Am I A Prepper? No, Just Prepared

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What comes to mind when you think of the term “Prepper”?

I’d expect most folks would have some type of “extremism” perception, along the lines of the “Doomsday Preppers” show that aired on the National Geographic channel from 2012 – 2014.  Unfamiliar with the show?  Have some fun by watching this short trailer….

Am I A Prepper?

By now, you’re probably wondering where this is going.  Is Fritz A Prepper?  I’ll have to admit my wife and I have watched a few episodes of The Doomsday Prepper (downright scary, right?), and the thought of increasing our preparedness has crossed our minds.  However, I can assure you, I am not a “Prepper” in the traditional definition.

Not A Prepper, But Prepared

Ok, plot buster:  I’m not a prepper.  However, my wife and I ARE prepared.

We've prepared for the most likely outage scenarios in our environment. Click To Tweet

With all of the destruction in Houston this week, it seems an appropriate time to talk about preparedness.  Not “TEOTWAWKI” (The End Of The World As We Know It) level hysteria, but rather a discussion on some practical steps you should consider to prepare for the most likely scenarios you may face in your environment.

What, exactly, does a “most likely outage scenario” look like?  It depends on where you live. Spend a few minutes thinking about it.  Talk with your family, and imagine what natural disasters you could potentially face. You’ll likely come up with 2-3 scenarios that are most likely as a “Preparedness Scenario” for your situation.  If you’re in Florida/Texas, think Hurricanes.  If in the Midwest, think Tornado.  In colder climates, think severe winter storm.

Here’s what we see as the most likely scenarios in our environment.

  • Power outage for 3+ days due to a hurricane sweeping up the East Coast?  Check.
  • No heat for a few weeks in the winter due to infrastructure disruption?  Check.
  • No water since our well went dry?  Check.
  • No utilities due to tornado or ice storm taking down power?  Check.

The Big 3 (Water, Food, Power)

As you think through potential scenarios, focus on the most critical elements of water, food and power.  I’ll address each briefly below, as well as explain what our strategy has been to prepare in each of these areas.

Be prepared to cover your water, food and power needs in the event of a natural disaster. Click To Tweet

Water

As you likely know, the body can go weeks without food, but only days without water.  In our case, we found a low-cost and practical option for backup water supply, as shown below:

We bought this 330-gallon water tank for $75 on a local Facebook Yard Sale site.  It had been used in a water treatment plant to mix chlorine and water, so it wasn’t contaminated.  I spent an afternoon constructing a simple base and rerouting our gutter, and voila…hundreds of gallons of backup water.  We’d have to boil it to drink it, but we can manage that (we have a propane camp stove, a gas BBQ grill, and a wood fireplace).  Also, the rainwater supply could come in handy for flushing toilets, which would also be impacted if we lost water.

Fortunately, I bought two tanks and will be doing a similar installation on the back of the shed at our new “Great” cabin.  We’ll also use the tank to water our garden, which will help to rotate the water and provide free rain water to the plants in our garden.

Food

A lot of folks go crazy on storing food.  We’ve chosen a simpler route – we have a shelf in our basement with some canned goods on it.  We try to “buy what we eat, and eat what we buy”, rotating through the cans as they near their expiration date.  We also decided to buy a few boxes of freeze dried food, which last for ~25 years.  Buy it once, and forget it.  For food, we should be good for ~a month, which is the longest we can imagine in any of the most likely scenarios we’d face.  We’ll also be putting a garden in at our “great” cabin after I retire, and are planning to learn how to can produce as a retirement hobby.

Power

I had a friend who lived in Charlotte many years ago when a hurricane hit the Carolina coast.  He was without power for 6 weeks!  6 Weeks!!  He lived on a small dead-end road with only a few houses and was one of the final power lines repaired in the triage that followed the storm.  His life was miserable for a long time, and his story impacted me.

Like my friend, my wife and I also live on a small dead-end (dirt!) road, with only a few houses.  It’s possible that we could be without power for up to a month in some “within the realm of possibility” scenarios.

To address the risk, we’ve taken a fairly aggressive approach.  About a year ago, we purchased a serious 7500-watt generator.  Our logic – we wanted it portable, and we wanted it big.  This was the largest one we could find which was still portable.  Good thing, since we moved from Good To Great a few months ago, and were able to move the generator with us.

At our “Good” cabin, we had an electrician wire up a generator hookup system, where we could run ~1/2 of the cabin from our portable generator.  We’re going to do the same at our “Great” cabin before winter arrives.

We have six 5-gallon gas cans, which we rotate on a 6 month basis (dump the “old” one into your car, and refill the can).  With 30 gallons of gasoline in reserve, we’ll be able to run our generator for several weeks before having to worry about fuel.

In addition, we have a healthy collection of flashlights, spare batteries, candles and lanterns (see the pic to the left).

We also purchased a 900 watt inverter, which allows you to charge your cell phone and run small electrical appliances off your car’s battery (you can see it in the upper right of the picture above).

We also decided to address a few “creature comforts”, and bought a small camp shower (see above on left) and portable toilet.  For us, the minimal cost was worth the security of knowing we’ll be (relatively) comfortable in the event of a prolonged power outage.

Finally, one of the things we like about our “Great” cabin is the fact that it has a wood burning fireplace.  Before winter arrives, we’ll have some wood split and stacked nearby, ready to go in the event a power outage kills our furnace.  No power outage, no problem.  We’ll enjoy a few romantic evenings in front of a crackling fire.

Getting Home

One other area where we’ve prepared is a scenario where I’m “In The City” and my wife is at “The Great Cabin”. We’d be about 100 miles apart, and would obviously want to reunite.  To manage that risk, I keep a small backpack in the trunk of my car with ~3 days of supplies (water, snack bars, shelter, clothing).  I also keep a bike at my city apartment and would plan on riding my bike North to the cabin.  Have a plan to “get home”, keeping in mind your daily commute and what you’d do if you had to walk home.

How Prepping Is Similar To Financial Independence

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you’re responsible with your personal finances.  Are you also responsible for non-financial risks which your family faces? A small amount of planning now could make a huge difference in the event of a natural disaster.

Don’t think it can happen to you?

The folks in Houston were likely thinking the same thing.


Conclusion

Unfortunately, the word “Prepper” has become a stereotypical phrase which seems to ridicule those who take steps to protect themselves from potential natural disasters.  Take a fresh look at the concept, and think about your situation.

Do you have life insurance?  Why?  It’s unlikely you’ll die early, but you’re prepared for that scenario.

I’d argue you have a higher likelihood of being impacted by a natural disaster than you do of dying young.  Have you taken steps to mitigate this risk?  If you’re interested in learning more, I’d encourage you to listen to The Survival Podcast,  by Jack Spirko.  It’s a practical podcast focused on things you can consider for your situation.

Your Turn

What have you done to prepare for natural disasters?  What do you think of our plans?  Have we done too much? Too little?  What are we missing?

Leave a comment below (one of my favorite aspects of blogging is interacting with you through these comments), let’s have some discussion on “What is the appropriate level of preparedness for your situation?”

What's the most realistic outage scenario you could face? What are you doing about it? Click To Tweet

 

 

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54 comments

  1. We live in the Northeast and like to prepare for winter storms. We don’t have a fireplace, so we got a decent sized electric oil heater that throws off a ton of heat. We also have a portable generator that could power the heater and some lights in our living room, which is where we like to hang out during the storms. Luckily, our town runs it’s own power system and our neighbor who has lived on our street for 30 years says he has never lost power for more than an hour! When things go down, we don’t have to wait for a major power company to fix the whole region, the local guys are on it.

    We always have some extra food in the basement that we rotate through on a regular basis but we stock up a bit more in the winter.

    I like being prepared as much as possible. My husband would like to be more self reliant/homesteaders than we are, but we have to move to a more rural place first. I’m not sure our neighbors would appreciate chickens on our quarter acre!

    1. Chelsea, congrats on being in with the first comment! You’re lucky to have your an independent power system in your town, and a 30 year history of minimal interruption. Many of us (ME!) aren’t so fortunate. Yours is a good example of how you should modify your preparation for your own situation. Love the comment about chickens, my wife and I have talked about that but don’t want the “anchor” when we launch our RV travel after retirement!

  2. Upper MidWest so tornados and cold if there is a power outage. Suppose my gas fireplace won’t be helping if our furnace goes out!

    We are in the city so multiple weeks is unlikely, but multiple days could happen and we don’t really have a contingency plan for the cold, would be borrowing or buying a generator to run space heaters

    1. AE, I grew up in Michigan, and recall several tornadoes passing through during my childhood. Scary stuff, tho we were luck to avoid any direct hits. We thought about waiting until something “hit” before buying our generator, but decided it wasn’t worth the risk of having all of the local inventory depleted by the time we were able to get to the store!

  3. I think “less is more” doesn’t apply to preparedness. Overkill is better. You’re smart to have a generator considering where you live is fairly remote. Do you have any plans to grow food?

    We need to seriously add prepping to our to-do list. When you live in an apartment or a large subdivision you tend to think you’re safe because either help will come, or you have neighbors to rely on. But when Hurricane Sandy hit NY, my friends in Manhattan were unable to get food. Supermarkets in their area were not receiving supplies and the electricity was out. Just getting in and out of their apartment building was difficult since the elevator wasn’t working.

    1. Hey Mrs. G! It’s easy to overlook the importance of being prepared. Now that you have the time, I agree that you should prioritize it! Spend some time with Mr. G figuring out your biggest risks, then spend some time building contingencies. It’s kinda fun, and brings some comfort to know that you’re protected “just in case”! Keep us posted!

  4. Living in Hurricane and Tornado states I never really prepped. I figured if a tornado knocks you out, you will be lucky to survive and you can leave a Hurricane before it hits. That being said, I was without power for 1 week in Memphis back in 2003 and without power in New Orleans for another week in 2011. It was definitely hot and muggy but we just made our way to downtown where there was power and ate and drank our way to contentment.

    Now that I am in Northern Cali, earthquakes are a possibility and I have a son….so I bought a earthquake survival packet with first aid kids, food, water storage, a bucket you can use for a bathroom, etc. It is all in a back pack along and placed next to my tent. Throw it in the car and leave if needed.

    My brother on the other hand has prepped way more. Tons of food, a generator, etc. He even has a full surgical unit (he is a orthopedic surgeon) he can take with him. So if you are at the end of the world and need an operation, find him and he can do it. Pretty wild stuff.

    1. PM me with your brother’s contact info, he sounds like he could come in handy! Good for you for taking some first steps for being prepared for an earthquake (I agree, one of your highest risks in CA), think about gradually building up your “insurance” as time/money permits! Thanks for the comment!

  5. Living in northern Michigan, we stock not only our house, but also our cars with some provisions for emergencies, particularly snow storms 😉

    In the winter, we keep extra blankets, food/water and emergency items (flares, etc) in our cars. Every so often, we have a storm that could easily stop you in your tracks on the road due to white out conditions and the amount of snow-fall. And at home, a good storm could snow us in for a day or so (+ leave us without power).

    I like the huge water container… I may need to look into that!

    1. Mrs. AR, thanks for your comment. We had a big ice storm in Atlanta a few years back, and the few folks who had emergency supplies in their cars fared much better than those without. Another trick I learned – keep a candle in your car’s emergency kit. It’s a small flame, but the warmth can be welcome if stranded on a cold night. Thanks for the compliments on the water container, I was pleased with that find!

  6. This is one of your better blogs. Not about finance, nor travel, nor anything else out there except life. I/ we are not preppers in any sense of the word. Both cars are filled with gas. We have 3 pantries with canned goods and boxes of dry food we rotate regularly etcetcetc. We have no ” armament” of any kind nor any protection. We have 3 months of cash in small bills and gold coins. We have 3 big coolers in the garage that we can move food to from the fridge when power goes off for more than several days. We store ice regularly. We live in a beautiful retirement area with others like ourselves. We watch out for each other, and the police rotate thru our semi- gated community daily. And we pray.

    1. “This is one of your better blogs” – wow, Jack, given that I’ve written ~200 posts, that’s a real honor coming from a regular reader like you! Great point in bringing up prayer, definitely helps at all times, especially times of crisis! Keeping those folks in Houston in my prayers, I can’t imagine going through something like that and hope I never have to! You sound reasonable in your preparedness, we’re of like mind!

  7. I was talking with my husband about this a few weeks ago. We are also on a private dirt road with not many houses. While we have prepared some (generator, some food, wood for the fireplace) we could and should do more. With Michigan winters and storms, it pays to be ready. Thanks for sharing your strategy, Fritz!

    1. Amy, I’m pleased to hear my post made you pause and think about what else you should do. It sounds like you have some of the basics covered, but it never hurts to run through a mental checklist and figure out your next steps. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. This is FANTASTIC advice. We were spared most of the hurricane’s wrath, but we did get A LOT of the hysteria here. The highways were jammed and all of the grocery stores were emptied out. It was insane. We were actually projected to get the flooding that Houston is experiencing. It’s insane to see the devastation. It’s lit a fire beneath our feet to actually prep for an emergency, because they always happen when you least expect it.

    1. Wow, didn’t realize you were “in the path”, Mrs. PP. No doubt about it, if you wait until “the storm” is upon you, you’ve waited too long. We always laugh about how the stores get emptied out here in the South whenever there’s a FORECAST of snow. Best to be prepared before you need it. Stay safe, and keep us posted!

  9. Interesting read. We have not prepped our mountain home yet. Water would be an issue in power loss since we have a bubble up water treatment system for our well water. Heating, we could get by, since we have a large gas tank for supplemental heating – this could be main source to heat a small part of the downstairs area.

    One thing often not considered in an emergency is making an immediate phone call for help or a call to family to share that you are OK. A scenario is “Oh crap, both mobile phones are dead. (unlikely, but possible) Where is the solar charger to get some juice in a phone?” Solar charger(s) can be invaluable on extended outdoor hikes, also useful in other scenarios.

    1. “We have not prepped our mountain home yet”…come on, Mr. PIE, time to get busy!! One of the things we like about our new “great” cabin is that it has a private well, which we’ll be able to run off our generator. You may want to check into that. Water’s always the thing I worry about the most.

      Good point on the phone system. Many stories about cell signals getting jammed, I’ve heard that texts are more reliable. We considered a solar phone charger, but ended up going with the inverter since it could be used for things beyond simply charging the phones. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Man, you’re prepared! We aren’t anywhere near that, but my camping gear (stove/gas, dehydrated meals, etc) could be used to get us through a week without electricity. We wouldn’t be prepared for loss of water. Thanks for the reminder. Good stuff to think about.

    My best friend from college lives in Houston, and he’s been holed up in his apartment since the weekend. Luckily, he hasn’t lost electricity or water (yet?), and he has enough food. It’s also good that he’s a few floors up so he isn’t in danger of getting flooded.

    1. Dylan, no doubt about it, camping gear can serve as a very helpful prep contingency, so long as you’re willing to keep it simple if things go dark. Water’s definitely something to think about (even if it’s just an emergency “straw” to filter out the nasties, tho I’d suggest that as a bare minimum only).

      Interesting to hear about your friend in Houston – check out the comment below from Debra who’s living it live in Houston. Our prayers go out to all of those impacted.

  11. Nice angle.

    We have a fireplace and wood, so having cold should not be the issue.
    Food and water would be a big issue. Almost no canned food and no water stored at all.. we have beer. Does that count?

    We live 1 mile from 3 grocery stores. Question is thus:how fast do they run out of supplies.

    1. Yikes, Amber. Hate to tell you, but I think you have some work to do. Before we were at the level we’re at now, we’d always planned to dash to the supermarket immediately upon hearing of any natural disaster. Having been in that frame of mind, I can say with 100% certainty that it feels MUCH better to know you already have your emergency supplies in stock and ready to go. Start with water (no, beer doesn’t count! :)), and work your plan. Thanks for the transparency.

  12. We’ve lost power a couple of times, mostly due to ice storms. After the first one, hubby fixed up the gas logs and bought a car inverter (enough power to run a radio or lamp, but not a ton of power.) We have a generator, too, but we haven’t lost power long enough to break it out since.

    Dad got hit by a tornado 6 years ago, in an isolated home in the woods outside of town. He and my stepmom were able to stay with friends for several weeks while the house get back to liveable (they had roof damage in addition to lack of power) but just getting the cars out of the driveway took several guys with chainsaws and four days. If you don’t have one, Fritz, it might be worth picking one up just in case.

    1. Emily, interesting that you also invested in an inverter, that was one of our first preps. Generator certainly brings a stronger feeling of confidence, especially when your house is wired and you can simply plug it in and continue living your life.

      Great addition about the chain saws. I own two, and I’ll never live without one. Thanks for the add.

  13. We are in Houston, and we were almost as prepared as we could be for this horrible situation. We always try to have bottled water and non-perishable food on hand during hurricane season. We do not have a generator, but we have camping equipment, so we would be ok without power.

    We were not prepared for the following…

    When and how to turn off electrical upon water entering home…
    We have learned you should turn off when it begins to enter house, or when it approaches the outlets. You must stand on something, so you are not standing in water when you do it. Use a wooden board to flip the breaker.

    We didn’t know the details and potential dangers of our watershed
    The reservoirs that serve us can become full and spillover. We do not happen to be in the path of spillover water, but we didn’t know until just now.

    Leaving town may not be an option, possibly for days. We are always told to have 72 hours of food and water, but that is really minimum. We do have plenty, but I didn’t actually think we’d need it. Lines at open grocery stores are hours long today on day 4, and at this time it is unclear when the stores can be re-supplied, if trucks cannot navigate into town.
    You may need to help neighbors with supplies, so plan on having even more for unexpected guests.

    I agree with the suggestion to just sit down and think about horrible scenarios, and try to plan for them.

    1. WOW, Debra. I cannot IMAGINE what you’re going through today. Thanks for bringing reality into the discussion. Few of us ever have to deal with what you’re dealing with today, and the lessons you’re learning are invaluable to us all. Thanks for the comprehensive note. I’m praying for you, hang in there. This will last a long, long time. Pace yourself, be thankful that you made it through the initial shock, and prepare yourself mentally for the long slog ahead. Keep us posted, sincerely feel for ya’ll in Texas!

  14. Ha!! Our plan is very similar, right down to the exact same generator. 🙂 I totally agree with you, Fritz. Prepared but not crazy prepping as portrayed on that show. They really did their best to make those people look like nutcases, and I’m sure some of them were, but most were probably a lot like you guys and like us. We’ve had short (less than 24 hrs) power outages before we got the generator, and it was pretty scary. Not going there again.

  15. Careful Fritz, prepping can become addicted. I myself have fallen all the way down the rabbit hole. I keep 2 different locations ‘up to snuff’

    1 quick idea for beginners. there is a product called a WaterBob. It is just a big plastic bag with a valve, costs $20. You put it in your tub and fill it up with water (up to 100 gallons)before the water stops working due to power failure. Great first step prep.

  16. Having food for a month but lacking a firearm and ammunition to protect your family may not equate to really being prepared. In a major disaster law enforcement may be spread too thinly to be available if someone decides they want your food. It isn’t politically correct to say but if people get hungry enough they may resort to taking food by force. I’m not recommending an arsenal, but I feel the ultimate responsibility for protecting my family doesn’t lay with the police, it belongs to me.

    1. Hey Steve, clearly firearms are a hot topic in the “Prepper” community. I intentionally kept my post focused on covering the basic elements of survival (water, food, power). The choice of whether to extend to firearms is a personal choice. In my case, yes, we do have some firearms. My “home defense” preference, a reliable 12 gauge pump action shotgun. First few rounds are birdshot, elevating to 00 Buckshot if I have to get serious. My “go bag” may also contain a Glock (and yes, I have a concealed carry permit)…

      I hope I never have to go there, but once again….I’m prepared.

      1. Funny the talk about firearms. I always tell people when talking about prepping: “I’m a nice girl who generally would never ever steal or intentionally harm anyone, however I would steal in a heartbeat if my kids were starving. ”

        People do things they wouldn’t normally do in the case of extreme disasters/emergencies. Therefore firearms can be a good choice if you think you can handle/store them smartly and safety.

  17. First, I hope that everyone in Houston ok any I will pray for them. We learned to be better prepared for power outages after Super Storm Sandy in 2012. Sandy was the worst storm I ever experienced. My wife and I live in the mountains and we’ lost power for one week. We just went down to my parents house who did not loose power. After Sandy, we bought a generator, candles, and stocked our pantry with canned goods.

  18. With what’s going on in Houston, I’ve revisited my level of preparedness for a natural disaster. Where I live, we’re due for an earthquake, “the big one” anytime now. I’ve basically been working to have 72 hours of basic needs, food and water, along with some medical supplies. I’ve also learned a lot from looking up some videos on youtube by professional preppers. I used to think people were going overboard until some of my friends had recent issues with hurricanes and crazy snowstorms. Now I feel it’s definitely prepared to be a bit overprepared if that’s possible.

  19. Wow, I’m very impressed with your prepping, umh, preparation for the unexpected! Having a generator and food and water supplies is just prudent, so I can attest that on the nut-case-meter of the show “Doomsday Preppers” (we love to watch that, too, great entertainment) you don’t even register. Now that’s a compliment, isn’t it?
    We live in a densely populated metro area and watching what’s going on in Houston makes us uneasy, for sure. We can’t run a generator out of our condo but we do store emergency rations of food and water! Maybe we should get a Ruger 10/22 in case of a Zombie outbreak!? Have to ask the wife about that one…

  20. We have a generator and 2 50 gallon drums of water. I need to beef up (pun intended) on the vittles. We’re nowhere near a floodplain & out town seems to have actually done planning for drainage issues. BUT, we are exploring flood insurance. We do have earthquake insurance, but live not too far from a major fault line.

    1. Melinda, good point on flood insurance. Many folks don’t realize that “basic” homeowner policies don’t cover flood damage, it takes an extra “rider”. If it’s a risk, it’s worth checking into. Congrats on having some pretty solid preparations in place.

  21. You are really prepared. Like the idea of a bicycle to get home as a backup plan. We also added a rain water storage tank just like the one in your photo in the back plus a smaller 50 gallon rain barrel in the front . Always have large food supply for us and the pets. Lots of candles, wood for the fireplace and propane for a gas log fireplace. Where we are, tornados and ice storms are out most likely events and our basement is where we and the pets head when there are tornado warnings.

    1. Hey Curtis! You may have to throw a bike into the back of your Jeep when you’re up working in Smoky Mountain National Park! That’d be a pretty strong ride for your spry 80 year old body, but I’d bet that you’d be one who would be able to make it!

      Interesting that we both have cisterns. You’ve taught me well, my friend. Enjoy that new puppy.

  22. I lived in Houston and was working/living in a hospital for a few days in 2008 during Hurricane Ike. Came back to the apartment with no electricity and no running water, and completely ill prepared. I think we had a can of Chef Boyardee. I would like to say we learned our lesson, but we moved to the Midwest not long after and haven’t done nearly as much as we should to be prepared.

    I have family and friends in Houston still, and it’s a good reminder to get the things now that we will need for such an emergency.

  23. The most likely thing to impact me is a winter storm knocking out power for a week. I have a week’s supply of water hidden in my room. I also rotate out my canned goods. As an experiment, and because it was cheaper in bulk, I bought some “emergency” rations of slow oats, rice and flour. I can make overnight oats with things I have on hand even without electricity. I always dress as if I may have to walk five miles (the distance between my work and my home) and am in comfortable footwear. I keep some handwarmers in with my cold-weather running gear. Those go in the boots in case my wool socks and layering just aren’t enough. Plenty of unread books and a fully charged Kindle should provide the entertainment that writing and board games don’t.

    I also keep beer and liquor on hand. In case I want more than water.

  24. Very entertaining read, Fritz! I remember reading “Killing Sacred Cows: the 401K Hoax” and the slew of “doomsday” advice given therein. Tips like keeping gold in a safe in case cash was no longer a viable currency. Crazy. I took the one piece of advice that made sense out of that book – got a will written up (oh, and bought a few rental homes too, since 401ks are a hoax… *wink*)

    1. Hey Cubert, thanks for stopping by! Yep, you definitely come across some really extreme suggestions (e.g., Doomsday Prepper), but I always find a few things I can modify and apply for our situation. Good move on the Will, tho I don’t know how much that would benefit you in a power outage (wink).

  25. Hubby and I were fulltime RVers when 9/11 happened. The banking industry basically shut down for 2 days, which meant no ATMs and no credit card processing at any stores. As a result, we always keep some cash on hand in case another bank shutdown happens, for whatever reason. (At the time, the stores would only sell to people with cash).

    We also try to keep at least 1/2 tank of gas in the van at all times. That’s enough to get many miles down the road, if we ever had to evacuate.

    Whenever a power outage lasts more than a few hours, we move into the RV and run the on-board generator. The rig also has a 30-gallon fresh water tank, which is always filled.

    A few years ago, when we lived in a more rural area, we had a whole house generator and a water storage tank similar to yours (although our tank was filled from well water and stored in the basement). Both gave us piece of mind, even though we didn’t need to use them very often.

    With respect to your water tank, have you considered getting a personal water filter to avoid boiling water? Camping stores sell them for back country hikers, and the better ones make even the nastiest water safe to drink. I’m thinking of getting at least one to carry in our grab-and-go bag.

    Lastly, since we travel to areas not far from nuclear reactors, I also keep potassium iodide tablets on hand. They’re inexpensive, sealed in blister packs and don’t expire for several years. Chances are we’ll never need them, but if there’s ever a TMI-like accident nearby, at least we won’t have to line up with the throngs.

  26. Ann, RV’s are excellent “prepper” assets, in addition to being a great hobby! We’re planning on getting a nice 5th wheel for our post-retirement travels, and I’ve already thought about how we could weave it into our preparedness planning. You’re a perfect case in point. As for cash, good suggestion, and certainly a low “opportunity cost” to keep some cash around in this low interest rate environment.

    As for the water filter, we’ve considered a Katahdin (see comments above), but only have a few “LifeStraws” at this point. I also have one in my “go bag” which I’ll use to drink from streams if I have to ride my bike home!

    Finally, good point on potassium iodine. Given your “most likely risk scenario”, it makes sense to keep those on hand “just in case”.

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