My Medical and Communications Emergency Cache (Plus, I’m Not Living in Fear, Quite the Opposite!)

Wednesday May 8 | BY |
| Comments (31)


The last week and a half of writing on Renegade Health has been a lot of fun for me…

It’s given me an opportunity to talk about some things that I’ve been excited about — which is kind of what the whole purpose of a blog is, right?

If you haven’t been reading, I’ve been writing about our emergency preparedness cache. I started one because we live in a high risk part of the United States and to date — in my writing — I’ve covered personal safety, clean water and food, and self defense.

With each article, I’ve seen a bunch of interesting and supportive comments. I’ve also gotten some real homers. I think before I cover emergency medical and community gear, I wanted to address one criticism that has come up frequently.

It’s essentially, “why are you living in fear?”

I guess it’s assumed that by getting all this stuff that I’m living in fear of a disastrous event. That I think about disasters and danger all the time.

The reality is that for me, it’s just the opposite.

Here’s why.

First, we live about one half mile from the Hayward Fault in Berkeley. It dissects the Cal Football stadium. Seismic scientists have predicted that in the next 25-30 years, this fault will produce a 6.9+ magnitude earthquake.

This will not be pleasant and it’s foolish to ignore a risk like this — one that’s a lot more credible and foreseeable than zombie apocalypses.

Secondly, by preparing, I’ve eliminated the fear that I did have, which was being unprepared if these scientists were correct. I know I’m not completely set, but I have done enough to make me feel comfortable if this type of disaster were to occur.

When I used to work on the American Stock Exchange, I was learning how to trade options. A common thing that traders would do is hedge their purchases. To do this, they would buy a stock with the anticipation it would rise or fall, and then buy an option with the opposite prediction, that protects their position if the stock rises too high or — more importantly — precipitously falls. (If you want to do more research on this, you can look at “covered calls” or “married puts.” Though I’ll warn you, it’s heady stuff.)

Anyway, I’ve essentially done something similar by hedging my fear of not being prepared (theoretically) with the calm I get by having a preparedness cache. There’s no guarantee that any of the items will work or an event will happen, but my emotional wellbeing around a disaster has improved — I guess that’s the biggest takeaway from my “investment.”

But enough placating the haters, I’m happy to have what I have and I’m even more happy writing about it — since it seems that I’ve started a few of you thinking more about this important topic.

Oh, and additionally, I have NOT linked any of these products to Amazon with an affiliate link — meaning I get paid for listing these things — like one reader assumed. I guess I could have, but I just didn’t. So I don’t get paid for any of these recommendations.

Today, I’m going to write about our medical supplies and our community cache as well.

Medical On the Go Bag

I have no formal training in medical practices. My “expertise” is 2 hours of baby CPR that Annmarie and I just took.

Fortunately, Annmarie was an athletic trainer, so she knows a few thing about first aid and trauma care — particularly when it comes to sports type injuries.

In case of a disaster, and frankly if you have kids, it’s good to have a nicely stocked first aid kit. We have ours in a bag that I purchased from a local outdoor shop. It’s ready to grab in case we need to get out of the area, or if we need to help someone who’s injured.

Here’s what we have in it (please note, I won’t go into detail with a bunch of these since they’re pretty straightforward)…

EMT Combination Pack — This is a combo pack of shears and other medical preparation tools that might come in handy to cut of clothing, bandages or prepare wounds.

Quik Clot — This is a clotting sponge that you can use on open wounds that are bleeding. You wouldn’t use it if the injury was more serious, but they’re helpful in triage and on the spot temporary treatment of injuries.

Self Adhering Bandages — Pretty self explanatory.

Tweezers — They’re tweezers.

First Aid Tape — N/A.

Gauze — N/A.

Hands Free Magnifier — This is in case you need to magnify a wound or if the person who is medically trained doesn’t have their reading glasses. 🙂

Surgical Skin Stapler — In the case of an open wound, could be helpful.

Emergency Mylar Blankets — These will keep those who have been triaged warm.

Medical Tourniquet — For issues with limbs where bleeding must be stopped. You can also use rope, a shirt or belt.

Emergency Respirators — In case there is some toxic air. These won’t filter everything, but they’re good for most everyday air contaminants.

Disposable Scalpels — I don’t expect to do surgery, but someone trained might need something like this.

Safety Pins — I forget why I bought these. LOL!

Community Items

This is a kind of catch all category which includes communication and neighborhood safety. Our neighborhood has a complete cache given to us by the city that contains a bunch of medical supplies, radios, fire abatement tools, water and food safety items and much more. We even have a map of all the gas shutoffs in the neighborhood as well. So some of these items will be essential in case there is a disaster where emergency help can’t make it right away.

In fact, when we were doing the drill in Berkeley, the fire department made their rounds to our group and explained that we have to expect that in the face of a major disaster we have to plan for 3 days without any assistance. It was kind of crazy to hear this from the people we pay to protect us, but I totally get it — sometimes there just isn’t enough help.

Here’s what we have, in addition to our neighborhood cache…

Emergency Solar / Hand Crank Radio — This will allow us to listen to the community disaster radio station to get important updates. It runs on battery, solar or crank, so it can be used anywhere.

Two-Way Radios — These radios, as I tested during our drill, can communicate with the ones that we have in our neighborhood cache by adjusting to the correct channel. These are great to have for the family so you can communicate as well if necessary — even on a separate channel.

40 Channel CB Radio — With this, I can log on to emergency channels to scan messages to stay in touch with what is going on — and even communicate in case of a serious incident that needs immediate attention.

Wrench — There are specific types of wrenches you can use to shut off a house gas valve, but most plumbing wrenches will do. Gas shut off is essential if there is a leak in a home or apartment building. A leak caused by an earthquake could escalate to a very serious situation.

Water Shutoff Tool — If pipes are busted in your home and there is water everywhere, a water shutoff tool is helpful as well. You can use this to shut off the water at the street. You can also find the main water shut off in your crawlspace or basement, but it might not be secure to go there in the case of an earthquake.

Portable Saw — This is to cut any tree limbs that may have fallen on property or individuals.

Military Parachute Cord — This is a multiuse item.

Other Things?

Here I’ve gathered just a few other things that we have collected or just happen to have around the house that may be helpful.

100 Hour Candles — For light at night.

Duct Tape — It’s good for almost anything.

AA Batteries — Non-Rechargeable, since you might not be able to recharge them.

AAA Batteries — See above.

D Batteries — See above.

Hydrogen Peroxide — For disinfecting.

Thyro-Safe Potassium Iodide — Unlikely, but in case there is a minor radiation incident. These pills will protect your thyroid from irreparable damage.

Urban Survival Handbook — A good resource to have for city dwellers.

SAS Survival Handbook — An overall good and general resource to have as well.

Bring It On?

Of course not. I hope I never have to use any of this. As of right now, the only time I can imagine breaking into our cache is is there is a power outage, Hudson falls on his bike, or if we need a few batteries for our remote.

But, again, I hope that this series has you thinking about how you can protect your family in case there is a disaster — particularly if you live in an area that is prone to them.

For me, having these items has helped me remove the fear I had because I was not prepared and allowed me to relax in the face of a very possible impending natural disaster in our hometown of Berkeley, California.

So with that said, thanks for listening, and of course, if there is a disaster and you’re not prepared, you can come over to our house. We got you covered.

Your Question of the Day: What did you think of this series? Do you want more varied topics, or want me to stick to only health?

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Renata says:


    I think there is a difference between fear and preparedness… and you are all about intelligent preparedness. It is not fear being wise and sharing your wisdom…. I truly appreciate all the points and information you shared in the past few eblogs…. fantastic!

    Whatever topic you wish to talk about…. i am in! You do it with great research, you provide great information and you get us thinking and sharing in the discussion area…..

    Keep sharing and being fantastic….

    Wishing you a smooth experience when the earthquake hits…. you will be a guy I’d love to connect with in a case of chaos or disaster event….. you got your shit together! hehe. Woot Woot!

    How wonderful of you to think of your family as well as your commnity… we should follow your advice and put aside some things for ourselves and or others who may be in need. It is not fear it is wisdom sharing.

    PEACE. Blessings.

  2. wendy green says:

    bring it on. health is more than diet and habits. for me it’s always been “yoga/diet/lifestyle”. might as well make it body/mind/spirit while i’m at it. we consider ourselves “preppers”…prepping for an unknown situation. it’s part of being self sufficient, taking responsibility for ourselves. kudos kev! ciao!

  3. Elena says:

    I’m glad you discussed this extremely important topic. I also believe that being prepared for unexpected events, like power outages, accidents, storms, etc. is a very wise, and sensible thing to do.

    I have a few of the items you’ve listed, but would like to add several other items. You sy have mentioned this, but a portable water purifier is good to have, as well, and maybe even some stored treated emergency water.

    I appreciate your articles, whether health related or not. Thanks for all you do.

    Elena in North Cal.

  4. Shaman'a says:


    I”m a Native Californian born & raised 41 years, I moved 10 years ago to the Midwest due to finances, but hope to return. We all grew up in The Bay Area including my parents who are also Native to CA with the ‘awareness’ that we prepare for ‘quakes, not to mention landslides.

    I formerly worked with an attorney as his paralegal years ago and we represented a soils engineering company. They also shared what you share about the seismic activity. I personally was in the 7.1 (surface mag) Loma Prieta quake and was residing in the Santa Cruz Moutains. So, we were without water and power for a few days. I also could not travel home as I needed a 4×4, which I drive now; PTSD? Maybe? lol.

    Keep the flame.


  5. Cheryll says:

    I liked your preparedness series, because IMHO it relates directly to physical health. As with eating healthy options, preparedness is proactive. Thanks Kev!

  6. JoEllen says:

    Hey Kevin,
    I can see and appreciate your preparedness as bringing peace of mind and commend you, your family and community. I can also understand the people who expressed their views on weapons and fearfulness. In any event I don’t believe those people should be categorized as “haters”. After all you do ask for everyone’s opinions, right?
    Mostly, I just thank you for your efforts in writing about whatever you feel inspired to share with us.

  7. Robyn says:

    Please continue covering this topic and others related to it. It is about general health and well being, and we shouldn’t be sticking our heads in the sand.

    Thank you,

  8. Marilyn says:

    I’m 60 years old. Since childhood, I’ve heard that an earthquake was inevitable in the “next 30 years.” Well, I’m mostly prepared, but more importantly I won’t panic. I’ve taken the City of Oakland CORE program for 7 years in a row and now understand what it takes for the community to survive–preparedness and drill, drlil, and drill. We have to learn to be our own first-responders and not panic. For a community to survive, EVERYONE needs to be prepared because unprepared people panic. Unprepared people use up resources rather than contribute resources. Unprepared people sometimes behave like mavericks and jeopardize themselves and others, rather than the disciplined CORE trained volunteers who set up an organized structure to meet the needs of the community and collect information that will eventually pass on to the professionals when they arrive to take over.

    This year in our drill a woman participated who feels that her avid reading of “end of the world” science fiction earned her more knowledge than others. She was criticizing everyone and everything, making people nervous and tense. She was not even CORE trained. Granted, this could occur in the real situation where mavericks want to take over because they’re young, or wanna be heroes, or scared, so this is something we will address for next year. What’s really ironic is that if there was a severe earthquake, this woman would have to wrangle with her five cats. She herself is quite obese and tired easily so the chance of her taking on responsibilities is poor.

    The last thing you want is to run to a supermarket or a recreational equipment store to get supplies because everyone else who is underprepared will be there. Get your community trained, stocked up with medical and survival supplies and just meditate and play musical instruments until help arrives.

  9. Leslie Riley says:

    Hey Kevin,

    I recently started looking into and gathering supplies for survival in the case of an emergency (we live in a wildfire-prone area and mud/rock slides close our roads occasionally). I think it is great to be prepared, both for our own family and for our friends and community as well. Better to be prepared and not need it, then to discover too late that you face needless difficulties because you failed to prepare. I like a variety of articles, it is always fun to learn. I am starting a garden this year and hoping it is successful. I appreciate your blog, thanks for all you do.


  10. suzanne says:

    I like the variations. It still has to do with health and keeping “alive”! I especially like the emergency prep info because I have been dragging my feet on doing my own. A Kevin list tells me it is a thoroughly researched one and I can pattern mine off of it. Thank you.

  11. Liz Walton says:

    I agree with everything you say on this topic Kevin, and commend you for your sensible attitude. As a homeopath I would also contribute some suggestions:

    Arnica for trauma, both pills for oral dosing and cream to put on bruises. Every first aid kit should have this on hand. And in the case of head trauma with brain swelling – this is a must to bring down the swelling – even if Hudson comes off that bike and appears to have hurt his head!! In cases where the person is unconscious, dissolve the pills in a little water and administer under the tongue with a dropper.

    Aconite for shock and fright. Also Bach’s rescue remedy. These will reduce the panic and steady you, and enable you to think clearly in the event of catastrophic pandemonium.

    Don’t worry that you won’t be able to administer remedies – in the event of these sorts of traumas you can’t do any harm.


  12. John says:

    Excellent series – made me think about building a preparedness kit of my own. Off topic discussions are fine with me; I enjoy variety. Thanks.

  13. Jo says:

    We want varied topics for the most part, I think.
    A good Boys or Girls Scout is always prepared. I learned this when I was the only mom who would
    sleep outdoors in 32F with Cub Scouts, even when my own health not that great. Therefore, I know
    I would dread not being prepared, doing so alone, which could be the case sometimes. By the way
    when do we get to see more pics of the addition to your family? As I cannot afford to buy ahead 2
    yrs of food, I am slowly buying a few small tools and things. Thanks for the list.

  14. Nadia says:

    You are an inspiration!

  15. LynnCS says:

    I love that you took all this time to share what you’ve done. On some level we should all be more ready to take care of ourselves…all the time. No matter what, we will have moments we need to use our supplies. When I first moved to my current place, I found myself crawling around, looking for a decent light source when the electricity went out. It’s dark when everything goes out! Really dark! It took me a few rainy seasons to get that it was going to happen and to be ready. At least ready to get under the covers to stay warm since everything runs on electricity. What’s wrong with being ready for such a reletively small emergency? Nothing. What is different in looking a little farther into the possibilities? None! I need all the info you provided and might not use it all, but now I can refer to these posts to give me ideas. I hope I can be prepared when I need it. Thanks, Kevin. X fingers that we’ll never need to be afraid and alone or hurt.

  16. Pam says:

    The comments from your previous post inspired me:

    Do you believe preparedness can cause so much a stir?
    Will choosing to put your head in the sand cause an insight blur?
    A “phobophobia’s” ideas could stay on the shelf
    Since mostly what they really fear, is really fear itself.

    ‘Though some recognized that fact and expressed it in this way,
    “Focus on altruistic thoughts and think good thoughts today.”
    Let’s hope that all their neighbors and their community too,
    Will have enough resources to share items with those few.

  17. peggy says:

    …. we all choose to do things on a daily basis that are because of a future hoped for result that will increase or protect our health…. right? so… talking about preparedness is talking about another aspect of health! I think you did a good job of covering the essentials of the topic…I am also thinking about all the people in N Y this last winter who could have been safer and a lot more comfortable during the storms and blackout if they had this information and followed at least some of it … thank you ….

  18. Pam says:

    The comments from your previous post inspired me:

    Do you believe preparedness can cause so much a stir?
    Will choosing to put your head in the sand causes an insight blur?
    A “phobophobia’s” ideas could stay on the shelf
    Since mostly what they really fear, is really fear itself.

    ‘Though some recognized that fact and expressed it in this way,
    “Focus on altruistic thoughts and think good thoughts today.”
    Let’s hope that all their neighbors and their communities too,
    Will have enough resources to share items with those few.

  19. AlanRoy says:

    Batteries: They go bad after time.
    Keep them in individual sealable plastic bags so if one goes bad it does not slime all of them. If your remote needs new batteries, buy new ones, but don’t put them in your remote. Put them in your prep stash, and take some older ones from your stash to use in your remote or other appliance. Get a battery tester or voltmeter and test all batteries once a month. If a battery goes bad in your CB or other radio, it can corrode the terminals and make the radio unusable. Better to store the radios without batteries in them. Keep the batteries in a zip-lock bag.

  20. Gerry says:

    Excellent series, Kevin: And the thoughtful comments were also appreciated.
    I agree with Marilyn re:
    “For a community to survive, EVERYONE needs to be prepared because UNPREPARED PEOPLE PANIC.Unprepared people use up resources rather than contribute resources. Unprepared people sometimes behave like mavericks and jeopardize themselves and others, rather than the disciplined CORE trained volunteers who set up an organized structure to meet the needs of the community and collect information that will eventually pass on to the professionals when they arrive to take over.”
    Re: Your question: “Do you want more varied topics, or want me to stick to only health?”
    I consider anything positive as coming under the umbrella topic of “HEALTH” in all its aspects: Phyical, Menatl, Emotional, Spiritual, Environmental AND Economic to be all-important to over-all-health (The ONLY true Wealth), well being and longevity;-). –Gerry

  21. Tiria says:

    I know that specifically you’re talking about preparedness but for me that IS health! Mental and emotional health is just as important as our physical health, if not MORE! I appreciate you talking about things that REALLY matter and help your readers take care of themselves in ALL areas!!

  22. Kevin,
    First of all thank you so much for sharing all this info when others
    Are charging for it! It is invaluable and so kind of you. Please keep
    Topics varied, which is more fun, how about you give us homework
    And in about one Month we can come back to share some of our research regarding preparedness and
    We can all contribute by sharing a list of items. I have heard that there
    Are already stablished communities of people who are prepared, any body
    Knows about this? Thanks and the best of all good things to everybody.

  23. Zyxomma says:

    I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout, and it’s always best to be prepared. Before 9/11/01, I never boarded a plane without a utility knife in my purse or carry on, and since, I always have one in my checked luggage (I usually just travel with a carry on, so sometimes I ask someone in my party who IS checking a bag to take it for me).

    Once, while hiking, the friend with whom I was on the trail slipped and cut her arm quite seriously. I offered her a choice: hike out to her car (more than an hour away), then drive to the hospital (I’m not a driver), or let me take care of it. I washed the wound, disinfected (boiled) silk thread and needle (I always had them in case of a rip in backpack, tent, or sleeping bag), and sutured it. I had Bach’s Rescue Remedy cream, and applied it before bandaging. She told me that took away the pain. It’s decades later, and one must hunt to find what remains of the scar.

    More recently, I updated my go bag for Hurricane Irene, which didn’t hit us, and used the new items for Sandy, which did. IMO, anyone who doesn’t have the bare minimum for power outages (wind up LED flashlights, candles and matches, something to keep you warm, food, water treatment supplies, wind up/battery radio so as not to feel disconnected and keep informed, etc.) is living in denial, which is not very healthy.

    Re today’s question: It’s all good. You and Annmarie have kept us informed on your progress throughout the years, we all anticipated then celebrated Hudson’s arrival, and we virtually followed you from the east to the west coast. Keep us informed on what’s important to you all. The best blog posts have personality!

  24. rina says:

    Hi, loved the series. So often you see protrayals in movies and tv shows when disaster strikes and people run to nearest market and strip it bare of bottled water and everything else. So, firstly everyone should have bottles of water stored even under your bed if your apartment is small; stove or grill with bottled gas for cooking; and lots of food so you don’t panic and run to the store; you won’t have to compete with wild or desperate people running in the street having a free for all. Store lots of things you like that will be your comfort food and also caloricly dense that will carry you well over longer periods; rice and pasta, legumes and beans you can store for a long time, canned goods like tuna, sardines, and so on; and oil !!! (if you see expedition shows you will see plastic containers they use to carry their food supplies in, good for long term storage, like barrels with a screw top down at one end; also buy new 5 gallon buckets); I would even have some large blocks of cheese stored in the freezer and a few salamis. I’m thinking pizza-like here, one thing that would make me feel normal in overly stressful times. and popcorn! and dried fruit!! and sit tight if you can until things cool down and electricity and water is restored along with all the rest.
    And check out past disasters! everything has been rebuilt bigger and better!! things, life goes on, people go on, somewhere things are normal.
    except Chernobyl. that tells you something about nuclear power being built on this planet by stupid people who think they can so they build it without weighing or answering for the consequences. There is no way out for this . How do we turn this around back to the way thinngs were before nuclear? I know, there are so many causes and so few.. but this is really big …

    I’ve come across a site on you tube ‘dehydrate2store’ where this woman stores dried food and shows you how to do it, things like drying and packaging vergetables, fruit and meat, also how to reconstitute dried food and cook it. and about supplies needed and much more, she’s excellent and very professional and knowledgeable. check it out. thanks.

  25. rina says:

    nice show

  26. Linda says:

    Very important topic. To me it is still in the realm of health. Peace of Mind!

  27. June says:






  28. Naomi says:

    Hey, I wrote awhile back about having a first aide kit. I should have known a smart guy like you wouldn’t
    forget such a basic item. I can`t stress enough about having a good saline solution for flushing deep wounds
    where it is not advisable to use peroxide or anything else for that matter. Anyway, I agree that being prepared
    for something helps with the fear factor & doesn’t mean you are putting the vibe out there. Some people
    just prefer to live in La la land. I totally believe in the Law of Attraction but whatever helps you be at ease
    then do it![:

  29. Julia Sempio says:

    I enjoyed your series on emergency preparedness as you NEVER know when any disaster may arise, as for me I’ve been slowly doing or gathering some of the essential supplies needed for myself, being 67 and on limited income. But, like you, it is about getting rid of the FEAR FACTOR which in itself is huge because when there is disaster the emotions kick in big time and most people can’t think straight. Only those who are well prepared will be in a better emotional state when something does happen and they can be a “resounding board” for those who want to scream, latch out, or whatever.
    Taking a disaster preparedness class has helped me better understand the emotions of the ERT (emergency response team) and victims much better.
    So, I say, “THANK YOU” for reaffirming the need to get rid of “fear” BEFORE disaster happens.
    Keep up the good work.

  30. Chris says:

    Please continue writing about preparedness and any other varied subject that you consider important. Please do that for us. Being prepared for any and all miscellaneous situations means the removal of fear. It will give us the peace of mind we need to face most of what needs to be addressed. It should be a given that it will be impossible to meet every single need that arises. But, what you’ve done with these two preparedness articles has greatly helped me and my family.

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