How to Prepare: Citizen Prepper with Joshua Farrell (PART 2)

"Be prepared so you can help, because everyone needs everybody in this situation." -Joshua Farrell


We've learned the basics of being prepared enough. Now the question is, "Are you prepared enough to help others?" Besides our basic needs, some additional necessities and actions are needed to survive a disaster. Find out what items to pack- from food to shelter and padlocks to sunblocks(?). In this episode, we also learn the secret to avoiding confusion and pressure in the event of a disaster. Tune in as the bag raid continues with Josh Farrell! Build resiliency, be prepared, be ready to help others. 


  • 02:38: Check #1- Communication and Respiration
  • 08:57: Check #2- Rations and Essentials 
  • 18:55: Check #3- Building Necessities
  • 25:22: Check #4- Shelter and Pets and Sunblock?
  • 31:40: Check #5-Clothing, Disinfection, and Navigation
  • 37:20: How Heavy? 
  • 41:33: Check #6- Power Supply
  • 44:18: Prepared to Help 



01:42: "Resiliency is a matter of how innovative we are willing to be." -Jennifer Thompson

08:33: "The more you're prepared, you can focus on helping other people." -Joshua Farrell

33:37: "Pick your emergency wear well." -Joshua Farrell

35:17: "You may have to leave quickly and you don't want your list of all the stuff you have to do. That is something that's easily taken care of in advance." -Joshua Farrell

37:45: "Think in advance, not at the time that the situation is happening because it can be very confusing." -Joshua Farrell

38:13: "Don't make [the bag] too heavy. But remember that you can totally shed stuff as you go." -Joshua Farrell

39:21: "In an emergency, you're juggling a lot of things. So you want to make it so you don't have to think about anything." -Joshua Farrell

47:00: "Be prepared so you can help, because everyone needs everybody in this situation." -Joshua Farrell

48:13: "Climate change is real and we are all climate refugees in some ways when a disaster has occurred." -Jennifer Thompson

Meet Josh: 

Joshua Farrell always makes sure that they have a to-go bag in case of emergency. But when he and his family moved to Sonoma, his preparedness was challenged to a serious degree. Today, he takes all the lessons learned from the 2017 wildfire to level up his game and be a Citizen Prepper, always ready for any disaster. 


Jennifer Gray Thompson: Well, welcome again to How To Disaster podcast, to recover, rebuild and reimagine. This podcast really today though is about how to prepare. What can you do as a citizen prepper in order to prepare your family and make sure that you have the very basics of what you need. We've heard from a lot of people around, not only the country, but even in Australia about how these climate change disasters really are taking effect and are changing the lives of people who didn't ever actually expect to not be able to depend upon their power grid, or their government to help them in case of a disaster. This is one of those situations where there's a lot a person can do in advance to build resiliency. Resiliency is only a matter of how innovative we are willing to be, and Josh is willing to be innovative. He's willing also to be teased, but to a certain extent by his social group for his real dedication to being prepared for a disaster. But he makes no apologies for that, because he also knows that he has equipped himself in such a way that not only will he be able to help his own family, but he also might be able to help your family. And I think we have to build that into our citizen preparedness, how is it that we can ensure that we are self sufficient enough that we can also be of service. So there is a community component to this as well. I hope you enjoy Part 2 of my podcast with Josh Farrell. He is funny, he is charming and he's very, very smart. And he has a lot to offer. And thank you so much for spending this time with us on How To Disaster.


"Resiliency is a matter of how innovative we are willing to be." -Jennifer Thompson


Josh Farrell: Let's see what else I got here. All right, this might be considered a little overkill, but it didn't cost a lot. And I did it a while ago. But it's just a couple of walkie talkies, okay? So now the reason I did this was I wasn't like, oh my god, we're gonna have to run into the hills so I'm going to buy all terrain walkie talkies. I think this cost me, it's a Midland or whatever, and it was like 50 bucks for two of them. You got a charger stuff, and you can charge it in the car and batteries. That works on batteries, as well as a charged battery. But more importantly is cell phone towers, as we know, which happened up in Santa Rosa, those burn communications were really bad. No one's really going to be on the other end of this except my wife. And if her and I are in cars following each other, stuck in traffic for hours trying to get out of town, we have a way to communicate with each other. If she needs to walk down to the store, or go to the end of the street to check on somebody, we have a lot of elderly people in our neighborhood who we would check on, for sure. She can take one, and I can have one, and we have a way to communicate without cell phone towers.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: I'm actually going to adopt that. I'm going to tell Doug, and because there is this story in Paradise. Ended up in a documentary where you had one of the first responders, he called his wife and he said, okay, he's basically going into the fire, they're losing their home in Paradise. She's evacuating, cell phone towers are all burned down. So for eight hours, he didn't know if she made it, and she didn't know if he made it. They both had eight hours of English, and that has stuck with me so strongly that we actually funded a study this year by Scott Adams about communications in disasters and how we need to do better. But just for our own personal responsibility, I think that having walkie talkies is very smart, and I'm going to get them for my family too. It's very smart.

Josh Farrell: It looks like a lot of people were getting Christmas gifts from you this year. And actually, disaster preparedness is a perfect gift. I'm just telling you, especially as you get older and you're like, I don't know about, everyone's got their own thing but you're getting older, what do I get this person, we're all older, everyone appreciates a little disaster thing that can throw in a bag. I think.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Well, you know what? they'll appreciate when they need it. So I asked for Christmas this year, I wanted full respirators for each of us. And that's one of the things that I, he was like, really? That's really what you want? Like, yes, I really like that. Thank you.

Josh Farrell: All right. That's a good segue. Because next up, now, I didn't buy this respirator for my pack, I had this respirator because I do construction. I've used it for chemicals and things like that, so it's N95. So it does work for smoke, and I actually just used this when I was coming up for the last fires. A couple of weeks ago, I had to drive up north, two weeks ago, during those fires that are still going on the complex fires, and it was so smoky. Driving up at i5, it was nuts, it was totally foggy. You could maybe see an eighth of a mile on i5e all because of smoke for hours. So I was able to put this on, which I had brought with me out of my bag. And the ski goggles, which are used, old ski goggles, jacket for I think 15 bucks or something like that. And these kept the smoke out. And at first, I was getting really choked up with the smoke and my eyes were burning. And I put these two things on with my glasses underneath it, and I drove for like three hours fine.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: I like to highlight that as well. Because the number one thing that you have to have access to in this type of disaster is a mask. And it has to be, your COVID mask isn't going to work unless it has an N95 insert, you cannot depend upon people actually having them to give to you because they go to first responders first, which they should, but just having a stockpile of, if you don't want to go the respirator route that you do have at least two N95 per person in your household ready to go. Or you can go the respirator route, and I think the goggles are really smart too. And tell you, you're breathing in not just as like you would think in a wood fire, you're actually breathing in chemicals, burnt plastics and all kinds of other things that you would not, and you don't even know yet what the long term ramifications are for the past three years of fire.

Josh Farrell: Yeah. On that note, this is my N95. And I have two of these in here. I do keep these masks in plastic because there's elastic bands on them. And over time, if you don't use them, they could get a little more on the brittle side.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: They can. And to be clear, they do expire so you should check the expiration dates. I'm not going to tell you what you should do with them after they've expired because I'm not sure if it's a medical grade expiration or if it has, I'm not sure what the function is when they decide how they're expired. But if you're storing them safely and checking in quarterly, you should be fine.


"The more you're prepared, you can focus on helping other people." -Joshua Farrell


Josh Farrell: Yeah. So I highly recommend these. Oddly enough, were definitely prepared for this pandemic. Because of the fires, we had a whole 10 of these at our house. So we were able to give them to some neighbors. When the pandemic kind of started, we were able to dole those out. So again, the more you're prepared, you can then focus on helping other people. At least for us, there are a lot of people they're going to need help in our neighborhood over ourselves. So the more I'm prepared, got all my stuff done, and I can tend to other people's needs.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Hold on one second.

Josh Farrell: Yep.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: I have to do the camera really quickly.

Josh Farrell: All right.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Okay, go ahead.

Josh Farrell: Next into my goodie bag, if you will. Let's see. Now, a couple of these. So I've added stuff you may not need, but these are some wet ones from, I think I got these for free, I'm pretty sure. Some tissues, obviously when it's smoky out, that has effects. And then this little first aid kit that I got for free from the disaster fair. Free stuff at the disaster fair, fun. They try and sell you on a bunch of stuff at disaster fairs, but it's still cool just to see the stuff. And oddly enough, Kirsten didn't want to go, Doug didn't want to go, Rowan was kind of on the fence. My friends that all said they were going to go because I signed them all up. All of them bailed on me. Doug had to go because he was staying with us. So Doug, Rowan and Kirsten and I went, and they actually had a really fun time, I have to say.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Just to be for context, Doug is my husband and Rowan is my 13 year old stepson who's pretty much the best person ever to go through damage, or a disaster, or travel with like, he's chill.

Josh Farrell: And he's got a fantastic laugh, and that'll get you through a lot.  So some other things that I have in the bag. Okay, this was a little bit of an investment, but it's called Lifestraw. And again, I don't work for lifestraw, I just did some research. This is a water filter. So you can actually, it's a straw that you can drink any water and it will filter out most of the contaminants of a river, a creek, whatever. Obviously, you hope in three days that you're not in that situation. I have a bunch of different water things in my bag. I made some photocopies, I don't know if you can see that, says how to treat water.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Oh, I can see that. Okay.

Josh Farrell: So this is just a reminder.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: What is the cost? I assume it's like you find that in REI.

Josh Farrell: Yeah. I think I got this, yeah, online, the lifesaver straw. And I feel like it was somewhere around 40 bucks. I got one for myself, one for Kirsten. Again, you can use it thousands of times, I think. And how often am I going to use it. So it is an investment, but it's something that's not gonna go old, I don't think so. I have that. I also have a little chemical thing to clear water out. And I have some chlorine in my bag too.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Your bunker.

Josh Farrell: My banker is my bag. So there's that. And then both my wife and I, my wife and I cycle a lot. I cycle a little bit. But these, we use when we're going on long rides and their electrolytes for water. So we ordered by the book, because my wife did the AIDS ride and she cycled almost 600 miles in a week. So they're using these a lot. So we took a couple of these that you add to the water, electrolytes, we threw them in our bag. We had them around, we threw them in our bag so you can take care of your dehydration needs if you're walking or stuck outside of your house for a while. It's a little backup thing, and it didn't cost much money and will get thrown in the bag. Next, geez. I want to offer some of this stuff.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Hey, Josh, would you mind for it if you could send us a list of what's in your go bag and we can post it with the video either as a document attached to it. And we'll do the official one what they tell you to do in any order and evacuation, and all that. But I'm sure that some people will be like, what was he talking about? I don't want them to have to-go back and rewind.

Josh Farrell: Right? That sounds great. Because I added a few things which some people might be like, that's weird, but my own thing. So again, from the free disaster fair matches strike kit, in case I have to light something on fire. I have two old padlocks. So one in Kirsten's bag, and one in my bag. I haven't seen that written anywhere, but it just makes sense that if we're rolling with our bags, but for some reason we had to put them in lockers or lock them up somewhere for any amount of time to make sure our stuff was safe. It made sense. I had them sitting around so I didn't really spend any extra money on them. I put them in the bag. I'm also not going to show you the backside of it because I taped the combination number on it.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: That was my next question, thank you.

Josh Farrell: We all forget our combination like, oh, what was that? No, put that on some painters tape so you remember and then you can tear it off. But yeah, you definitely want to use that over--

Jennifer Gray Thompson: --because it's doing the same.

Josh Farrell: Yeah. I don't hear you very well. Okay, so I just went through the padlock and the matchsticks that I had in this bag. Both Kirsten and I have whistles. Whistle is very important. Doesn't cost a lot. Honestly, like a dollar 62 or something. I think this one was free at the fair. Alright, it's pretty loud. This one's better. Yeah. Well, thank God, I have both of them. So whistles in case there's an emergency of course, in case you're lost. Any of that stuff that's in most recommendations that you have a whistle with you, so highly recommend

Jennifer Gray Thompson: You could also help with your neighbors if they didn't, if for some reason the Sheriff hasn't gotten there yet. With the high low sirens will be turned on for the state of California, but that's true. So we expect that people will be watching this video or in other areas, having a whistle or some sort of apparatus that can alert your neighbors might be more efficient than trying to run from house to house, to house to house.

Josh Farrell: Yeah. And also if you're trapped in your house, hopefully you're not. But if you are trapped in your house and an earthquake, certain situation, and you're to-go bags nearby, you do have a, hopefully, and you can't get out, you have a whistle. We hear those stories all the time. People trapped in a rubble for a few days, well, a whistles are gonna come in handy if you need them. Next thing that I had was just a little backup of ibuprofen. Hopefully, you're not injured for any reason. Also, Pepto-Bismol kind of tabs. Again, I'm not, hi, Pepto-Bismol. I'm not a spokesperson for Pepto-Bismol, and I do have allergies. So I have a backup of Claritin. And of course, very important, I think I also have a little inhaler for my allergy. But the smoke really, I mean, you can think like, Oh, it's just a little smoke. It's not a big deal. You really want to have this as a backup, especially now where we have fires every year. You just plan, but have allergy medication, and proper medication if you're sensitive to poor quality air, because--

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Well, and even if you think you're not sensitive to poor quality air, like I'm not very sensitive to it. But having been through enough disasters now and then visited enough fire areas, I always take an allergy pill. And I'm taking extreme precautions because it is so harmful to breathe in all those burn chemicals, right?

Josh Farrell: Yeah, and I took mine out. But I use a hydrops in there as well, because I took them Up North with me. But if you get some eye drops and you see a two pack, get a two pack. One's for you and one for your bag. Those would definitely come in handy. They came in handy a couple weeks ago when I was Up North, they've come in handy right now. We have really poor quality here in Los Angeles. Fire about 12 miles east of us threatening Mount Wilson. So our air quality's been poor for the whole week, so I've been using that. Let's see, what else do I have in my disaster fair. These are snap lights that last for 12 hours, they're green.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: I like that.

Josh Farrell: I have six of them in here, and six in Kirsten's bag. I don't know why, we may not need them. But if it's nighttime, you don't want to waste your battery power for your, you know, you want to always be conscious of your battery, and your chargers and all that. So these snap lights are great, they're not expensive. I'm pretty sure that I got these for free from a disaster fair, and they last for 12 hours. So even if we have a power outage at the house, it's not a disaster, for whatever reason. I'm able to light one of these and we don't have to worry about wasting all our batteries.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: So one of the things that I like about your approach to this, Josh, is you're starting thinking about it. Like, if the infrastructure of our lives is absent for say 72 hours, just at the very beginning, you would be able to deal with your own lighting, your own bunking, your own transportation. If necessary, your own water and all of those things. So I really am enjoying this, and thank you so much. Keep going.

Josh Farrell: Sure. Yeah. You only really need to think about three days. Like I said, some people are like, I'm prepared for a year. I'm just not that guy. I am prepared. We do have backups of food, especially with the quarantine. I feel pretty comfortable for a couple weeks here. But again, like I said, what I like is a to-go bag works as a to-go bag. But again, like these, if the power goes out here for two weeks because the transformer blew, or two days, there's a certain stuff in my to-go bag that will actually help us in our daily life. So you want to think of it that way, so it's not just a waste of money. Let's see, what else do I have?  Here we go. Oh, of course, we're all used to these. And we had a bunch of these because of our to-go bags, which kind of helped, gloves. They're hard to come by. I think more is coming out but we have extra gloves in both of our bags. And this again, just in case we're in a dire situation where we're helping people and you want to be safe that you're not getting anyone else's blood on you, or germs, or anything, they come in handy for the pandemic, but these are really good just to have in your bag, just in case.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Very smart.

Josh Farrell: Kirstens bag, so we kind of split the difference. I have the double A batteries in my bag, that's a lot little bunny. But again, I write the date that I buy these on it so I know, good batteries last a pretty long time. I'm still always checking my bag. But over the last two years, I have gone through one of these for other stuff and then replaced this inside my to-go bag. So again, if it's batteries that you have in your house and you need it, you have backup batteries for certain things in your house. Just have a bunch of them and put them in your bag. And just make sure, once you get down to just a few that you buy a new one. So I have double A's. And then in Kirsten, she has triple A's, and that covers most of our products that we have. Meaning, if I can't get solar on my radio, it is battery operational. The walkie talkies are battery operational. And then I have a charger that's battery operational. This is just because I had a bunch of extra ones, and I do find them extremely handy. Our zip ties.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Oh, smart.

Josh Farrell: They're inexpensive, I use them. I like to do construction. I like to build weird things. But zip ties come in handy in so many different ways. As you can see, the backpack that I have does have a bunch of hanging things on it.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: So where did you get that backpack?

Josh Farrell: I gotta say, I got a great deal because I was talking to the security guard that I knew, we were talking about to-go bags, and he's got two daughters. He's like, yeah, each daughter has a bag, and I have a bag. AI was like, like I mentioned earlier, a crappy backpack. And he's like, Oh, go to this, again, I don't work for it. I can't remember the name. They're on a Santa Clarita, but it's a police gear, a police gear website. And this bag was on sale for 45 bucks.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Wow.

Josh Farrell: And this is legit. I mean, this is better than any school backpack I've ever had. So if I was trekking or had to walk, I can hang a bunch of stuff off of this. If you don't have any of these clips, I forget their, harbinger or something like clips. Again, zip ties.But zip ties come in handy. In my bag, I have the zip ties. So zip tie. And I found this on sale, gorilla tape, at Home Depot like 299. So this and zip ties are in my bag. I don't have duplicates in here. And this is just in case, I don't know.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: You don't know what MacGyver moment--

Josh Farrell: Honestly, do I need to wrap a sheet up and put it over our head for so we don't get sunburned during the day, or I don't know if we're out stuck somewhere.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: I was trying to get one thing I might have that you don't have, that I did put aside when we had our three to-go bags. One for me, with my husband and for our son. I happened to be the owner of several hard hats, construction hard hats. So I put aside a hardhat for each of us along with safety goggles. Now, they're not as good as the goggles that you're using, but I knew that just in case that a hard hat is actually not a bad idea. A little bulky, but definitely something to think about might have been accepted. But I also work in disaster so I have to have this idea that I have to be prepared in a way that I may not have to be, but to enter into an area that is unsafe or unstable in some way that I'll need to hurry up.

Josh Farrell: I would wear a hard hat.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: I'm really jealous right now. And high vis vests, highly recommend that you just ordered a couple offline like you see on Caltrans workers, very helpful. It depends. It really depends on what you imagine your role might be in a disaster. But I can tell you from experience that we had probably seen, like during the 2017 fires, that every single day, I wear the same hive vis best that TPW transportation and public works have given to me earlier. But it also has pockets in it, and it was really helpful. I've saved to this day and I have two more, one for Rowan, one for Doug.

Josh Farrell: That's awesome. We should definitely do that. We have an, again, trying to incorporate certain things that are already in your life. So you're not out spending a bunch of money and trying to do this. Both my wife and I are cyclists. So bike lights that you can see from a long way away, but we also have a lot of reflective gear that we use. Especially me, I look like a minion on a bike. It's kind of ridiculous, but I don't want to get hit. I ride my bike around Downtown Los Angeles, and it's a long commute, but I have a lot of reflective wear. So that stuff is near our front door that we use for our bikes. But again, that's something that I will grab if I was running out of the house. That's a great reflective year. Awesome. One thing people don't think about, we're a little late to this party, sunblock. A lot of people forget about that. You don't know if you're going to be stuck outside of your house. Hopefully, again, just the pandemic now really changed what our emergency shelters are. When I was in Sonoma, I was able to because we got the house. I thought pretty well secured. And the first few days, we were able to take breaks. I went and volunteered at the Sonoma Valley High School and did a couple of shifts, helping people. And you really see in that situation, I'd never seen that. Hundreds of people on cots did not expect to be in a situation. You have people from, it doesn't matter if it crosses class, it crosses financials, you had low income people, you had people that just lost their $5 million house and they're sitting in a gym on a cot, just stunned. With the COVID situation, the pandemic that has had some effects on how many people can be in a given structure inside. And so a lot of people have been staying outside. Well, if you're stuck outside and you don't have shelter during the day, sunblock.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Just take a moment to update. I was in Oroville yesterday in Paradise. It was interesting because I was in Paradise during their 2018 fire. And that's where I met Charles Brooks, who then became the executive director, started ReBuild Paradise Foundation. So I spent the day with him yesterday. And because we're in the age of COVID, this isn't going to be forever. But understand that if you are under a fire warning, take your car out of the garage. First of all, put the stuff if you have the time that you want to have in your car and be ready to go with that. Because the chances are incredibly high that you will be told at a meeting point that you can go there and you will have to remain in your car. For people who don't have cars, there is a separate plan for those. For people who are unhoused, there's a separate plan for that as well. A lot of hotels are being used. But until for at least another year, our sheltering doesn't, it looks completely different. Like yesterday, we had trouble finding where the 2000 homes lost, where those people had actually gone to. And most of them probably went to stay after the first day or so with somebody that they know. But that's not, it's not something that you should count on, there will be a certified shelter near you.

Josh Farrell: Yeah, that's a great point. What they did in Sonoma, I thought was phenomenal watching that happen three years ago, and how many people were able to take care of it, and I mean Sonoma already is some of the best nonprofits in the state, if not the country. People really took care of the community. And anyone that was there that was phenomenal to see the amount of clothing and just all those things, you could go into the gym, and you could pick from certain things. And that was great. But really, you can't do that. You have to be able to be self-sufficient for three days. Back to the bag is a big thing. Pets, like I mentioned in the USB drive, we have our pets' information, but we just bought actually a pet leash for our cat, which we have, but we haven't used it because the cats gonna probably not going to like talk to us. The cat doesn't talk. It just meows. It's like cat talk. So the cat does do cat talk, but that's about it. The cat will be really mad once we put the leash on. But we do have a leash, our cat is fat so we had to get a dog leash. We got a big cat.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Yeah, I am going to interview a couple of people who do a disaster for animals with cats, because they're so saucy as it were. Also have a pillowcase because you may need to put that cat in a pillow case. It's just like not having the leash thing.

Josh Farrell: Absolutely. And we have a carrier, so that carrier is at our front door. I used to have it in the attic because we'd only take it out if we had to take her to the vet. But now, it's near the front door so it's accessible. And one thing, I actually learned this at a fire disaster and it's actually helped us with our cat in regards to getting the cat to go to the vet, we've left that carrier out for a few days before we know we're gonna grab her, and throw her in it, and take her to the vet and she'll start to sleep in it. So she gets more comfortable. So that's just something to think about. It's much easier now that we've had her sleep in it and then she kind of sees there's our lounge thing of getting her in it. She's still not happy, but we get her in it.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Sorry, I like that. I think it's smart.

Josh Farrell: Her name and Kirstens phone number and the little bell. She does not like this, but we have it in our to-go back because if we were in an emergency, we would put that on her in case she did escape. So she had something, and then some dry cat food. Let's see, and I have more of this stuff. After I just go through my bag, I'll read you my other, I have a little list of stuff to grab if you have time, but this gets us through the most. In your bag, you can grab your bag and bolt with the cat. And you're good for a few days.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: And one of the things that I want to link in the information or in the comments is I love the, if you have five hours to evacuate, here's what you do, hour five, hour four, hour three and all the way down to five minutes. If it was, I think being aware of those is really critical.

Josh Farrell: Yeah. And I think just having your plan and being mostly together, I mean, Kirsten and I can, obviously, we can be out of here in probably 15 minutes, if not less. I mean, we really could just grab our bags and go. But if we want to grab a few extra things like hard copies of our passports and stuff, those are all I have that, literally everything is in a little ziplock bag ready to go. So this just gets thrown in my bag. I just pulled out of my drawer, because that's where we keep. Don't break into my house.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Yeah, don't do that.

Josh Farrell: So that's pretty much in my bag. I do have some protective eyewear as well, I just noticed. So I have my smoke goggles, but I do have protective eyewear, which I think pretty positive. I got this for free at the disaster fair. And then the rest of the bag is my backup clothes. So long pants, long shirt. We live in Southern California. Probably don't need that most of the year. But again, sun exposure. You have to think about that. Maybe I'm walking for 10 miles, I don't know. So they're light clothes. I would probably pack different clothes if I was in a colder climate. But long sleeve pants, a couple pairs of underwear, a couple of pairs of socks just to get through like three days.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Josh, do you have shoes? I'm only mentioning it because people ran barefoot for their lives often in their underwear, with only having one phone between them. There are a lot of stories like that from our fires.

Josh Farrell: Old New Balance. But yeah, when you looked at these shoes were fine, they weren't working as gym shoes anymore. So when I bought the new shoes, I just switched out. I just switched out Kirsten's the last time I checked our bags. I took her newest, oldest shoes and put them in. She had like these converse in her bag for a while. And converse, they're stylish, they're not going to be the most supportive shoes if you get to walk for a good distance. So when she was done with her gym shoes and bought some different ones, I took her gym shoes and put them in there. So again, when you're checking every three months, you can switch stuff out. Actually, I'm pretty proud of my shirt that I have in here. I didn't really have a chance to wear it in public because people laughed at me. But this is my Rolling Thunder--

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Oh, my goodness, though. That's so Sturgis of you.


"Pick your emergency wear well." -Joshua Farrell


Josh Farrell: Pick your emergency wear well. I don't think anyone wants to mess with the Rolling Thunder. So our bag, you can pack whatever you want.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: You know what? I [inaudible] as we were sleeping out in our cars at, my sister had gone up to where the Donation Center and she found a Bill Murray t shirt, new. And I wore that for days, and it also made people smile but he's like, I flippin in love with Bill Murray. And so having him right there, I don't know.

Josh Farrell: Yeah, absolutely. One last thing that I have most stuff in our bags, because there's two of us, most of it's the same. There are two things that, a few things that I separate. So I mentioned this a little clorox bleach. You may not need to use this for disinfectant, you may need to use it to blow off water for drinking. So we have one of these in Kirsten's bag that's for both of us. And of course, these are two that are really hard to come by, and these have been in my bag for a couple years. We haven't used them during the pandemic, but some disinfectant wipes, I know they're hard to come by now but good to have in your bag for cleanliness purposes.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Well, for women, they also have to think about having feminine hygiene products and children who are of that age as well. It's not that there won't be any everywhere, but it needs to get you through 72 hours.


"You may have to leave quickly and you don't want your list of all the stuff you have to do. That is something that's easily taken care of in advance." -Joshua Farrell


Josh Farrell: Yes. And in Kirsten's bag, that is fully loaded. That's completely taken care of. So yeah, you do have to think about that in advance. And again, you may have to leave quickly and you don't want your list of all the stuff you have to do. That is something that's easily taken care of in advance, you just buy extra when you're at the store. Put it all together and have that in that to go back ready to go. You don't want to be searching for stuff. And like you said, make sure everybody's taken care of in that situation. A couple other shared things that we have. Obviously, these are pretty familiar now, but I don't necessarily know how important this is. But when the pandemic hit, I got one of these for our to go bags. It's obviously a temperature gun for ourselves. But also we don't know what situation we're gonna run into. So as things have progressed with what diagnosis are and CDC guidelines, I don't know if this is that useful, but it's good to have. 

Also in both of our bags, we have a map of Los Angeles. So my big thing is the cellphones because we had such a wishy washy cell phone service up in Sonoma, that was a big thing for me. It's like, you can't really count on your phone for communication, and for Map quest and all the stuff navigation, all that. So in our cars, because triple A, you can get them for free. So just go get your updated ones. I have Los Angeles County, I have California and I have the Bay Area. Because most likely, we'd be probably somewhere in the state. But those maps are in each of our cars. And we have Los Angeles maps in our bags, and that's just a backup. You may get diverted off a detour. People are running people through the two freeway up through Angeles crest. Or however, you're gonna evacuate, you can follow everybody, which you probably should. Especially if emergency personnel are telling you where to go. But this gives you an idea where the heck you are. If you're on highway 38, I didn't even know this existed. Easy to have, they're free, pick it up, throw it in your bag.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: And it's not a big and bulky item so it couldn't hurt. No matter what it's, I mean, worst case scenarios you have, a tiny sliver of your go back to know.


"Think in advance, not at the time that the situation is happening because it can be very confusing." -Joshua Farrell


Josh Farrell: Exactly. I mean, I've introduced a lot of stuff here. But again, like I said at the beginning, I was able to pick it up. You don't want your bag to be a 100 pound bag also. So I probably have more stuff than we really need for three days. You want to be aware. If you're getting grandma out of the house, you don't want grandma to have to wear a 50 pound pack because grandma ain't gonna like that. So think about that. too. Who's wearing the bag? How much stuff needs to be in it? Think about that in advance, not at the time that the situation is happening because it can be very confusing. Well as it--


"Don't make [the bag] too heavy. But remember that you can totally shed stuff as you go." -Joshua Farrell


Jennifer Gray Thompson: You can shed, just to be clear. You're right, you don't want to , if you have a four year old and you have a go bag, you want it to be appropriate for them. But for adults, you can shed extra batteries if you need to. So it's better to have them. Don't make it too heavy. But remember that you can totally shed stuff as you go.


"In an emergency, you're juggling a lot of things. So you want to make it so you don't have to think about anything." -Joshua Farrell


Josh Farrell: Absolutely. And then this is, again, something you probably don't need. I think somebody left these at our house for a party, there sternos. But I threw one of each of these in our bag, because just in case, I don't know. If we're gonna have to grab our canned food to get the heck out, to hunker down and we don't have access. I mean, I'm pretty prepared to have an extra propane tank on the property. So I can use the barbecue if we need to like to cook outside and don't have access to anything inside the house, I highly recommend that. But a little sternal thing I just threw in the bag. But again, you could probably do without this. That's kind of IT for the bag. On the bag though, on each of them. I made a little list of other things that we need. So this thing, which is from, I think this was a Rolling Stones thing, great concert that we went to a couple years ago that I took the Rolling Stones out and I put in our little to-go that's, again, in an emergency, you're juggling a lot of things, you could be, your mom's calling, certain for my mom won't be calling, but you're juggling a lot of different elements so you want to, in your preparation, make it so you don't have to really think about anything. And I feel like I can multitask pretty well. But lists are good. And this is on each of our bags. And what it is,  and some of it's redundant. But again, it doesn't matter. You just want to be able to be like, I got 10 minutes, I got to get all this. So if you can call this out to whomever in the house, and this is extra stuff that's not your bag. If you have time. So on ours, we have our two to-go backpacks. We have two earthquake emergency bags, the little red ones. We have those downstairs, and everyone should have those, period.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: What are those?

Josh Farrell: What are they? I forget who we bought them from, but we got them online, and I haven't even opened it because you're not supposed to open it till you use it. But basically, each of them is good for two people for three days. Yep, they have rations, I already have like a first aid kit and stuff. But it's just an extra one that you would have in your to-go bag, and you would just grab that. And that's basically your food and your water for three days. So there's no really food and water. And these are some water, cleaning things and the straw life straw. But we do have the two tiny red packs. Disaster fair, we got them for free. And it's basically good for two people for three days, for 72 hours. So that's on here. So we grab our two to-go backpacks to earthquake emergency packs, personal information, which is all the stuff that I have on the zip drive. I actually have a hard copy of, if I have time, I'm grabbing that as well. The zip drives a backup. Extra masks if you have them, computers, candles, small chargers,. I make sure our chargers are always charged. My wife doesn't necessarily do that, but you only need one of us to do it. So I do it. I like to have everything charged near the front door when we need them for going out for the day or whatever. But it's always charged. I charge everything, but I keep it all in one location. I know exactly where it is. So grab that stuff. I have a big orange charger here and a solar panel charger. 

Also on my, I'm not a spokesperson for Webby Top, but this is a portable charger. This has a solar panel that goes with it that I have as well. Again, if I need to exit the house, I'm just running out the house with my backpack, my chargers and running. But if I have time, or if we're hunkered down here, this is great, I can charge our computers on here. It's strong enough to run a fan, it's not going to take care of the refrigerator that's why I have a generator. And that's a whole different thing. But I have a generator and a generator checklist in case we're hunkering down on property, I can run the refrigerators and everything in a big generator. But this works. There are small little portable solar panels that go with it.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Those are really useful no matter what because we do have long term power, public safety power shut offs across the state. So ours last year, we had six of them, the longest last six days. And at that point, I bought essentially a giant Jackery because I was working. I was running my laptop off my car, and with a long construction cord into our living room all night long, which meant that I was also making the air worse because I had my car on, which is not what you're supposed to be doing that I had to run my laptop and my cell phone off of something.

Josh Farrell: Yeah. And this is what they, you know, Puerto Rico down south, the hurricanes, everyone has one of these. They're not incredibly expensive. If you got extra money, go for it. But super handy. Again, even, like works great for a disaster, but just if the power goes out for three days or whatever, you have a backup. So this is pretty great.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: I would say that's a priority.

Josh Farrell: Yes.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: There were just a couple of we're gonna wrap this up here. Just a couple of things, like people to know, I think that one of the reasons I want to have you on is I do want to normalize this idea of being self prepared and having it not be that you are building a bunker, wants to build a bunker, whatever, it's fine, but to normalize, prepare a little more than your average.

Josh Farrell: I mean, again, I think, like I mentioned about doing construction, you don't have to go out and buy all. I mean, you could if you got the money, but a lot of these things you can find use today, you can put together in your bag. Everyone should have a bag. And I tell you the most honest thing is when this pandemic kind of took hold and we were like, oh, gosh, we got to hunker down, and people are running around trying to get certain things. It was a little chaotic at the beginning of this whole pandemic. I already had to-go bags. These were already set for a whole different type of emergency. We slept pretty well because I was like, we're kind of like, already three quarters of the way prepared. Yeah, we got to shift a few things, but it's definitely just gonna give you peace of mind. And again, like they say, if the planes are going down, you put your mask on and then you help somebody else. At least from my situation, I know there's going to be many more people, there's a lot of older elderly people on our street and stuff, they're going to need help. So the faster I'm prepared, it's my ease of mind, then I can go out and can assist other people.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: And the way that we're close to is, I'll say this, we don't wish a disaster upon anyone. Having been through our disaster, it's traumatizing. It's very traumatizing. And if there are ways, anything you can do just to lower the anxiety, lower the level of trauma, and again, put yourself in a position where you might be able to help your neighbor or at your local shelter out of this pandemic. And it will make a huge difference then, because one thing about disaster is it brings everything down to the very visceral level. It's terrifying as it is on a visceral level. It is also the very best of humankind on a visceral level, and you can really improve your situation by just a few simple steps to be ready to go when it's time to go.


"Be prepared so you can help, because everyone needs everybody in this situation." -Joshua Farrell


Josh Farrell: Absolutely. And I think you're right. It's good to be prepared. But one of the biggest things that I saw come out of that disaster, and I still think I have PTSD from it, especially when it comes to smoking things was how the community reacted. And I'm not surprised with Sonoma, I can go to a phenomenal community and have a great history of people taking care of people. But watching how people came together to take care of each other was totally phenomenal. I don't wish disaster amongst on anyone, any of that. But opportunity comes up, and people really stepped up to take care of people for a long period of time. Meals, shelter, just reaching out and taking care of people. So you do see the best in people. That's why I think it's really important. Be prepared so then you can help, because everyone needs everybody in the situation. It's not just, maybe that's why I don't have a bunker. It's not just about me, because you really need the group.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Actually, that's a perfect note to leave it on. And thank you so much.

Josh Farrell: Well, thanks for having me. I think ReBuild North Bay Foundation is fantastic and doing a great job about getting information out to people. So thanks for having me.

Jennifer Gray Thompson: Thanks so much, Josh.

Josh Farrell: Take care. Thank you.


"Climate change is real and we are all climate refugees in some ways when a disaster has occurred." -Jennifer Thompson


Jennifer Gray Thompson: All right. Well, we've come to the end of our two part series with Josh Farrell, How To Disaster, recover, rebuild, reimagine and prepare. And that is something really important to note. And something I noted in the first part of this series is that we are sitting here, it is the end of February and Texas is currently under a deep freeze. Many people who never expected to be huddling together in a deep freeze, very cold without heat, without power are currently suffering. Part of our goal of this podcast is to reduce the suffering of people, and to draw attention to the fact that climate change is real. And we are all climate refugees in some ways when we find ourselves at that place where weather has sort of taken over our lives and a disaster has occurred, and you cannot turn to the government. I really hope that you take some of the lessons here that Josh has put forward, and you're able to implement them in your own life. Again, it's not just about preparing your own family. It's also about how can I be prepared so I can help my neighbor. Remember that a lot of elderly people in your neighborhood may not be prepared, and they may need a little bit of your food, and a little bit of your kindness, and a little bit of your assistance. 

Recently for Christmas, I asked my husband for a full face gas mask, which sounds really something kind of dark. But I didn't want it for a dark reason. I wanted it so that when we have our next wildfire or whatever else comes, I am able to be of service that I can breathe, but also so that people can see my face so that they can see that, they could see my eyes, they could see what I was saying and they could hear me, but I can also breathe clean air. I wasn't just thinking about myself or my family. I was also thinking how can I be of service to people who might need me. And I as a citizen have a responsibility towards making sure that I'm there for my community. And that's how I see this podcast series with Josh, as well. So I really want to thank Josh for spending this time with us. I really want to thank you for also taking time out of your day and out of your busy life to spend time with How To Disaster. Thank you.