There’s a definite trend: people (I am people) wait until an emergency to get prepared for one, and sometimes it’s too late. We experienced it locally in December of 2022 when a large earthquake hit nearby at 2:30AM right before Christmas and wreaked havoc in our little community. Cell phones weren’t working for calls. Only texts sent as a text message were going through and, in some communities, they weren’t, or they were extremely delayed. People were coming down to C. Crane for radios, flashlights, and batteries.  Water sold out at stores. Stores closed for clean-up. It was quite a bit of chaos. After a pandemic, fires, etc. the earthquake was kind of the thing that sent some people over the edge.

The more recent storms, including a crazy hurricane hitting Southern California, reminded me of Art Bell’s book The Coming Global Superstorm which came out early in my career at C. Crane, right before Y2K. We had some crazy weather prior with El Niño and La Niña wreaking havoc. It’s fascinating to watch so much unfold from what was in the book, it almost feels prophetic. I think I might have to pull it out and read it again with new eyes!

We want you to be prepared for whatever craziness comes your way. Jock Elliot’s tips on being prepared are excellent. Do you know what you would do if you were without power for 3 weeks? We were without power for several days after the earthquake and it finally pushed me over the edge to getting a generator. How about if you’re on vacation somewhere and there’s a natural (or manmade) disaster? What plan do you have in place?

I highly recommend reading the comments on Jock’s posts as there are some additional points that are very well made and great links and additional resources provided as well.

We have the radio aspect covered for you and we also carry batteries and some LED flashlights.

Our good friends at Prepare Direct go much further with food and some other supplies.

Looking to take it to the next level and get your HAM license so you can communicate over the radio? You can get licensed from AARL. HAM Radio Outlet can help you figure out what gear you need. 

Here’s the C. Crane list of recommended items:

From Bob Crane:

  • Anker PowerCore 10000mAh Power Bank for phone
  • Honda 2000 generator and power cords to refrigerator, freezer, lighting, charge center, and “on demand” water heater
  • Gas stove top, oven, and coffee maker
  • Portable lighting
  • Radios! (Since the power is off, I can reach out for AM stations 100’s of miles away)
  • I have solar power for our well (water supply)

From Me, Jessica Crotty

  • A French Press (if you have Bob’s gas stove top, or John’s portable camping stove (below), you’ll be golden) and ground coffee
  • LED Lanterns and flashlights in various sizes
  • Matches
  • Gas in a portable gas can (checked regularly so it doesn’t get old)
  • Generator – run every 2 months just to make sure everything is in working order. Ideally, you have this setup with a bin that includes whatever specific extension cords are needed and a plan for what can/should be powered by it as you might not be the one implementing it, it might be your significant other, a neighbor, or one of your kids or grandkids. One of our team members even had an electrician come out so a couple of their lights can be included.
  • Radios of course!

From John W

I have back up canned food, dried food, and bottled water. I keep a stocked first aid kit as well. I check over all the items annually and I rotate out expired or near expired items with fresh stock. I also keep a camping stove with small cannisters of propane on hand (who wants to eat cold pork & beans).

Radios are an important part of my emergency kit. Some of my radios are windup/solar and some can be run on batteries or both. I test all my radios regularly to make sure they are in tip top shape. With the power outages that inevitably come with emergency events there are no other major electronics to cause static on AM radio. Most emergency information will be available on local AM or FM stations, but it is always good to have access to shortwave (SSB) or 2-meter ham bands as well.

I have lots of LED lights. They come in a variety of forms; flashlights, lanterns, candles, string lights and even built into the side of some of my radios. Most of these are self-explanatory, but the string lights were the newest edition to my kit. A few years back I picked up a bunch of them during the holiday season. They are powered by AA batteries and have 30-60 LEDs on a bendable wire that I can wrap around a picture frame, the TV, or like surface to give the room more friendly lighting. LED lamps are good for personal use but when lighting up a room for the family, string lighting works better. I keep the majority of this emergency lighting in a central closet stored without batteries so there are no worries of acid leaks. Additionally, there are flashlights stored in every room in the house that are quickly accessible when needed.

A tip from Sean S

SCHEDULED battery checks.

Everyone buys batteries and tosses them in the closet so they’ll be there when you need them. Every blog post tells you “BUY BATTERIES!” That’s common sense!

But ONE leaking cell can cause a chain reaction in a sealed package and kill all of them.

Every quarter (3 months), you need to check your portable power supplies, whether they be rechargeable or plain old alkaline technology. They’ll do you absolutely zero good if all you have is a 4-pack of AAs and three of them have all their juice running out inside the package.

The usual but often overlooked:

Emergency Tool Kit

Create a 72-hour emergency kit with the essentials for each family member including cash, duct tape (really – you’ll never be sorry you included duct tape), toilet paper, wet wipes, personal hygiene items, blankets or sleeping bags, children/Infant Items (if applicable – think diapers, wipes, formula, etc.), pet items (if applicable) prescription medications including inhalers or allergy medication, clothing, bleach to clean mold as a result of a disaster, a fire starter that will help to start a fire to help keep you warm and large garbage bags that will serve a multitude of purposes such as a makeshift parka in the rain to actual shelter if necessary. Keep a wrench and pliers in your kit to turn off utilities like gas and water and know how to turn off the main power to your home. If it is within the budget, a heavy-duty chainsaw and generator can also be useful. Make sure you have a good shovel in case you need to dig yourself out. 

One more thing that more and more people I know are doing – scan important documents and store them electronically in your Google Drive or a secure software program designed for this. This would include your insurance policies, contacts (in the event they’re all stored in your cell phone and it’s not available or gets destroyed), bank details, any pertinent medical information, etc. If electronic storage makes you too nervous, consider a safe deposit box but consider locating this near a relative in a different area. I know some people who lost everything in a fire, and they had a safe deposit at the local bank. They were lucky, their items weren’t lost but the bank didn’t have the level of fireproofing that this fire reached, and many others were not so fortunate. So, at the very least, ask the question about fire rating, flood rating, etc

For the business

We have a Generac natural gas generator and the electrician wired specific outlets in the walls for specific equipment, so it’s automatically powered without having to run extension cords. It’s all on an auto transfer.

We also have battery backups for the servers that could give us up to 20 minutes in the event the auto transfer didn’t happen (it’s less than 2 minutes).

We utilize battery powered lanterns and LED flashlights for lighting but are reviewing tying in a couple of low power overhead lights into the generator.

The biggest issue we face during a power outage is no internet, so we have a backup but even that fails when there is a significant or extended outage.

Here’s the government recommendations:

We now know that it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when you’re faced with a disaster. Planning can be the difference between life and death. Create a plan. Practice the plan. Set up reminders to check on your provisions. Be prepared.