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As some of you may recall, late last year I had a number of customer service issues with personal orders I placed with Emergency Essentials.  After many attempts to resolve these issues, I felt I could no longer endorse them even though I felt they had a robust product line filled with terrific products at a good price point.

I will not bore you with the details other than to say that after a number of heartfelt conversations with their management team, I came away feeling that Emergency Essentials was committed to improving their customer service infrastructure so that my experience would not happen again, to me or to anyone else.

This is not something that I made a big deal about although more that a few of you noticed their ads started to appear again on the site. Then, in a recent giveaway, the question was posed:

“I see Emergency Essentials is back as one of your ads. I assume they addressed your concerns/issues?”

The answer, in a word, is yes.

I was so impressed with the actions taken to improve customer service (and yes, I “tested” them to ensure they worked), that I asked Sally  Clarke, their Director of Operations, to speak openly about some of these changes.

Interview with Emergency Essentials | Backdoor Survival

An Interview with Emergency Essentials

Thank you, Sally, for agreeing to speak with me by phone and for answering some questions for the readers of Backdoor Survival.  I recognize that Emergency Essentials is undergoing some changes relative to its online and customer service policies and that you are the senior manager that will be driving many of these changes.

Can you tell us little about who you are and what you do in your position as Director of Operations?

My background is in operations with a focus on process management.  As Director of Operations, we are looking at processes in our warehouse, customer service, purchasing and HR functions to stream line what we are doing and aligning all of our processes with a central focus…and that is to serve the customer which means getting them their order quickly and accurately.

As you know, I personally hit some rough spots in terms of customer service late in 2015. This included phone calls and emails that were ignored, incorrect fulfillment of orders, and the failure to recognize gift cards used for online payments (resulting in unauthorized credit card charges).  What steps has Emergency Essentials taken to mitigate these problems going forward?

We have invested in a new system that is designed to help us manage these tasks so we can achieve the improvements in our supply chain that will have a direct result on our focus to serve the customer better.

We are still implementing this system now and we very much appreciate your patience and feedback as we move forward in making these much needed changes.

What is the best way for a customer to contact Emergency Essentials with an order related question?

Email or calling in are the best ways to ask your order related questions.  We are working on getting more emails with order status information pushed to our customers as well to help give them visibility to what is going on with their orders.

Related to that, how long should it take to get a response or resolution to order-related issues?

Ideally, we’d like our customers to not have to wait more than 30 mins to get a resolution on an order.  This is a goal we are continuing to work towards.

Tell us about growth plans for the company.  What new products can we expect to see launched in the coming year?

I’ll defer to our awesome marketing team on the growth plans and launches for new products this year.  My main focus right now is firming up our foundation so that whatever we do, we have the processes in place to serve our customers better.

Gaye’s note:  for competitive reasons, the Marketing Manager would not elaborate on future plans. On the other hand, I have watched the product line grow these past few months and have seen the number of sale items escalate.  It is definitely worth it to wait for a sale on high-ticket items.

And finally, as you know, Backdoor Survival readers come to this website because they want to learn self-sufficiency so they can take care of themselves and their families in the event of a disaster or what I like to call, a disruptive event.  Do you personally prepare and if so, what are you personally preparing for?

That’s a great question and I’d glad you asked.  I do personally prepare by stocking up on food storage (especially our pouched food) and on anything that will allow me to still use my electronic devices so I can still communicate and get information in the event of a disaster.  I’m nuts about solar and all the devices that have been created to harness the sun to do these things.

Thanks for the questions Gaye!  I look forward to hearing from you again soon.

The Timing Is Right for a Huge Sale

Without being too self-serving, I share this with you today so that I can also make you aware of the the Emergency Essentials Annual Warehouse Sale from May 20-23rd.  This is one of their biggest sales of the year with discounts up to 88%.

For example, a box of 20 N95 masks is only $5.00 and those clear globes for those 115 hour candles that I love so much are just $1.49.  That said, the real bargains are in freeze-dried fruits such as raspberries ($14.99), as well as blueberries and peaches.  I could go on but you get the drift.

Whether it is gear or food, this is a sale you will want to pay attention to.

The Final Word

So there you have it.  In March, I started placing regular orders, especially for my favorite Mountain House products and also for some new gear.  My latest purchase is this Goal Zero rechargeable lantern.  It can be charged by solar, USB, or by a hand crank.  What’s not to love about it?

Goal Zero Lantern

Whether you choose to make a purchase from Emergency Essentials or not, please know that I do try to watch your back by placing regular orders myself.  This is the only way I can assess not only the quality of their products, but intangibles such as fulfillment and customer service.

From what I can tell, Emergency Essentials is sincerely apologetic for their service problems late last year and have taken steps and applied resources to solving the problem.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
Gaye

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Bargain Bin:  Let us make today all about water!

Ultimate 55 Gallon Water Barrel Combo:  As of this writing, $109.95 which is a great deal. Everyone should have at least one.  Remember, if storing in your garage or on pavers, place the filled barrel on a wooden platform and not directly on the concrete.

No Rinse Cleansing & Deodorizing Bathing Wipes:  One wipe is more than enough for a complete “bath”.  These are a good backup when traditional showers are not available such as the week or weeks following a disaster.  Also good for the sick room as well as camping, boating, hiking and such.  Here is my review.

Fluidmaster 400CR Toilet Fill Valve and Flapper Repair Kit:  Speaking of water, this is one of those items you don’t think of stockpiling but believe me, we now have a couple in reserve for emergency purposes.  Why fuss with adjusting a tank valve when you can replace the whole thing for less than $12 and 10 minutes of your time?

AquaPod:   Have you considered storing water in your bathtub?  The AquaPod is a bladder that you can use in your bathtub to store water if you know that a storm, flood, or hurricane is brewing. (I call these “disruptive events”.)

LifeStraw Personal Water FilterThe Amazon Top Ten Most Wanted Survival and Outdoor Items Backdoor Survival:  The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultra light personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out. It weighs only 2oz.  making it perfect for the prepper. For more information, see my LifeStraw review.

Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets: Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets make questionable water bacteriologically suitable to drink. Easy to use and the water is ready to drink in 30 minutes. One 50 tablet bottle treats 25 quarts of water.

NALGENE BPA-Free Water Bottle:  These $8 water bottles have served me well.  I fill them up with water from my Royal Berkey and keep one bedside, one at my desk and another in the bathroom.  Keep in mind that price-wise, some colors will be more expensive so if color does not matter, go with the cheapest (currently the green version).

DryTec Calcium Hypochlorite, 1-Pound:  This is 68% Calcium Hypochlorite.  As of this writing, the price is under $10 with free shipping.  I purchased Ultima Pool ShockThe Sunday Survival Buzz #128 Backdoor Survival which is 73% Calcium Hypochlorite.  For more information, read How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water.

Sawyer Products Mini Water Filtration System:  Fans of the Sawyer water filtration systems are legend.

Black Berkey Primer Gizmo – Less than $20:  Okay, that is my name for it.  This device makes back-flushing a Black Berkey Filter a cinch. Following a disaster, when you are depending on your filters for clean water, you may not have running water.  If you have a Berkey, you are going to want one of these inexpensive devices.  For more information, see The Survival Buzz #160: Maintaining Black Berkey Filters.

The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide:  You can survive up to three weeks without food, but only three days without water. When catastrophe strikes, having enough water can spell the difference between life and death. This book offers a step-by-step plan with straightforward information you can easily follow.  Written by my friend Daisy Luther, I recommended the book for everyone’s survival library!

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Which are the best oils for your survival kit?  This article describes my top picks.

9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival

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