Backup Essentials for Today’s World

   04.08.20

In today’s trying and challenging times we see a high demand for guns, ammo, and everyday essentials while many grocery store shelves are bare. Aside from the current threat from Covid-19 we are in a pattern of harsh weather events such as tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires that can strain or even collapse supply and power grids. I am not being paranoid; rather I believe in the Boy Scout Motto, “Be Prepared”.

For our discussion here, I’m assuming you’ve already identified your food needs for several weeks or even months if the situation dictates, not to mention incidentals like toilet paper and paper towels. Below are often overlooked areas of preparedness you may want to consider:

Alternate means of cooking

Backup Essentials
Coleman Single Burner Gas Stove

Sure, we all have an electric or gas stove in our abode, but what if the power grid goes down for an extended period. In the event that does occur, do you have another way to cook food or simply heat water? You should. There are a number of options here and I would suggest not just one but a backup to each one. A propane or simple charcoal grill is worth having. How about the old Coleman single- or two-burner stove that runs on Coleman liquid fuel? I have two of these and have cooked dozens of meals on them in a hunting camp. The more modern versions that run on propane canisters are more common and very handy in a pinch.

Backup Essentials
Sterno Fuel and Stove, an old standby

Fuel

Here I’m not referring to just gasoline but any source of fuel that is needed to power essentials. Gas for vehicles, various types of fuel for cooking (including charcoal and firewood), batteries for devices you may use on a daily basis. A solar panel and rechargeable battery (take a look at Goal Zero) could come in handy if you have the correct charging cables for phones, laptops, etc. Storage of highly flammable fuel must of course be taken into consideration and not everyone is in a location that allows for storage of flammable fuel. Prepare with what you can based on your circumstance. The old standby of Sterno fuel and stove is not a bad choice if storage space is a problem.

Backup Essentials
GoalZero Charging System can be recharged with a solar panel

Water

Above I mentioned food but not specifically water. As we all know, bottled water has been missing from local grocery store shelves lately. Water is essential in so many ways and it’s hard to store enough for more than a week or two. The average amount of water used per day per person is 80 to 90 gallons!  If your living situation allows, I would highly recommend storage of water by other means than just regular bottled water. WaterBrick company offers some excellent containers not only for water but also for food, ammo and many other uses.  These containers are very durable and stackable.

You may want to consider a water purification system as well. These could range from simply boiling water, to personal systems from companies such as LifeStraw or Sawyer.

Backup Essentials
Sawyer Field Water Purifier

Medical

I have said it before, medical essentials should be an integral part of everyone’s emergency planning. I am not talking merely Band-Aids and a roll of gauze. Look beyond the basics and get some training on how to use life-saving medical tools such as tourniquets, pressure bandages, occlusive dressings and the like. Perhaps learning how to suture and having a quality suture kit to do so should be within your planning regime. Personal medicine needs and related items for the long haul should be in the plan and as we are seeing today, quality face masks are in high demand. Take a CPR and basic first aid course when life gets back to normal and then continue building on that.

Backup Essentials
More than just your basic first aid

Although I have not specifically mentioned firearms in this article, I would be remiss in not addressing one issue. As everyone has seen in the last month there has been an overwhelming demand for guns and ammunition. Without a doubt many of these purchasers are first time gun buyers that have, in the past, been resistant to gun ownership. It is great to be able to exercise your 2nd Amendment right of gun ownership and your inherent right of self-defense despite what many politicians say. The White House and Department of Homeland Security have recently said guns stores and gun ranges (meaning the ability to train) are essential. I would implore those that have little or no actual hands-on training with a firearm to seek out quality training from a professional. Remember, gun safety, responsibility and competency are all up to you.

The list above could of course go on and on and is specific to your personal needs. Perhaps I will address other backup essentials soon in an additional article. But for now, I believe the saying “only a fool compares preparedness with paranoia” is very applicable.

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