It is my belief that whenever possible you should shelter in place to protect your home from looters and to keep your family safe. It is often safer to stay home where you know your neighbors and your surroundings. At times it may be necessary to leave or your home may be destroyed or become unsafe to inhabit
If you are lucky enough to have an RV get it ready now to use as your emergency shelter. Having your RV ready means you will be able to remain on your property while you supervise the clean up or you will be ready to move out quickly, such as when a fire strikes, without leaving everything behind.
- Keep your gas tank full.
- Fill generator’s fuel tank.
- Check your tire pressures regularly.
- Check vehicle fluids – oil, power steering, transmission, antifreeze, and windshield washer solution.
- Place extra containers of fluids in your RV.
- Store extra hoses and fuses and the tools to make minor repairs.
- Empty water tanks and fill them with fresh water.
- Fill propane tank.
- Check and charge or replace batteries.
- If you don’t have a generator, consider getting a portable one or solar panels and an inverter.
- Dining tarp or outdoor umbrellas for shade and protection from the elements.
- Store your 72-hour kits in your RV.
- First aid kit. Make sure it contains any prescriptions as well as over the counter medications. If you do not have extra prescription medications be sure to have a copy of the prescription order to use when you reach your new location.
- Maps with several routes highlighted to make your way to your final destination.
- Basic kitchen equipment. Pots and pans, dishes, silverware, wooden spoons, spatulas, knives, and a can opener. Also have matches and an alternative-cooking source available in case you can’t refill your propane or plug in to the power grid.
- Paper plates, cups and bowls. Paper towels and napkins. Disposable cutlery.
- Canned foods from all the food groups. Dried fruits, nuts, and other snacks. Don’t forget the dairy group. Dry cereals keep very well if they are vacuum packed. It is easy to store shelf stable milk and milk substitutes now. I recommend almond milk.
- Blankets, sleeping bags and pillows.
- Household supplies – dish soap, disinfectant cleaners, laundry detergent, rope, clothes pins, plastic trash bags, plastic bucket, mop, broom, dust pan, rags, dish clothes and drying clothes, etc. Bleach is also an important item to keep stocked as it can be used in your water containers to clean or purify as well as to clean your home after a disaster.
- Basic tools – plain and Phillips screwdrivers, hammer, pliers, adjustable wrench, saw, ax, etc.
- Toiletries- soap, shampoo, deodorant, tooth paste, tooth brushes, combs, brush, washcloths, towels, feminine hygiene supplies and extra toilet paper.
- Towels and wash clothes for each family member and a few extra for washing up after debris clean up.
- Flashlights, camp lights, and batteries. Do not store batteries inside but nearby in a separate container, batteries can leak. Candles are not a good idea as there will probably be gas leaks after a disaster.
- Four changes of clothing for each family member. You may want a few more changes of underwear and socks. If you are cleaning up after a flood or in the rain you will want to change out of wet socks often. Include at least one long sleeve shirt and long pants for every member. Include sweaters or sweatshirts, a coat, boots, gloves and a hat.
- Baby and children’s supplies: diapers, bottles, formula, toys and craft projects.
- Entertainment for everyone-games, puzzles, books, etc.
- Inspirational materials: scriptures, study guides, books, and music, which bring you, comfort.
- Communications: Solar power radio, car cell phone charger, ham radio equipment, and wife card.
- Pet supplies- food, leashes, medications, toys, food and water bowls, bedding, and litter box. Be sure to have a tracker placed on your pet.
- A bike. You may need to go for supplies or to help or seek help and a bulky RV may not be a great choice for those times.
- Copies of important documents.
- CD or other means of copying your family photos.
- Emergency contact information.
This may seem like a lot of things to store but you can easily take some of it out when you want to use the RV for recreation. During an emergency you won’t mind at all sitting on layers of blankets and sleeping bags.
Create a Van Shelter
When our children were young we purchased an old delivery van, which we converted into a travel van for our family. We placed plywood on the floor, screwed it down and added carpeting. Next we added a roof vent. We bolted down some old van chairs from which we had removed the base and we screwed those to the plywood. We added seat belts. Finally we screwed down a small table for the kids to use for snacks and games while we drove. It was very primitive but it worked for our purposes at the time. If you have an old van or you can find one in good working order that has just been trashed inside you may want to consider converting it into a shelter on wheels, small but inexpensive and better than sleeping in a tent.
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