Survival is key in the IT industry and the mantra there is backup, backup, backup. In the IT world, you just can’t have enough back ups. There’s some truth in that for the prepping and survival world too. After all, isn’t prepping a form of back up? OK, so you’ve stored lots of water, food and supplies. Here are 4 survival back ups you must have.
My preference for a backup heat source would be a wood burning stove but the house I live in isn’t suited for it. Maybe some day I can make modifications and put one in but not now. So instead I opted for a 3 burner Calor (a popular brand here in Scotland) propane heater and three 15Kg tanks. Unfortunately, you can’t cook or heat water on it. But as a wood burning stove isn’t an option for me, this is the next best thing. These heaters but out a lot of heat and are pretty efficient. I plan on getting another one for upstairs and a few more spare tanks. Back up, back up….
One of the good things about storing canned food is you can eat them cold right out of the can – if you have too. But it would sure be better to have a hot bowl of soup rather than a cold one. And if you store more than just canned goods, say pasta for example, you’re going to have to boil water. Of course boiled water might come in handy for cleaning wounds. If you don’t have a shower, you can take a sponge bath and heated water would sure be nice. But probably most importantly, you going to need boil water to purify it.
I did a lot of research into what would be best for my family and what I could afford just now. I decided on a two burner with toaster, propane camping stove. It connects to the propane bottles I use for my backup propane heater, can be used indoors and is just big enough for my family. Plus, it was under $70 and very affordable. It folds down compactly and fits into a nice carry bag which has a side pocket for the propane hose and regulator. Mine doesn’t have a Pizo lighter and you have to use a match or some lighter. It does light with a spark from a Ferro rod though. All things considered it fits my needs right now.
If you’ve got a well stocked freezer – or two – you’re going to want to keep them going as long as you can. Ditto the fridge.
It’s also important to have light; both for safety and security; light so you can get your emergency plans going and security so any would be looters know there’s someone home.
In addition, going from a normal life to total darkness and chaos can be emotionally very upsetting. With power, you can bring some normalcy to the emergency situation. You can also get much-needed emergency information from your TV or radio. And don’t forget, if you have kids, they will go nuts without the Internet! If the Internet is still working, backup power will let the kids keep their sanity.
I opted for a 2.3KW, unleaded, portable generator. Mainly because it was all I could afford at the time! It was on sale at Amazon for around $100. It only weights about 70lbs and is therefore quite portable.
Before you go out and buy one, you might want to read this article from The Natural Handyman and do a “wattage survey” to determine how much power you’re going to need. There is lots of good information there on how to choose a generator.
Information is key in any emergency situation. You need to know what’s going on, how bad is it, is it getting better or worse, where is it happening and what’s being done to fix the problem.
There are several ways to get this information and I’d suggest you have several means of getting that information – backups within backups.
- Broadcast Radio – Broadcast Radio is one of the most used ways authorities have to widely disseminate emergency information. Likewise, local radio stations broadcast emergency information. You might want to have several on hand, including a wind up one, a solar one and a battery operated one. Again, backup, backup.
- TV – TV is another way of getting your emergency information. But don’t forget, TV’s needs lots of power and unless you have a generator they won’t work.
- Ham Radio – It’s very easy to get your entry-level license now and this will allow you to use 10 watts of power. Doesn’t sound like much but that compares to half a watt walkie talkies are allowed. The difference is distance – the more power the more distance you can talk. A half a watt will travel about half a mile, whereas 10 watts (depending on conditions and antenna) can reach hundreds of miles. More importantly, ham radio allows you to use any repeater in your area. Repeaters pick up your signal and rebroadcast it, increasing your distance to 30 or 60 miles. Repeaters are important because they keep local people in touch who can form nets.
- Your mobile phone – I list this last even though that’s what everyone will probably go for first – and that’s the problem. If the service is still available, the circuits will probably be jammed with everyone trying to find out what’s going on.
So, there you have my 4 must have backups. There are other things that are important to back up of course, but I thought these were the most important. What are your must have backups?
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