Tag: lanterns

Mini-Series Uncovers New Needs

Man holding bullhorn, announcing emergency
“Emergency Alert! Emergency Alert!”

Being stuck at home due to Covid-19 has given us the chance to finish our Mini-Series of booklets on emergency preparedness. As of this week, there are 14 booklets lined up and ready to go! Today I want to give you some insight into what we discovered along the way as we completed this project.

Why a Mini-Series?

We’re always trying to make it easier for people to get started on preparedness. The Mini-Series booklets cover just one topic each. Pick the topic you feel is most urgent or that you want more details on. (Here’s the link to a page that describes the “why” behind the series.)

Now, if you’re a writer, you know that writing even a short booklet takes a lot of time. And although we were comfortable with each of these topics, we wanted to be sure to add solid background so readers could make useful decisions. So we did research on every topic to see what more we should include.

The bonus from the Mini-Series research?

We learned a lot! And while we got great ideas for people just starting we also uncovered needs for those of us who have been working on preparedness for a while.  

Here are a few of my favorite discoveries from some of the booklets.

They may be just in time for Black Friday or whenever you start thinking seriously about holiday gifts! The links below take you to Amazon; if you buy through these links we may earn a small commission.  

Need #1 — Ever more clean water

Mini-Series from Emergency Plan Guide

About 10 years ago my son somehow caught a bug from water in a high mountain stream. (He wasn’t even drinking the water, just crossing the stream.) It put him into the hospital for 5 days! Since then I’m particular about clean water.

And as I was reviewing how we will fare in an emergency, with no municipal water, I read more and more about FAMILY SIZED water purification systems. Yes, individual water purifiers like the LifeStraw are handy and effective, but in a longer term situation you’ll need more capacity. Check out this Berkey. (Berkey is hands down the favorite of so many of our preparedness colleagues.) As you might expect, there are several models and sizes. This travel version is gravity-fed, filters enough for 1-3 people a day. (Note it comes with two types of filters.)

Travel Berkey Water Filter with 2 Black Berkey Filters and 2 PF2 Fluoride Filters

Need #2 — More medical competence

Mini-Series from Emergency Plan Guide

I learned more writing this booklet than any other in the series! It’s clear that relying on common sense only goes so far when it comes to medical emergencies. We have to get training! So in addition to the trainings recommending the booklet,  I have two recommendations you can start with right now.

I bought and devoured The Ultimate Survival Medicine Guide by Joseph Alton, MD and Amy Alton, ARNP. And then I discovered there is a newer version, out now, and I recommend it highly! (There’s a deal whereby you can actually get 3 copies for the price of 2.) The Altons’ books are totally readable and make you fee a WHOLE lot better about addressing wounds, sickness, etc. I cannot recommend them more highly.

The Survival Medicine Handbook: THE essential guide for when medical help is NOT on the way

Along with the first aid Guide we all need a better quality first aid kit. I’ve complained consistently about cheap first aid kits. And I still will. It’s time to step up to a more complete collection of first aid tools and supplies.

The kit shown below comes from SurviveWare. At Amazon you’ll see several kit options: bigger, smaller, for home, for truck, etc. You may not be ready for the most comprehensive (and most expensive) kit, but you can certainly feel more confident with the basic pack shown here.

Surviveware Large First Aid Kit & Added Mini Kit for Trucks, Car, Camping and Outdoor Preparedness

Need #3 — Better emergency communications

Emergency Preparedness Mini-Series: Evacuate!

As I described a couple of weeks ago (seems like ages, so much has happened since!) we came close to a mandatory evacuation in the face of a wind-blown wildfire. At 7 that morning we were wakened by the property managers looking for the bullhorn owned by our team.

Joe got it out (see photo above!) and used it to wake up neighbors in our immediate vicinity. Later we used an automated emergency telephone message to alert everyone. If power had been out, that bullhorn would have had a more important role to play!  

If you work with a group, you may want to take another look at having a bullhorn available. But first off, a cautionary note. While we consider this to be an important addition to your emergency equipment, many people report quality control issues on even the reasonably priced units. More professional products such as used by police and First Responders cost more but are likely to be more reliable. We like to recommend products with a high reliability — this is one area where we may be challenged to do that.

(Our own budget doesn’t allow for multiple high-end products. We have had good experience with the moderately priced one Joe is holding, but if our budget allowed we’d look at more expensive models.)

In any case, here are some features to compare: how is the bullhorn powered? Rechargeable or C batteries or either? Voice, siren and ability to record a message that can be repeated automatically? Built-in or handheld microphone? If there’s a question, remember that Amazon offers returns for items only within 30 days of receipt of shipment.

Pyle Megaphone 50-Watt Siren Bullhorn – Bullhorn Speaker w/ Detachable Microphone, Portable Lightweight Strap & Rechargeable Battery – Professional Outdoor Voice for Police & Cheerleading – PMP57LIA

 Need #4 — More emergency lighting

Emergency Preparedness Mini-Series

It should be pretty clear what one item is important in each of these two emergency situations! So I really don’t need to write much more. We have stocked up and we continue to find the VONT lanterns simply the best!

We have one in every single room in the house and one in the shed. We use them as night lights and when we work on the plumbing under the sink. We give them away as prizes and as Christmas presents. Other people seem to like them too, because they are the top seller of everything we write about! Lightweight, bright (adjustable), not expensive. And now, VONT has packaged the lamps with companion headlamps. When there’s no power, you’ll want both.

Vont 2-Pack Spark Headlamp + 4-Pack Lantern Bundle – Must-Have for Biking, Camping, Hiking, Hunting, Other Outdoor and Night Activities – Ideal for Emergencies and Outages During Storms, Hurricanes

The Mini-Series started it all.

We’ve highlighted a few volumes of the Mini-Series here. Just this week we came out with Protect Your Pet — a whole new adventure in emergency preparedness! You can see more about each book here on our site, or even jump directly to Amazon where the whole series is featured!

As I’ve mentioned, the next and final step with the series is to turn it into a course meant to help a group build community and skills at the same time. Watch for more!

In the meanwhile, take a closer look at some of the resources and equipment mentioned in this Advisory. I think they are all important.

Your Emergency Plan Guide team

Power Outage — Another Chance to Practice


The power went out tonight at 7:16 p.m.

It was still pretty light outside, but the house was instantly, shockingly dark except for the hall, where the emergency lights glowed.

Lantern for power outage

Lantern in the bathroom

Grab flashlight from cupboard. Track down phone number for electric company. Regular phone doesn’t work, so punch through six different choices on cell phone to get recorded message: “Widespread outage. Estimated time to service restoral — one hour.”

Turn on walkie-talkie, request check-in from emergency team members.

“Division One, do you read?”

“Division Three, do you read?”

“Division Five, do you read?”

Finally, some answers trickle in. Somewhere somebody from outside our network is using the same channels, so they annoyingly insert themselves into our conversations.

Getting darker quickly, now. We pull out two of our lanterns. They work great!

A friend comes by in his new golf cart, and he and I make a circle of the neighborhood. People are leaning out on their porches, gathering in little groups on the street. Much laughter. Doug and I check the front gates: they’re open, as they should be. We meet a couple of stray people who are scrounging up and down the street for flashlights or batteries from their neighbors.

Overall, the feeling of a block party!

Full dark. The new golf cart has no lights (!) so we creep along. I have my trusty flashlight, of course, and use it to alert people that we’re approaching. As we pass house after house, Doug and I discuss people who we know have oxygen or CPAP machines, and wonder how they are coping.

We totally miss the people straggling out from the community center. As it turns out, the automatic doors there shut down tight, and the emergency bars were difficult to figure out. Fortunately, a number of the exit doors have push bars.

Back home. Another call to the utility. “Restoral in 10 minutes,” they say. We’re dubious. I pass along the latest via the radio. Streets are now empty, dim lights visible in most of them. Over the fence out on the main street, we see the flashing lights of the utility trucks and hear the workers calling to one another.

“Street lights up on our street,” comes the report from Division Four. Nothing here. Suddenly, rather like a Christmas scene, lights start popping on. Yellow street lights, red and blue TV screens, white porch lights. It’s over! Only ten minutes after they said it would be!

Such a relatively benign “emergency.”

Yet some people found it more than just an inconvenience. One woman described how it brought back shocking memories of war for her. One friend had just had surgery, and she woke suddenly to a blackout. Very frightening.

So, another day passes and we have the chance to “test” our readiness. I’m betting and trusting that everyone will be more prepared next time! How would you have fared?

Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

P.S. We’ve talked a lot about emergency items. Here are a couple of our most popular posts: