Tag: RunningSnail

Disasters in the News

Newspapers with burning headlines showing disasters
Photo by Elijah O’Donnell on Unsplash

Just a week ago I was sweeping up the last remnants of 2019 and getting set for 2020. Remember? I ended 2019 with some entertaining books and movies with disaster themes!

Well, that easy start was obliterated by recent 2020 REAL disasters in the news.

In just the last 7 days we’ve seen headlines like: Assassination — Missile strikes – Earthquakes — Raging Wildfires – Retaliation — Plane Crash – Deepfakes – Drone Swarms – Power Grid Cyber-attack — and of course, Harry and Meghan.

(I added that last item just to lighten things up a little.)

All the turmoil was enough to cut through any complacency I was feeling and bring me sharply back to reality.

Above all, it prompted me to once again make sure that I have basic emergency supplies at the ready – in the house, in the car, and in the office.  Supplies I can tap if I’m  stuck at home, and supplies that are packed up (or could be quickly packed up) if I have to leave and head somewhere safer.

The following list of emergency supplies is the most basic I can come up with.

I hope and trust you are familiar with everything I write about here!

In any case, here it is for your review. I am adding a few details that might encourage you to refresh or add to your supplies.

If you do see something that’s missing from your list, don’t delay! If one of the disasters in the news comes to pass in YOUR neighborhood, you  may NOT have the opportunity to get any of these essentials!

LifeStraw personal water filter for emergencies

Water in an emergency.

Earthquake, cyber-attack, flood, accident – any of these could interrupt your supply of clean water. Be sure you revisit your long-term supply. And if you haven’t yet, get a LifeStraw personal water filter for everyone in the family. Cheap, pretty sturdy, and easy to use. Even a child understands how to use it. (Click on the link above to check pricing at Amazon, where we are Associates. This LifeStraw was on sale when I grabbed the image!)

Keeping warm.

As I’ve mentioned many times, it doesn’t take actual freezing temperatures to create an emergency; a few hours at 50 degrees may be enough. Do you have blankets in the house and in the car? What about emergency sleeping bags?

We all are familiar with Mylar space blankets, costing less than $5 each. I’ve talked about the advantages of buying them by the dozen, so everyone in the family (or the neighborhood group) has several in every backpack.

Mylar space blanket with tarp, perfect for creating outdoor shelter

Lately I’ve noticed some better quality space blankets. Some are larger sizes. Others are gold/silver reflective. Still others, like this one, have Mylar on one side and a waterproof tarp on the other. (See the grommets? Meant to help turn it into a shelter.)

You can get this version in orange/silver and in green/silver (from other manufacturers). Again, click the link in the text above — not the image — to compare prices and styles at Amazon.

And in this Mylar category I have to include — again! — the Bivy Bag. Here’s the whole description of this WATERPROOF bag:

Life Bivy Emergency Sleeping Bag Thermal Bivvy – Use as Waterproof Emergency Blanket, Mylar Sleeping Bag, Survival Sleeping Bag – Includes Nylon Bag with Survival Whistle + Paracord String (Orange)

Wondering about that word “bivy?” (Also spelled “Bivvy.” I assumed it was from the French, bivouac  – “a temporary camp without shelter.” Actually, after writing this I then had to look up the word. I found what I had expected. I also found “bivvy sac” – a waterproof bag meant to protect a sleeping bag. Eh, voila!)

Something nourishing to eat.

I am sure you have snacks, hard candies, and some pop-top cans of fruit in every survival kit. These will work for a day or two. But if the power is off and the emergency continues, particularly if there is damage to your environment, you’ll need more than snacks! The easiest things to buy and to count on to be there when you need them?  MREs.  Delicious? Maybe not. Nutritious and comforting?  Yes. (In this case, both the image and the link will take you to Amazon so you can compare MRE packages — sizes, menus, etc.) (While we’re on vocabulary, MRE = Meals Ready to Eat.)

Western Frontier 2021 and up Inspection Date, 2018 Pack Date, Meals Ready-to-Eat Genuine US Military Surplus with Western Frontier’s Inspection

Light in the dark.

You know our attraction to emergency lanterns. (I have one of the Vont pull-ups right here on my desk as I am typing this.) Don’t overlook extra batteries for lamps, lanterns or flashlights. In addition, you may want to consider a solar-powered battery charger.

Likewise, you may want to take a look at this new gadget. (New to me, anyway.) It charges 11 sizes of batteries that fit in your lanterns, your flashlights, and your emergency radio. Click on the image and read all the details carefully to be sure this will work for the batteries you’re using. I have not personally used this charger, so I’d welcome any comments!

Emergency radio.

I notice that some of the emergency radios are on post-holiday sales, so don’t hesitate. What to look for? Sturdy. Powered by solar, battery and hand crank. AM/FM and probably NOAA. What you want to know is how the disasters in the news are developing. Everything else — flashlights, etc. — are extra.

This image shows an emergency radio from RunningSnail. The company makes a couple of versions — I like this one because it can store more power than the less expensive model.

Actually, consider getting several radios (perhaps with different features). You’ll want one for the house and one to keep in each car.  (Our radio reviews are being updated right now for the New Year.

Emergency communications.

Your cell phone will be the first thing you turn to when you hear about disasters in the news. Be sure you have a car charger plug. And get a power bank and/or solar charger for the phone, too. Remember, TEXT messages may get through when a phone call won’t.

(Do you know the number of your emergency contact? In your phone does run out of battery, you won’t be able to look up a number. You need to know it by heart!)


Stock up on toilet paper NOW!  The shelves in the grocery store will be emptied within hours of a storm announcement! (You can always use extra paper supplies for bartering.) Same with baby wipes and antiseptic wipes. And be sure you have some sturdy plastic bags in the car, packed in a plastic container (with lid) big enough to serve as an emergency toilet. Messy but better than getting out of the car in the blowing sleet — or having an accident IN the car . . .!

First aid and medicines.

Only you know what you need. The trick is to actually have your pills and/or drops with you at all times. Not so easy, actually. You’ll need to find the right size plastic containers, label them, and hoard enough extra pills so you can pack up a couple of week’s supply. Really, do it.

Now I wear contact lenses, so one of my emergency challenges is to have extra lenses and a packable size bottle of lens fluid ready. (I have to search to get the 4 oz. sizes – necessary if you fly, too. Actually, even my 4 oz. bottle was confiscated at the airport last year, so I had to board without anything other than a tiny bottle of artificial tears. NOT good for a 15 hr. flight . . .!)


The recent national study by FEMA reported that most people who have set aside money for emergencies have less than $500. If disasters are threatening in the news, and you have to leave home, that money isn’t going to take you far.

Talk to friends and family about being ready to take in someone when disaster hits the news. Maybe you could get a bulk deal on blow up mattresses! (I borrowed a mattress over Thanksgiving. These days nearly all mattresses have built in electric pumps – fantastic! – and most are at least 18 inches high so they are like a real bed, not like camping on the ground. I figure you know about what a blow up bed looks like. Here’s a link to a positively reviewed queen sized mattress that’s actually 22 inches high, so you can get an idea of prices!

Intex Comfort Plush Elevated Dura-Beam Airbed with Internal Electric Pump, Bed Height 22″, Queen

How can you afford to stock up on emergency supplies?

Now, as I look back over this list I see that many of the items cost less than $25! A few are more expensive, of course. All these items are readily available. And many are on sale right now, when merchants want to clear the shelves for spring and summer items.

Push back against the negativity of disasters in the news by taking positive action.

Please, make up your own shopping list and get started checking things off as soon as you can. And share this list with friends, family and neighbors.

We all need to bolster our feeling of confidence in the face of so many disasters in the news. Knowing you’ve taken basic precautions will make a big difference in your outlook.

But don’t be foolish! As you shop, watch for these dangers.

In the aftermath of the holidays there are still lingering sales promotions. And, of course, some people prey on the fear and concern that comes with negative headlines, and they offer deals you “need to get before it’s too late.”

So while I encourage you to shop, I also urge caution. Here are three reminders about sales scams to avoid:

  1. Don’t click links in emails that go directly to products. These products could be counterfeit. Get the name of the manufacturer and go to their website or to a trusted retailer where you have some recourse if the product isn’t what it was advertised.
  2. Don’t open ads or click on product pop-ups on your computer or smartphone. Not only could you be being scammed as far as the product goes, you could be inviting malware onto your computer. Again, go to the source or to a trusted retailer.
  3. “Free” or “introductory” offers are always suspect.  Watch for “shipping and handling” costs (Often that’s where the seller is making his or her profit). And be particularly careful to read “the fine print” which might reveal you will be charged “the regular price” starting two weeks from now!

Whew, that should be enough for today! So I wish you well with your shopping — and getting started in this New Year!

Your Emergency Plan Guide team