Don't Put All Your Preparedness Eggs In One Basket

I read a lot of articles about emergency preparedness and I have written many of my own. They often revolve around the type of supplies and gear you should keep on hand in the event of an emergency situation. These articles are important, but what we must realize is that we should always look past the current situation, towards what might happen next.

I also hear much talk about bugging out and of course, an incident might quickly turn from a bugging in situation to an evacuation or bugging out situation. The purpose of this article is to ensure that people who prepare for the worst, do so with alternatives in mind.

An example might be that your house burns down. Are all your supplies kept inside your house? Have you prepared any options in the event it did? I always recommend that if you want to be prepared for anything, you must have options.

A wild fire, tornado, or flood might require that you evacuate your home and you may have to do so quickly. That is why people build evacuation kits and bug out bags. But often, these are kept inside the house, and if your house burns down, what are your alternative preparations?

Of course, I usually recommend a get home bag if you go to work every day, and this will provide you with some supplies. Actually, if your workplace will allow for it, you might think of keeping some further supplies at work. If you can safely store extra supplies in your vehicle, this is another option to think about.

I have always been an advocate of storing emergency preparedness items on my property, if you have a place to keep them. In my book, "Bug-Out: Reality Vs. Hype" I discuss how my wife and I store extra supplies in our detached garage, as well as our potting shed, which is located on the back of our property. If our house was lost, these supplies would provide us with the basics, such as clothing, water purification, fire, shelter, cooking, etc. We use five gallon buckets with Gamma Seal lids for easy access, and to keep the contents secure and waterproof. We would be able to function and make a plan on what to do next.

This shows a potting shed at the back of our property by our garden. We use this, as well as a detached
garage, to store buckets with additional emergency supplies.

These are some of the buckets of supplies we keep in our potting shed at the back of our property.

Any type of outbuilding can be used to store extra supplies, such as a detached garage, barn, storage shed, etc. The advantage here is that if your main residence is destroyed by fire, you will still have supplies on your property. Keep in mind that, if you live in a cold climate, and unless these are heated in the winter, you must be careful what you store in them. Water and food will freeze, and some other items will not function properly if cold.

Our detached garage provides us with additional storage separate from the house.

If you live in an area that regularly gets tornado's, you will most likely have a storm shelter, and often these are detached from the house. This is another area that extra emergency supplies can be stored. Of course you can always cache items by burying them, but be certain that they are waterproof. Again, if you are in a cold area, you might not be able to dig frozen ground in order to retrieve your stuff. This is why thinking ahead is important.

A storm shelter can be a viable option for extra supplies, however this one is a little too close to the
road for my liking.

If you live in the country and have some property, another option might be a root cellar that is not attached to your home. Many are placed into a bank or other area on the property. They are used to store extra food or harvested root items from a garden. They stay at a pretty constant temperature, even in the winter, so you could also store extra water and other emergency supplies in them.

A view of a home dug root cellar which could also be used to store extra emergency supplies. I would
suggest using five gallon buckets with Gamma Seal lids for clothes and electronic items.
Photo courtesy of Susan and Steven Gregersen.

Do you have an old (or new) camper, trailer, or RV parked on your property? It can be used to store extra emergency supplies, and possibly even equipped so that you could possibly live in it, in the event you could no longer stay in your home. I have also observed some large boats on a trailer in peoples yards and they could be used for the same purpose.

An old camper could be used to store emergency supplies and you might even be able to live in it,
if only short term.

Even a boat stored on your property can be used to store emergency supplies, and like a camper,
you might even be able to live in it, short term.

Another option might be a commercial self-storage unit. They are available in almost all communities today, and finding one within a reasonable distance might be a viable option for storing extra emergency supplies. As with some other out-buildings, not all of these units are heated, so determine that before storing anything there that might freeze in a cold environment.

A viable option for storing extra emergency supplies is using a commercial self-storage unit.

I hear a lot of discussion about having a permanent bug-out location (B.O.L.), and although some have one, most only talk about them. Vacation homes are much more common than a dedicated B.O.L., although in many cases, it is the place you would bug out to. If you do have one, how far is it from your home and can you get there? Having additional supplies close to your home, just might provide you with those additional supplies you need now, not later.

A vacation home or B.O.L. might provide you with the extra supplies you need in an emergency,
but you have to be able to get there, and hope it's there when you do.

Another local option you might consider is a friend, neighbor, or relative. You might be able to arrange a reciprocal storage plan, whereby some supplies are kept at each other's place, specifically extra clothes and gear to get you through, in the event you lost your home. This would be especially effective if a home was lost to fire or a tornado. Of course, trust is paramount here so choose those you share with carefully.

As you can see, having additional supplies outside of the home, yet close enough to get to, is an option worth consideration. It just might allow you to survive long enough to make additional plans in regard to what you will do next. In order to be prepared for various situations, Don't Put All Your Preparedness Eggs In One Basket!

I have also written an article on how to secure your emergency information called, "Carrying Emergency Information." If you are interested, you can see that article CLICK HERE.

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© 2015 by John D. McCann