Man About Menifee: As We're Reminded, It's All About Survival

By David Baker

Like most of Menifee on Wednesday afternoon, my family members found themselves without power, thrown back in time to the preindustrial era for several hours.

They were cut off from news reports and the Internet. My wife called me at work, I was able to find some information out about it online, and power was restored for us by about 5 p.m.

All this got me thinking; many of my articles this month have centered on being prepared. How prepared are local families in the event of a longer term emergency? Say in the event of an earthquake outage that lasts for a day or two?

Just to be clear, I am not encouraging everybody to build a survivalist compound in their backyard. I’m just encouraging normal, responsible preparedness, and I have to admit that right now, our family is woefully unprepared. So I went to to learn more about a disaster supply kit.

Item number one on the list was water. This made a repeat appearance from a previous article. The rule, just like hiking, is a MINIMUM supply of one gallon of water per person per day. Some ways to quickly get water in an emergency if you do not have a stash are to fill a bathtub, or even from the toilet tank (I said tank, not bowl, so quit making that face).

Right after water comes food -- a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Choose foods your family can and will eat and remember any special dietary needs. Avoid foods that make you thirsty by choosing things such as salt free crackers, whole grain cereals and canned foods with high liquid content (don’t forget the can opener).

You also should have a battery-powered or hand crank radio, a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and a flashlight, with extra batteries for all of the above.

First aid kits are a good rule on so many levels. For more details on what can be found in a well-stocked first aid kit, click here.

A whistle should be in your emergency supplies to signal for help. Remember, the universal SOS signal with a whistle is three sharp blasts. Also consider dust masks for potential air contaminants, and plastic sheeting and duct tape to “shelter in place,” or as some would say, hunker down and wait it out.

Any parent can tell you that baby wipes are one of man’s greatest inventions, and they aren’t just for tushies anymore. These, with some garbage bags and ties to take care of “waste situations,” will be incredibly useful.

A simple set of tools that is portable will come in handy, especially a wrench to turn off utilities.

Local maps, cell phones with chargers, inverter or a solar charger will help you communicate your position if you need to. For these and many more suggestions, click here. Remember, being prepared isn’t about scaring anyone, it’s about taking care of your family.

David Baker, our Man About Menifee, writes about his adventures in and around town every Friday in this space. You may leave comments here for him or email him at


  1. During the power outage I listened to my battery operated radio for information but the Menifee outage was not mentioned. I realized that I needed a cell phone that connects to the Internet. I have the senior Tracfone but use it only for calling. I cannot find a reasonable priced cell phone with web browsing. I hope Doro PhoneEasy 740 becomes available soon.