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  • Writer's pictureShawndra Holmberg, CPO-CD

Let your emergency stash do double duty

two people camping - let your emergency stash do double duty

Let your emergency stash do double duty. Choose items for your emergency supplies that can also be used for everyday needs. Or think of what you already have that you can use during an emergency.

Camping gear is the first thing that comes to mind. If you routinely camp, or once upon a time bought gear to go camping, pull it out, check it over, and store it near your emergency preparedness kit. If you can’t store it nearby, at least gather all your camping gear in one easy to access location for a quick grab and go if necessary. Some items used for camping that might come in handy for emergencies are:

  • backpacks,

  • shelter (tents or tarps),

  • sleeping bags,

  • sleeping pads,

  • water filter,

  • water bottles,

  • stove,

  • cookware,

  • utensils,

  • cups,

  • Headlamps, lanterns, and flashlights.

  • What else would you add to this list?

If you grill (or at least own one), add this to your list of resources. In case of a power outage, you can use your grill (outside) even in the middle of winter, to boil water and cook a hot meal. Check to see if you have enough propane or charcoal. Restock if it’s low. Your picnic items may also be useful during an emergency.

A cooler for camping or picnics will definitely be useful in an emergency. In fact, you may already have used your cooler when your refrigerator broke down and you needed to store your food until it was fixed or the new one arrived. Your cooler is an emergency resource if the power goes out or if you have to evacuate.

If you don’t have a cooler, then today’s step could be buying one.

Besides to the usual questions to consider when purchasing a cooler(cost, capacity, and performance), consider this:

  • Will the cooler fit in the trunk of your car? If the people and animals go up front, will you be able to get the cooler in the back?

  • Will the cooler require two people to carry it?

  • Can you carry it?

Consider a medium sized cooler on wheels. Your emergency food stash will not be composed of everything in your refrigerator, but some important staples. Look at Frozen Foods Safe-Discard Table and Refrigerated Foods Safe-Discard Table to find which food items can safely be used if you run out of ice or blue ice.

Speaking of refrigeration and food, if there is a power outage but no emergency which requires evacuation, don’t open the refrigerator or freezer. The refrigerator should maintain a safe temperature up to 4 hours. A full freezer (unopened) should maintain temperature for 48 hours and a half full freezer for 24 hours. If you have room freeze a jug or two of water (remember to save room for expansion). This will increase the time your freezer will keep your foods cold, act as an ice pack in your cooler if needed, and provide fresh, safe drinking water as it melts.

Yet another everyday stash that can do double duty in an emergency is your car’s first aid kit. Do you have one? Purchasing one may be the best action for today’s step. Or check it and refill anything that is low or out of date.

As part of your car’s emergency kit, keep healthier foods stashed in the car. It will be there for emergencies and a healthier option before you go shopping or if you’re running late and need some energy.

Pick one action to take today:

  • Pull out and check your camping gear. Store it together in an easy access location;

  • Buy a cooler that you can manage by yourself;

  • Fill your propane bottle or get another bag of charcoal for your grill;

  • Freeze a jug or several bottles of water;

  • Restock your car’s first aid kit and food stash; or

  • Choose another action that will let your emergency stash do double duty.

If you're interested in taking more steps to prep check out 31 Small Steps to Organize for Emergencies (and Disasters) - 2nd edition. It's your household handbook for preparedness.


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