinguisher. What if you awaken to discover that your house is in flames and the only extinguisher is in the kitchen, and you can't get to it? You're toast — literally! Keep an extinguisher within reach so you can fight your way out of a burning room if necessary. 
  • A cell phone (fully charged). You might awaken to noises in your house that don't belong there. Home invasion by burglars (or worse) might involve the cutting of your residential telephone lines, leaving you unable to call 9-1-1 for help. Even if it's not a home invasion, but just your run of the mill disaster that has torn everything up and left you injured, your landline might be dead and you might be able to use the cell phone to summon assistance. 
  • Protective outdoor clothing. If you must evacuate your dwelling into a cold, rainy, windy night, you will appreciate being able to quickly grab a coat and long pants. 


  1. My ideal place to be sleeping in case of an earthquake would be in a tent. Or a super strong room with not much other than a bed in it.

    I was in the great quake in Alaska in 64, they do get your attention for sure.

    There's some beautiful county in Utah, I hope you explored the Brice Canyon area. And the Big Rock Country Mountain is really cool if you are driving south on the highway just as the sun is coming up.

  2. Home invasion by burglars (or worse) might involve the cutting of your residential telephone lines,

    Pfff, my place is so uninviting that I have a problem picturing anyone messing with it or me, but I have guns just in case. This is not a nice planet.