Apr 19, 2012

10 Tips For Disaster Preparation: How to Survive Anything

tsunami in phuket

Last week disaster struck.  I was sitting in the Phuket airport in Thailand when I got news that an earthquake had hit the coast of Sumatra, Indonesia and a fierce tsunami was heading our way.  Everyone around me freaked out with their minds automatically dashing to the worst case scenario:  WE ARE GOING TO DIE!  My mind however did not think that.  For the last couple of years (post 9/11) I have been training myself for the ‘worst case scenarios’.  Below you will find my 10 tips to better prepare yourself in the event of a disaster or an emergency.

10 Tips For Disaster Preparation

1.  A weeks worth of water should be kept at your house at all times.  The average person needs a gallon of water a day so 7 gallons per person per week should be fine.

Tip:  If you run out of water you can find nearly 50 gallons inside your water heater and in the back tanks of your toilets.

2.  Keep a two weeks supply of canned food at home.  Your best options are soups, jerky, vegetables/fruits, stews, tuna, chicken, MRE’s (meals ready to eat) – anything in a can works, just make sure it has a long shelf life and wont spoil before you need it.  Also, food that doesnt need to be heated is a plus since you probably wont have access to a stove or eating device.

Tip:  Buy an extra can opener and keep it with your emergency supplies.

3.  Lights, Lights, and more Lights.  All you need is a quality flashlight (with spare batteries!!!) and maybe a few candles if you trust yourself to not burn the house down.  Another great option are the stick ‘em LED lights and glow sticks.

Tip:  The main thing to focus on is greatest amount of light for longest amount of time.  Candles are great but having to constantly monitor them is not.

4.  People in cold climates should keep extra blankets and maybe sleeping bags for good measure.  I dont advocate the use of kerosene heaters, gas stoves, or open fires for one reason… I’ve never used them.  If you have experience, use them.  If not, its not worth putting your self in a worse disaster should you accidently burn your house down trying to make beef stew.

5.  Learn CPR.  Its easy, free, and something everyone should know.

6.  Work with your family to devise a simple to follow home evacuation plan.

7.  Keep your car gassed and one of your emergency kits stored safely in the trunk (see below)

8.  Have a quality hand cranked radio that doesn’t rely on batteries.  A good option is this Eton which also includes a flashlight, cellphone charger, and solar power cells.

9.  Keep a multi-tool in your home.  Leatherman makes a good one:  Leatherman - Keep the blades sharp and make sure its kept in a safe and memorable place.

earthquake emergency kit

10.  If youre feeling espically lazy, you can buy “stater emergency kits” that contain all of the products listed above.  Two of the best and easiest to purchase are the Mayday 4 Person Emergency Kit and the QuakeHold! 2 person – 3 Day Backpack Kit.  Stansport and Ready America also make adequate kits.

For more information I recommend reading Neil Strauss’s excellent book EMERGENCY:  This Book Will Save Your Life.  The book details Neil’s quest to become super human in the event of the ‘worst case scenario’  Its not only a first hand account but provides tons of information like I listed above.  Its a must read!  Get it here:  EMERGENCY


P.S. – If you haven’t signed up for Dropbox, they are currently offering up to 16GB of free storage.  Thats twice as much as they offered before.  Not sure how long this will last so get it while its good.  Check it out on Dropbox.com


1 Comment

  • At one point, my hospital’s disaster committee realized that it needed some caches of portable lights in case of complete power failure. There are commercial-quality lights available for this purpose, but they’re pretty expensive for what you get, use rechargeable NiCd (nickel-cadmium) batteries with all their attendant problems. And so I thought that the caving, cave rescue, mountain rescue, and mountaineering community knew quite a bit about lighting for emergency conditions, and that we might be able to do better. I sent an email out to those I know in these fields, and got lots of good ideas – some of which conflict, of course – but close enough that there seemed to be a fair consensus. This is not an exhaustive survey of the topic of handheld (or head-worn) lighting, but is an executive summary for those not experienced with the field. (My apologies to all of my advisors whose advice has been mangled and strangled and made to fit into this brief format.

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