Whatever your world view is, there are some things that should be in everyone’s home. Unless you are actively trying to end your life, you are trying to survive. At some level, that makes you a survivalist. The term “prepper” is used as a pejorative term by some. Since when is being prepared for an unexpected emergency a bad thing? The degree in which individuals prepare for the unexpected varies from huge degrees, from none to being dug in in a bunker at a retreat location with food for several years. Whether you are preparing for doomsday or just trying to get thru the week, here are some things that should be in everyone’s home.
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Do you have a flashlight in your house? Yes, I know everyone has a flashlight on their phone and yes, it is better than nothing, but I’m talking about a real flashlight. We live in a time when we are blessed with excellent technology. A three hundred lumen flashlight that is powered by AA batteries is available at every big box store.
Many times, flashlights found in the home are of the cheapest variety and it is a toss-up if the batteries in them still work. It has never been cheaper and easier to have a powerful, durable flashlight. If you have a flashlight, make sure you have a good supply of batteries to power them. The next time the power goes out or you need to work on something in your backyard after nightfall, you’ll appreciate it.
One other option is to have a solar-powered flashlight. I used to be skeptical of these, but after owning and using this one on Amazon.com : HYBRIDLIGHT Journey 300 Solar LED Waterproof Flashlight with USB Phone Charger, Yellow : Tools & Home Improvement for several years, I no longer am. It works great.
Whether your choice of the flashlight is powered by a conventional battery or one charged by solar energy, it is a good idea to have a couple around the house.
Pro tip: It is a great idea to keep a working flashlight in your vehicle. The next time you are changing a flat after dark, you will be glad you did.
Home fires happen. Every year, home fires leave people displaced and are responsible for fatalities. Once again, fire extinguishers for the home are relatively inexpensive and easily available. I keep one on every floor of my home. The people we love the most often live with us. Isn’t it worth a few dollars to keep them safe?
Pro Tip: It is a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in your vehicle as well. I stopped to assist in a vehicle accident and used one on a burning vehicle. Vehicle fires are hard to keep from reigniting, but I was able to contain the blaze until rescue arrived who were able to put the blaze out for good.
First Aid Kit
Let me throw out that I am not a doctor, nurse, or paramedic. I have had the benefit of attending excellent first aid and medical training in and out of the military, including care under fire training. Let’s start with the easy stuff first.
A simple “boo boo” kit that can handle life’s little cuts, bruises, and rashes is easy to acquire and easily available. A simple kit with band-aids, some gauze and tape, a tube of antibacterial ointment or bottle of iodine, some over-the-counter pain killers, and maybe some anti diarrheals, sunblock, and calamine lotion. All these are easily acquired, simple to use and affordable. Most homes have some form of this, but do you really want to be searching for the tube of bacitracin and box of band-aids when your five-year-old has skinned their knee and is crying their eyes out?
Take inventory of what you have, buy the needed items you don’t, and centralized it in one location where everyone in the household knows where it is. If you are really lacking, either buy the items individually or there are plenty of prepackaged kits on the markets that have the basics described above.
The next level to this is a little more complex. I constantly run across individuals that are booking trauma kits but have no formal training on how to use them. The following is very important. GET QUALITY FIRST AID/MEDICAL TRAINING TO GO ALONG WITH ANY MEDICAL GEAR YOU DEEM NECESSARY TO PURCHASE. In this category, I put such equipment as tourniquets, chest seals, etc. I’m not sure if I put the purchase of rolled gauze (kerlix) and stretch tape (Coban) in the same category, but nonetheless, quality medical training is important. My suggestion is to do an online search to see what training is available to you. And you can check out our related posts such as Survival Kits: Why You Need One and What to Put In It and Importance of Wilderness First Aid
Pro tip 1: When traveling, keep a smaller Altoid box size “boo boo” kit with you. It has saved me more than once.
Pro tip 2: My wife is a registered nurse (RN) and has patched me up more times than I can count. I realize everyone cannot run out and marry an RN, but if you can, I highly recommend it.
Keep Some Extra Water Around
Water is important. Conventional wisdom is that you can go three days without water but depending on numerous factors, it may be a much shorter period of time. What happens if the taps go dry?
Sure, you can use water from the tank on your toilets or drain the water from your water heater and these are in fact valid techniques. But first, isn’t it much easier to keep a case or two of bottled water around?
My better half does not like all the plastic use from keeping bottled water on hand. If that is your situation, 5–7-gallon water can easily be kept at home and rotated from time to time. We water our garden with the water that we rotate out.
It may be a good idea to also acquire a home or personal water filter, or both. Home water filters can be quite expensive, but personal water filters are again, inexpensive and readily available.
Keep A Little Non-Perishable Food On Hand
Canned food is cheap and has a pretty good shelf life. Most people prefer fresh food, but almost everybody occasionally eats some canned tuna or their favorite canned soup. Maybe you like a certain brand of chili or even canned sardines. ( Yes, for a quick simple lunch, I sometimes eat sardines). White rice and pinto beans are very shelf-stable and still very affordable. A jar of peanut butter also has a considerable shelf like before it goes rancid and is calorie-dense.
Simply keep a little more of these items on hand in case you lose power, a storm prevents you from going to the store or maybe your favorite store is having supply chain problems. How much food should you keep on hand? At a bare minimum, conventional wisdom is 72 hours. Some folks will tell you that you are a fool if you don’t keep a year’s worth of food on hand, which is a considerable amount of food indeed. It’s up to you, but three days’ worth of shelf-stable food is a good place to start.
Some Extra Toilet Paper
Remember at the beginning of the COVID pandemic when some were running out and buying up large stocks of toilet paper? Yeah, don’t do that. But really, what’s wrong with keeping an extra case or two on hand? Shelf life is years and years. Keep some stocked in times of plenty and just rotate it into your use.
Yes, if you have to you can wipe your butt with all kinds of stuff, but any idiot can be uncomfortable. Emergencies are stressful enough. Your trip to the bathroom shouldn’t be.
These are just some small steps you can take to keep you and your family safer and more comfortable in case life doesn’t go as planned. Good luck out there.
A link to a video on my YouTube channel that addresses this topic can be found here: