Wednesday, April 14, 2021

30 Items for Your SHTF Tablet

One item everyone should have in their SHTF arsenal is a tablet that can be used in an emergency situation.  Here are 30 items that should be included in your emergency tablet:

  1. The tablet itself.  I am partial to Android tablets as they are much less locked down than Apple tablets.  YMMV
  2. The operating system.  A nice thing about Android tablets is that they can be "de Googled" and flashed with alternate--and more secure--ROMs like Calyx, Lineage, etc.
  3. Apps.  Again, with Android tablets, they can use an assortment of apps from Play Store apps to fDroid apps, etc.
  4. A tablet wireless plan.  Any old tablet will do but a nice option is to have an LTE tablet so that it can have its own wireless plan (this saves using your cell phone as a hotspot and running down its battery).  If you don't want a monthly post-paid plan, SIM cards for prepaid tablet plans are a good option.
  5. Micro SD cards/appropriate USB thumb drives.  Many Android tablets allow you to use micro SD cards to expand the memory of the tablet; if this isn't an option, using an appropriate thumb drive (USB-C, lightening, etc) to store information on to use with your tablet is a good idea.
  6. A VPN.  While not fool-proof, using a VPN with your tablet is a good idea when it comes to added security.
  7. Battery banks.  One should be conventional which can be charged when you have access to power and the other should be a battery bank that can be charged with solar power.
  8. Local news apps.  A few different local news apps can keep you up-to-date on the latest local news.
  9. National news apps.  Ditto but on a national news level.
  10. Scanner apps.  Listen in on local and national police/fire/etc radio traffic on scanner apps like Broadcastify or Scanner Radio; this is particularly useful during a disaster.
  11. Weather apps.  Weather apps can give you updates on local and national weather and also allow you to be alerted when there is threatening weather in your area.
  12. Map apps.  For everyday use Google Maps and Waze provide useful information for navigating around your city.  It's also a good idea to download offline maps that can be used when you don't have wifi or a cell signal.  Be sure to download free topo maps too.
  13. Radio apps.  There are several good radio apps that allow you to listen to music and news on local, national, and international radio stations.  Using the NextRadio app may allow you to listen to FM radio even when your tablet is offline.
  14. Downloadable survival manuals.  This is where the micro SD cards come in handy as there are a range of offline survival manuals that you can download but they take up a lot of memory.
  15. Emergency Alert apps.  There are a bunch of emergency alert apps that will let you know if there are emergency situations in your area.  These include this one, this one, and this one.
  16. Social media apps.  Another way to both give and receive emergency information is via social media apps.  Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, etc. all allow you to interact with people near and far.
  17. A backup of all of the files on your computer.  All of the files on your computer can be backed up on your tablet for use during an emergency; be sure to use a good file manager app to easily access your files.
  18. First aid apps.  There are a number of first aid apps which work online, as well as a bunch of first aid manuals you can download for offline use.
  19. Messaging apps.  You can use the standard messaging app that comes on your tablet (these may require a work around if it is a cell phone-based app being used on a tablet), more secure messaging apps, and even walkie talkie apps to communicate with loved ones during a disaster.
  20. Banking apps.  During a disaster, your local bank branches may be closed but you can still access your money via banking apps on your tablet.  Using apps like PayPal, Venmo, or Xoom allow you to easily transfer money to other people if needed.
  21. Entertainment apps.  During most disasters there is a lot of panic followed by a lot of waiting...and waiting...and waiting.  Make sure you have apps on your tablet that allow you to access your entertainment options offline like reading downloaded books on Kindle, watching videos and movies offline, listening to music kept on your tablet, playing games offline, etc.  If you do have access to wifi or LTE, Pluto TV is a good alternative for watching TV on your tablet.
  22. Apps that alert you to disasters that are common in your area like tornados, earthquakes, and hurricanes.
  23. Personal safety apps.  You can use apps to find your family members, record and upload interactions, and receive emergency help.
  24. Recipes.  During a disaster--or a pandemic lockdown--you may be cooking at home a lot more.  Unless you have recipes committed to memory, copy and save a range of recipes to help you cook meals from scratch if necessary.
  25. Personal info.  If this information isn't a part of your backed up computer files, use your tablet to take photos of important documents (passport, driver's license, etc), take inventory videos of the contents of your home (for insurance purposes), and scan/save documents like your will, living will, medical power of attorney, banking/investing documents, etc.
  26. Missing person info.  If you were to become separated from your loved ones during a disaster, you would need certain information in order to find them afterwards.  On your tablet have recent photos of each loved one/family member (face and full body), their full name, address, email address, social media handles, social security number, birthdate, photos of tattoos or scars, medical info, etc.  You can save this guide on your tablet which further expands on the information needed when filing a missing person report.
  27. HAM radio apps.  If you are a HAM radio user, having appropriate apps on your tablet (like radio reference for a database of frequencies) can be very useful in a disaster.
  28. Apps for wild edibles and foraging.  Make sure the wild plants you find are safe and edible by using appropriate apps for this.  Ditto if you hunt for wild mushrooms.
  29. General disaster apps.  These can be local or global in scope and cover everything from blast mapping apps to CBRNE response apps.
  30. Other apps which would be useful in an emergency including a flashlight app, a measuring app, notes, web browser, shopping apps, calculator, etc.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

10 Radios to Have on Hand for an Emergency

One of the best ways to get information during a disaster, aside from the plethora of social media platforms, is via radio.  While most people listen to curated media--like Spotify or Pandora--having basic radio capabilities can be invaluable during a disaster.  Here are several types of radios you should have on hand:

  1. HAM radio is a good option both for disasters and entertainment.  While only licensed users can operate HAM radios (except during an emergency), these are great for receiving and providing information during a disaster.
  2. NOAA weather radio.  If you live in an area prone to weather emergencies, a NOAA weather radio can provide a variety of information from emergency alarms to continuous weather information broadcasts.
  3. AM/FM transistor radio.  These radios usually operate via batteries or plugged into an outlet and provide all of the AM and FM stations for news, music, and entertainment.  I keep a small radio of this type in my bug out bag for emergency use during a disaster.
  4. RTL-SDR.  This is software-defined radio which is popular with hobbyists and provides a range of radio services via a special dongle (which can be ordered from Amazon) connected to your computer.
  5. Satellite radio.  This type of radio is most commonly found in vehicles (like Sirius XM radio) and provides radio stations from all over the country.  If you are driving around the country, especially in typically "dead" areas that receive no other type of radio signal, this is a good option.
  6. Radio apps.  There are numerous radio apps you can download to your cell phone to use during an emergency in order to listen to local, national, and international radio stations.  I believe only the NextRadio app allows you to listen to the radio on your phone without cell or wifi service.
  7. An emergency radio.  Emergency radios usually provide AM/FM and sometimes shortwave stations on a radio that can be powered in multiple ways (batteries, plugged in, hand crank, and solar).  This is a great option to have on hand during an emergency due to the multiple power source options.
  8. MP3 radio.  For people who don't want to drain their cell phone battery while listening to music, small MP3 radios (example here) allow you to download your favorite music to the device as well as listen to FM radio all on a tiny usb-chargable device.
  9. Police scanner.  Police scanner radios (either desktop, handheld, or via scanner radio apps) allow civilians to listen in to police, EMS, fire, utility, air, marine, and other radio traffic (note this won't work if you local police radio has been encrypted).
  10. Car radio.  The radio in your vehicle can be a viable option if you have no other way to access news and information via radio in your home during a disaster (just be sure to start your car OUTSIDE of your closed garage to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning).

Monday, April 5, 2021

On Privacy...Or the Lack Thereof

I'll start with the bottom line...unless you leave behind all of your electronic devices (watch, phone, PLB, etc) and hike a good ways into the middle of nowhere, you don't have any privacy.

I could write tomes on how we got to this point--I still fondly remember heading out to the wilderness to hunt for a couple weeks at a time with absolutely no way to contact anyone unless I left a message written on a paper plate, tacked it to a tree, and hoped whoever found it passed along the message (this actually worked on several occasions BTW)--but the erosion of our individual privacy seems to have hit critical mass over the past few years.

As we, in a no doubt futile effort, attempt to thwart the latest invasions to our privacy, there are still some ways you can manage to eek a little bit of privacy into your life...

  • don't use social media and delete your social media accounts.  These days if I want to contact someone I call (insecure), email (minimally secure with ProtonMail), message (ditto with Signal), or send snail mail (not very secure but I have a few old friends who still like written letters so this is more a source of amusement than privacy).
  • I have over the air TV (not traceable), cable internet (minimally private with a VPN), no listening devices (like Alexa, Siri, etc) in my home, dumb TVs (flat screen TVs made before all TVs could connect to the internet), and my electronic devices like phones and tablets are set far enough away that they can be heard but probably can't pick up conversation.
  • pay cash as much as possible.  This has varying degrees of privacy from most (shop at small mom and pop places that don't have video surveillance) to least (big businesses that track everyone who enters their property...even more invasive when they offer "free" wifi, loyalty apps, or even more insidious, in-store key points location tracking that tracks a shopper's every movement).
  • note that while nothing you do online or on your phone is secure, burner phones can be useful (with parameters like one time use only), Linux is probably better than Windows. Graphene is probably better than Google, Brave is better than Chrome, DuckDuckGo is better than Google, and a VPN is kinda-sorta reasonably secure.  In addition modem/router security can be marginally enhanced, and computer security and privacy is an entire topic unto itself.
  • after hearing how dystopian workplaces have become **cough Amazon cough**, I'm pretty glad I am no longer working.  Working from home seems to be a better option than in an office but again, everything you do via a computer with work-related software can delve into your privacy.
  • your vehicle can be tracked in a myriad of ways.  I will note that pre-1994 vehicles don't have black boxes, but license plate readers, toll pass tracking, and with newer vehicles in-vehicle "car-tapping" does happen.  Vehicle hacking can and does happen and it is, in fact, a favorite topic at conferences like DefCon.
Another bottom line, privacy goal posts are continually moving.  Just as soon as a newer, more secure OS is released, hackers are all over it looking for ways to hack it (much to the delight of end users like the government).  Just as soon as a "private social media platform" is created, it can be deplatformed and/or hacked.  Perhaps that why searching "how to disappear from the internet" returns so many pages...

Saturday, April 3, 2021

20 Items to Keep You on the Down Low

Need to keep a lower than low profile?  Here are some items to help you...

  1. Cash.  Cash that you carry with you, cash that you keep as an emergency fund at home, cash that you pay for things you don't want traced back to you...cash has many "grey man" uses.
  2. Prepaid visa cards.  Of course you would purchase these with cash then use them as needed to make in-person and online purchases that you don't want traced back to you.
  3. Prepaid gift cards.  Ditto.  These are quite useful for things like gas stations, Starbucks, Subway, etc.
  4. Private mail box/remailer service.  PMBs are a bit more flexible than post office boxes (these places usually hold packages and forward your mail among other services) and while they require your actual address during sign up, if you were to move after setting up service...
  5. Safe deposit boxes.  These are a good place to store important documents and valuable items.
  6. A burner phone with a prepaid service plan.  Paid for in cash of course.
  7. A VPN.  Some of these are more secure than others when it comes to covering your access to the internet.
  8. Having the Tor browser on a thumb drive.  This is a more secure way to access the internet than normal.
  9. Keeping your files on an encrypted thumb drive.  IMHO a better option than keeping your files on a computer or in the cloud.
  10. A Breitling emergency locator watch.  Expensive but a favorite of aviators and others who may need to signal for help.
  11. Firearms purchased through private parties that aren't registered in your name.  The legality of this varies by state.
  12. Dual citizenship/second passport.  The Nomad Capitalist covers the hows and whys of this in several of his videos.
  13. An air gapped computer.  A good way to secure your computer from intrusion.
  14. A bug out vehicle.  By avoiding highways and traveling on rural roads where there is less chance of surveillance, and with a properly outfitted vehicle, you could live off-grid for a good bit of time.
  15. Social media/email/website using an alias.  For obvious reasons.
  16. An EDC bag.  A properly outfitted everyday carry bag will go a long way towards equipping you for everyday challenges up to and including a full bug-out scenario.
  17. A bug out bag.  More comprehensive than an EDC bag, a fully outfitted bug out bag will provide everything you need for long-term survival when you have to pick up and leave in a hurry.
  18. Caches.  Depending on what you need and where you need it, leaving caches in various locations is a good way to re-equip yourself when needed.
  19. Micro SD cards/readers.  The best way to save, transfer, and read files is with these very tiny (and easily hideable) memory cards and appropriate readers (micro sd to type c/type a readers allow easy compatibility with my laptop, phone, and tablet).
  20. Assorted disguises.  These can be as simple as carrying a reversible jacket, a baseball cap, glasses, a scarf, etc.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Some YouTube Channels to Check Out...

 ...for times when you think the world is going crazy.  Seriously, the liberal left has become so "woke" they have fallen off the deep end so when you think everyone has lost their damn minds, here are some refreshingly "good ole fashioned common sense" YouTube channels to check out...

While I generally lean libertarian, the current state of cancelling any voice you don't agree with, banning "offensive" books, and the growing problem of social media platforms banning/demonitizing/blocking voices that don't agree with their left-leaning agenda show that our country is far down the slippery slope of trampling all over the Bill of Rights (particularly the freedom of speech).  

Thursday, April 1, 2021

10 Ways to Stay on Top of Bad Weather

We were eagerly watching the weather reports last week and hoping that the tornado outbreaks didn't hit any of our friend's or relative's homes in the deep south (they didn't, fortunately).  Whether you live in a dangerous weather area or are concerned about others, here are ten ways to stay on top of bad weather so you don't become a victim of a dangerous weather emergency...

  1. Get a NOAA weather radio (this will alert you to weather emergencies in your area; crank it up to loud so it will wake you if there is a nighttime weather emergency)
  2. Get Wireless Emergency Alerts on your cell phone (again, these alerts are geared towards your local area)
  3. Allow push notifications from apps on your cell phone (these should be news, weather, and emergency apps that send you alerts when there is an emergency in your area)
  4. Watch the news on TV or listen to the news on your radio (news stations generally have extended coverage during a weather emergency and provide information on the disaster at hand as well as info on seeking shelter or receiving help in the local community)
  5. Bookmark useful weather websites on your computer and check these sites regularly (sites should include local news websites, national news sites and specific weather sites)
  6. Frequently peruse apps on your cell phone if you are not at home to keep track of where storms are heading (these should include local news station apps and specific weather apps)
  7. Watch YouTube to get up close and personal with dangerous weather (search storm chasers, your local area, current weather, etc)
  8. If you are a HAM radio operator, check out the NWS HAM Radio Program (you can listen in for alerts and participate by sharing weather info for your specific location)
  9. Check out websites that are specific to your emergency (ie: tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc)
  10. Follow weather agencies on social media to receive up-to-date alerts (ie: FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, etc)

Sunday, February 21, 2021

75 Items People Needed During the Recent Winter Storm

There were a lot of people in the south who were caught off guard by the massive snow and ice storm that hit Texas and other southern areas of our country last week.  Among the after-storm reports on various social media services were lists of items people wished they had/added to their "to buy" list both during and after the storm.  Needless to say, it is both easier and cheaper to buy these items long before you need them instead of when people are mobbing the stores during the adverse weather event.  Maybe add some of these items to your "to buy" list in case you find yourself in such a situation in the future...

  1. Generator and extra fuel.  This is a very popular item during power outages, on the other hand, these noisy generators certainly draw attention to your place.
  2. A solar panel/storage battery set up.  Quieter than a generator and no need for fuel if you live in a place that gets enough sun even during the winter.
  3. 5 gallon buckets.  There are a million uses for these from hauling and storing water to using it as an impromptu wheelbarrow.
  4. Rags and old towels.  You can pick these up for cheap at thrift stores and they have hundreds of uses during a disaster.
  5. Tarps.  These also have many uses from wrapping the chicken coop to keep the girls warm, to wrapping plants and trees, to making a shelter within your home.
  6. Duct tape.  Again, a million uses during a disaster, from repairs to wrapping insulation around pipes, etc.
  7. Winter clothing.  Many people head south and leave their winter clothes behind; everyone should have at least one complete set of warm winter clothes--jacket, gloves, hat, boots, socks--in storage.
  8. Clothes to keep warm at home.  Big warm socks, long underware, big fleece jackets, onesies for the kids...basically have clothes you can layer to wear at home to keep you warm.
  9. Snow shovel.  People were trying to move snow with Tupperware lids in some reports!
  10. Electric space heaters.  With power or a generator, these small space heaters can be used to keep an entire room warm.
  11. Alternate fuel space heaters and extra fuel.  Portable space heaters which use fuel like kerosene or propane are a great emergency source of heat if the power goes out (be sure to keep the fuel rotated).
  12. Matches and lighters.  Some people who still had gas service but no electricity realized their electric starter didn't work on their stoves and they didn't have a manual way to light them.
  13. Gas patio grill.  These grills (preferably with a side burner) became the only way to cook food and boil water for some people.
  14. Carbon monoxide detectors.  These were extremely valuable as people used alternate ways to heat their homes and cook their food.  Unfortunately a lot of people didn't have these vital detectors and many ended up in the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning.
  15. Lots of extra stored, easy-to-eat food.  With no power and no way to heat food, people realized that all the beans and rice in the world are less than useful when what they really needed was canned and packaged food that could be easily eaten without cooking or with minimal cooking (granola, cereal, jerky, canned tuna, etc).
  16. Lots of extra stored water.  Most people don't think they will end up at the community water faucet to get water but it happened in some areas.  Having multiple sources of stored water and multiple ways to carry water is a good idea.
  17. Multiple ways to purify water.  Many areas had boil water orders which were problematic for a few reasons--people's water stopped working, they had no way to boil water, and they didn't know how to boil water to purify it.  Learn how to purify water now and have several methods for doing so on hand.
  18. Camping gear.  Even though people were stuck in their homes without heat, many really could have used camping gear--tent, sleeping bags, sleep pads, etc--to create a warm "inner room" in their homes.  As it was, some people didn't even have enough blankets to keep warm!
  19. Alternate ways to clean up.  Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, a spray bottle or garden sprayer...there are many alternate ways to clean yourself up (take a cue from van dwellers on how to do this when you don't have water or power).
  20. Bleach.  From purifying water to sanitizing around the house, bleach has a lot of uses during an emergency so always have some on hand (but never mix it with other cleaning agents!).
  21. Fire extinguisher.  Stopping a fire when it was small would have been preferable to the infernos that happened because all of the hydrants were frozen.
  22. Toilet paper, kleenex, paper towels.  Needless to say, when a storm hits, paper goods are one of the first items to disappear from store shelves.
  23. Cash.  Some stores didn't have electricity so credit cards couldn't be processed, ditto gas stations and ATMs.  It's always a good idea to have emergency cash on hand.
  24. Extra stored fuel.  Gas stations quickly closed during the storm either because they had no electricity to pump the fuel or because they were so overwhelmed with people filling their gas tanks that they ran out.  Never be caught in this situation by having your own (rotated) fuel stock.
  25. Snow chains.  Most people leave their tire chains behind when they head south.  Obviously these would have come in handy during this once-in-a-decade storm.
  26. Battery banks.  It seems like most cell service kept working during the storm but with no power people were trying all sorts of ways to keep their cell phones charged.  Having several power banks on hand and keeping them charged up when you have access to power is a very good idea.
  27. Extension cords.  These were useful for everything from running power from a generator to sharing power with the neighbors.
  28. Alternate ways to cook food.  If your electric stove doesn't work, how will you cook food?  Some people used their patio grills, some people broke out their Coleman camp stoves, some people cooked over their tiny backpacking stoves or used their fireplace.
  29. Fireplaces.  How useful is your fireplace during a power outage?  If you have a fireplace insert and lots of cured wood, you would have been set during the storm.  A gas fireplace, not so much as gas service cut out in many places.
  30. Firewood.  People ended up burning furniture and books to keep warm!  Even if you just have a small bonfire pit in the back yard, having firewood on hand is a much better option than buying it piece by piece at the grocery store (many of which ran out of wood almost immediately).
  31. Propane cylinders.  It's always a good idea to have an extra cylinder or three on hand to use with your gas grill or propane heater.  These sold out quickly at stores in the storm-affected areas.
  32. Pipe wrap.  Again, in cold places wrapping heat tape around exposed pipes is a given but this isn't done in warmer areas.  Have a way to insulate your pipes so they don't burst during a hard freeze.
  33. Duct tape.  Literally a hundred uses during a disaster.
  34. Plastic sheeting.  People with poorly insulated windows put up plastic sheeting to keep cold and drafts out of their homes during the storm (again, this stuff sold out quickly at home stores during the storm).
  35. Flashlights and extra batteries.  Flashlights and headlamps were extremely valuable when the power was out for days.  Be sure you have enough batteries on hand to keep these light sources going.
  36. Candles.  If you run out of batteries for your flashlights you can use candles.
  37. Lanterns.  Lanterns are an even better idea if you want to provide light for an entire room.  These can be powered with rechargeable batteries or fuel.
  38. Entertainment options.  Preferably of the non-electric variety.  There were many days of just waiting and hanging out and without power people had to resort to old fashioned ways of entertaining themselves from books and games to puzzles and crafts.  Have plenty of these supplies on hand.
  39. Hot water bottles.  These are another old fashioned item that were invaluable for keeping warm when the power went out.  Boil water, fill the bottle, put the bottle in the bottom of your sleeping bag and you will stay warm for hours.
  40. Extra specialized food--for babies, for pets, for livestock, etc.  People couldn't get out to the stores/the stores were closed, but everyone still needs to eat so always keep your specialized food (baby formula, baby food, pet food, livestock feed, etc) topped off.
  41. Chemical hand warmers.  If you have to wait in line in the freezing weather for food/water/store entry/etc, having these chemical hand warmers in your pockets are a nice treat.
  42. Battery powered radio and extra batteries.  These were great for getting information from the outside when TV and radios didn't work.  Note that the emergency radios which can be powered by batteries, regular power, and hand crank are even better in case you run out of batteries and these often have a port for charging your cell phone as well.
  43. Extra blankets and bedding.  Some people had unexpected guests during the storm (friends, family, a delivery driver) so it makes sense to have enough extra bedding and blankets for everyone.  Also, blankets can be used to make an impromptu tent for the family, can be used over windows to doorways to seal out the cold, etc.
  44. A way to protect yourself.  I actually didn't hear about people taking advantage of the power outage to rob people's homes but no power means no security system and at the height of the storm first responders were few and far between so people were on their own when it came to their own security and protection.
  45. Thermos.  Again, an old fashioned concept since there is a Starbucks on every corner, but a thermos is the best way to have already made hot coffee/water all day.
  46. Basic tools.  Hammer, saw, nails, wrench, plumbing supplies, staple gun...if any damage was done during the storm, people needed to mend the mess and wait, often for days or weeks, for professional help.  If you could cap off a broken pipe, hang tarps, and use a chainsaw to clear downed trees, you were miles ahead of the general public, especially in the cities that were hard hit by the storm.
  47. Cast iron pans/Dutch oven.  These are the best pans to use when you have to move your indoor cooking to the gas grill/fire pit/fireplace.  
  48. Silcock key.  Rumor has it that while household water went down there was still plenty of water to be had in commercial building water systems.  YMMV
  49. Extra medication.  While the best course of action for people in severe medical distress (on a ventilator, dependent on oxygen, on dialysis, etc) would have been evacuating far from the storm, people with general medical issues were still on their own for a while so things like having as stockpile of prescription medication is a good idea when stores/pharmacies are shut down.
  50. Power strips/surge protectors.  With the rolling blackouts that happened in many storm affected areas, many people had to both charge as many devices as quickly as possible and ensure that their delicate electronics didn't get toasted when there were power surges.  These two devices take care of both problems.
  51. Shop vac.  These durable vacuums are great for storm clean up (or any kind of clean up that the spouse would object to you using the Dyson on).
  52. Yaktrax or spikes for your shoes/boots.  If you must be out and about in a snow and ice storm, having traction devices on your shoes is a good idea for your safety.
  53. Car BOB.  Many people got stuck in their cars in the storm in the middle of the freeway.  For hours on end.  Having a car bug out bag makes this situation much more bearable.
  54. Materials to extricate your vehicle from the ditch.  If you do drive during a storm and get stuck in the snow, there are several things to have with you to get yourself out of your predicament including a shovel, cat litter,  car traction mats, gloves, winch/come-along, etc.
  55. Funnels.  These can be used for transferring fuel from storage containers to car tank, from storage to heater, water from storage to pitchers in the refrigerator, etc.
  56. Hand pump/siphon.  For people who have difficulty lifting heavy gas or water storage containers, being able to pump or siphon the water out of these and into smaller containers is a good idea.
  57. Ice scraper and snow brush.  In south Texas no one keeps an ice scraper in their vehicle so people were using credit cards, knives(!), and even fire to clear ice and snow from their vehicles.
  58. Coolers.  These can be filled with snow to keep food cold if the fridge has been out of power for too long.
  59. HAM radios.  Some people reported using their HAM radios during the storm to connect with other people and receive local information.  When cell towers go down, this may be your only communication option.
  60. Thermometers.  People kept these in their fridge and freezers to know what temperatures these appliances got up to--too long in the danger zone and the food would spoil.
  61. Car USB charger.  As a last resort, people would use these to charge their cell phones in their vehicles.
  62. Down.  Down throws, down sleeping bags, down booties...as long as it doesn't get wet, down items are really warm and really lightweight.
  63. Tools to turn off water, gas, and electricity in your home.  Electricity is pretty simple as you just flip the main breaker, gas shut off should be done with a special non-sparking tool, water shut off is usually done by flipping a lever in your home or using a tool to access the water shut off at the street.
  64. French press.  A simpler way to make coffee than electricity-intensive coffee makers.  Instant coffee was an even easier option.
  65. Paper plates/napkins/plastic cutlery/aluminum foil/plastic wrap.  When there was no hot water to wash dishes, using paper products became pretty popular in the storm-affected area.
  66. Mylar emergency blankets.  Pretty good for another insulative layer, pretty noisy if you are trying to sleep in one.
  67. Drain cover/water BOB.  For people who filled up their bathtubs with water before their water was shut off, having a drain cover was a good idea (one guy filled up his tub only to find the built in drain plug didn't seal well and the water drained out).  A WaterBOB is an even better idea.
  68. A good first aid kit.  Accidents can happen any time but when 911 response is slowed or even unavailable, having the supplies on hand to deal with basic medical emergencies is a good idea.
  69. Ways to preserve meat.  When it looked like the power outage would last for quite a while, people went online looking for information on preserving meat via dehydrator, smoker, salt preservation, canning, etc.  Needless to say, having the supplies on hand to do this is necessary especially when local stores are all shut down.
  70. Gutters and rain barrels.  When the water is off long-term, rain and melting snow funneled into a rain barrel can be another source of emergency water.
  71. Disposable diapers.  For babies or for the infirm/elderly.  People may be OK using cloth diapers under normal circumstances but when there is no water and no power, disposable is the way to go.
  72. Garbage bags.  Small, medium, and large plastic bags have a number of uses during a disaster.
  73. Spare parts.  For your generator (spark plugs, oil), for your lanterns (wicks), basically any part you would have to run to the home store and buy should be stocked at home since during a disaster these stores will probably be shut down.
  74. Treats.  Treats have a positive psychological impact during trying times.  New toys or coloring books for the kids, quality chocolates for the spouse, favorite foods...you can buy these during regular times then bring them out during a disaster and make everyone's day.
  75. And here is a list of more items that disappear first in an emergency.