How long did you spend sleeping last night? If you're anything like most other Americans, your answer will be somewhere between 6 to 8 hours. Which is totally normal, because we all need to sleep. But this also presents a risk. An emergency can strike at any time, and with us spending about a third of our lives asleep, there's a pretty good chance something will happen while you're sleeping. Perhaps you've woken up to the sound of someone breaking into your kitchen, or felt the rumble of an earthquake shaking the foundations of your home. If this happened right now, how prepared would you be? Would you have easy access to all the gear you need to keep your family safe? Today, I'm going to run you through everything I keep in my nightstand, as I've spent more than a few hours thinking and planning the exact tools and items I'll need to delay an attacker, or to get my family and myself to a safe place no matter what disaster has struck. Because let's face it. Waking up in the middle of the night is going to leave you groggy, and you're not going to be in the right frame of mind to start getting organized. You'll forget things, and waste valuable time that could be better put towards escape. If you want to survive, you've got to prepare. Here's what I always keep handy:
As your eyes adjust to the night your night vision will improve, but if you're trying to do anything other than stumble into the bathroom you're going to need a little light. Sitting on top of my nightstand is an LED headlamp. I picked it as it's got the red lights and a nightvision setting that you can use to give yourself the ability to see without shining bright white lights everywhere, and potentially notifying anyone watching that you're now awake. What I like best though, is that it allows me to see while keeping my hands free, so I can start gathering everything else I need.
Boots and clothing
It's no good leaving all your footwear by your front door if you're forced to evacuate out your bedroom window, especially in winter or if you've been through an earthquake and there's shattered glass all over the floor. Trust me on this one. It's not fun. I now keep a comfortable pair of boots tucked under my bed, along with a set of clothes and a jacket that will keep me warm, so I can throw these on without a second's thought. The last thing I want to be doing in an emergency is rummaging through my closet trying to find clothes, when every second I delay could be putting my family in even more danger.
Next to my bed I have a charging station, that I connect my phone into each night so it's always fully charged should anything happen during the night. It's also right there if I need to call the police, emergency services, or check my security system. I've also got a powerbank that charges alongside my phone. It's pocked sized but packs enough juice to recharge my phone twice over, so if I ever need to grab these and run, I won't be worried about losing power, or my phone battery dying at the worst possible moment. I'd also recommend setting up a couple of things on your phone. Sign up for text alerts from the National Weather Service so you're notified of any severe storms, and download the FEMA app and choose all the notifications that you need. Even just a half hour's head start on everyone else could be enough warning to evacuate your family to a safe location before the crisis hits. Oh, and I've also got my home alarm system connected to my phone. So if there's anything odd, at all, I can just use the app to see what's going on. It's even got the ability to stream real-time video from key locations in my house, so I can learn what is actually happening, before I leave my bedroom.
Being prepared is a good thing, but it's also reassuring to know I've got a small arsenal within arm's reach should I need to fight my way out of my home. Of course, before you rely on a firearm or any self-defensive weapons ensure you've had the proper training. In addition to my handgun, I've also got a can of pepper spray
, a handheld taser, and a tactical flashlight handy. All of these are locked away in a small safe fixed to the underneath of my nightstand, so they're not immediately apparent, yet still easy to get to. Oh, and a couple of spare magazines just in case.
Evacuation kit and bug out bag
The last thing I want to be doing in the middle of the night is running around packing my most important items if I need to leave my home. Because I'll forget things. Instead, I've put together an evacuation kit. It's got every important document inside, along with things like my passport, ID, and everything else I cannot afford to lose. Paired with my bug out bag, I've got everything I need to leave my home in seconds, and be perfectly fine living off the road for a couple of nights.
This last one doesn't really fit in your nightstand, but it's important nonetheless. You need to train. You need to practice scenarios, and discover what's going to go wrong when you're trying to evacuate your home at 3am when you're only half-awake. Do it now, so you can respond faster when a real emergency strikes, and don't forget to debrief after each attempt to consider what went well and what could be improved.
And there you have it. Everything I've got in my nightstand to help keep me and my family safe no matter what. If you've got these basics, you'll be well placed in a crisis, able to respond effectively and efficiently to any crisis that comes. Is there anything else you'd like to add?