Electronics - Urban and Suburban
During a natural or man-made disaster in an urban area, like Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans or an earthquake in Los Angeles, keeping in touch with the outside world or hearing alerts and reports of where to report for shelter or mandatory evacuations is crucial. Solar or hand-cranked radios (pictured top) become a necessary tool, and one you should purchase and keep on hand. Avoid plug-in radios as electricity may not be available during a crisis. If you use a battery-powered radio, be sure to keep an adequate supply of batteries. Try to keep enough battery power on hand to allow for a week or more of usage. Flashlights and alternate lighting sources such as hurricane and kerosene lamps keep you in light when darkness falls and no electricity is available. When purchasing and shopping for these lanterns, check to see how they operate under heavy winds, or in enclosed spaces.
Food and Water
Without water, humans can survive for only for a few days, and even after one day, people become distressed and uncomfortable. Purchase several five-gallon jugs and keep them filled with potable water out of the sun. Change the water every two to three months. In addition to keeping extra water on hand, shop for a water filter or purification tablets to treat any water needed after the disaster to prevent illness or contamination from entering your body. Shop for a supply of MREs (meals ready to eat) or dehydrated backpacking food. Keep at least one week's worth of meals per person in your household. Shop for high-calorie meals heavy on proteins and fats, as these provide nutrients and calories easily digested, keeping you well fed during a crisis. Store this in plastic tubs or bins, and with the extra water. Keep a bottle of multivitamins in the food bin to ensure proper nutrients.
During a survival situation, each piece of equipment will be used for a multitude of tasks and jobs. Shop for, and keep on hand, 100 feet of 5 mm cord, two rolls of duct tape, a thorough medical kit, small tool kit (hatchet, screwdrivers, wrench, vice grips and utility knife), space blankets (preferably bag style, as these can be used to hold water and other items), fire starter, lighters, waterproof matches, candles, pot for boiling water, fishing hooks with rod and reel, hunting rifle, and ammo and flares or signaling devices. Do not underestimate the value of small games, decks of cards or books. Keeping your mind sharp and entertained, or your family occupied, helps reduce mental stress and keep order during a crisis.