The Right Stuff

“Seaman Schmuckatelly, what in heaven’s name do you have there?”

“It’s my emergency box, sir!” he says proudly as he places the large, overflowing cardboard box on the deck.


“Emergency box?”

“Yes Warrant, the Chief told us we might be in for a storm and we should check our gear and be ready.”

“Are you sure he wanted you to put it all together in that cardboard box sailor?”

“Well, sir, I was being proactive and thought I would be ready for anything that might happen. You just can’t be to careful you know.”

big boxes

“Well, if you don’t mind, lets take a look at what you’ve gathered together there son.”

Proudly, Schmuckatelly says “Aye Aye sir” and pulls a large snowmobile suit from the box.

“What the heck is that for sailor?” asks an incredulous Warrant.

“Well sir, prolonged exposure to the elements is one of the dangers in any survival environment according to the film strips we watched this morning.” Schmuckatelly holds the blue one piece outfit up as if to show the Warrant how much sense it made to have a one piece insulated garment to ward off the elements.

“I suppose you have a good point about the purpose lad, but you do realize we are off the coast of South Florida and it is August, right? Plus, I am pretty sure that outfit isn’t waterproof so it will probably get a bit heavy if it gets exposed to any water… you do realize we are on a ship, right?”

“Well, you have a point there sir. But let me show you what else I have here” as he rummages through the big box. With pride, he pulls out a large electric fan and presents it to the Warrant.

“Hmmm. An electric fan. This I got to hear.”

“This is a dual purpose piece of survival equipment sir. See, if we are out on the life raft and there is no wind, we can rig this baby up and rig up a sail and push our way to land” he says proud of his insight. “Plus, if it does get too hot, the fan can be used to cool everybody down.”

“I see.” the Warrant replies. “And how long of an extension cord do you think you’ll need? Would you do me a favor and go find the Chief and bring him to me. We need to have a chat”

Okay, you get the point.

Having the right emergency equipment for the right situation is the real lesson for today. Sitting in you office or at home with a normal day to day existence, you probably don’t spend much time thinking about what happens when the lights go off. But you will the minute they do. That’s about the point where you start asking yourself questions like “when is the last time I changed the batteries?” or “do I have any batteries in the house at all?”

Your emergency supplies will depend on your geography, expected or anticipated types of events, and who you are preparing for. It will also be influenced by two key choices;

Do you stay or do you go?

What types of shelters are within traveling distance and what can you expect to find there? Do you actually know where your area shelters would be if right this minute you were ordered to evacuate?

Plus, in many cases where the unexpected happens, the shelters themselves could become engaged (such as in a flood or tornado). What is your backup plan?

Do you have any family members with special needs? How will you make sure those needs are attended to until a more permanent solution is put into place? Remember, in the event of a major event, Rite Aid may or may not be open and it will be difficult in the first few days for first responders to address critical needs that your family members may have. In most cases, you will quickly find that shelters are set up rather generically so coming up with a diabetic insulin shot may be a bit of a challenge. has some good lists for making a kit. We have had one in a protected place in our home for years and I have a regular schedule to go through and update things that go out of date because of manufacturing limitations. No point to having a great kit if its all expired or no longer useable. We also keep a Go-Bag in a location that’s easy to get to in case we are ordered to get out of the house quickly. Dehydrated food in the foil pouches are great since they just require a bit of water and can be consumed whether you have a heating source or not.

Simple tools that don’t have much weight, hiking mess kits, a small gas backpacker stove that uses several different kinds of fuel, flashlights, signaling equipment and other small items make up the rest of the go bag.

We have larger items in another location in case the decision is made to shelter in place. These are bulkier and not as easy to transport but certainly make for a more comfortable in the event we can’t go anywhere.


You will have to decide what is right for your circumstances. But not having a plan or preparing at all means that at some point, you will show up at a shelter and have to hope that it has what you need.

And I should warn you: Seaman Schmuckatelly got out of the Navy a few years back and now volunteers as an emergency shelter worker someplace in America.

His job was assigned to him based on his vast Naval experience in survival… yep, that’s right. He is in charge of supplies for the shelter. Good luck with that.

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