Where and how to start your journey towards a more prepared house hold Part 3
I recommended Knowledge as one of the first things you should try and gain in part 1, so here in part 3 we will continue to dig into some details on Items or Stuff I believe is needed for emergency preparations to keep yourself and family safe and secure.
- Water that’s clean and drinkable
- Shelter, could be your home, a tent, a camper or proper clothing for your area.
- Food, canned goods, freezer stocked up, garden growing or freeze dried.
- Energy, be it heat to cook your food or warm your shelter or electricity for lights & radios.
- Security / Self Defense
- Reliable transportation
- Low or No Debt
- Trade Currency, i.e. cash (or Barter items), to acquire the things you need from others.
First let’s cover some ideas for your consideration on shelter preparation and ways to assess you options for weather related threats. Most people reading this live in a house, apartment or a structure of some sort and it is usually considered your first shelter option in most cases. Those of you that live in a campers or boats should have run-a-way options in mind and manufactured home residents probable should run away too.
Depending on the type of threat you are anticipating, (click here to read my earlier post on local area threat assessment), there should be a family plan in place of whether you will stay or go. Time to go examples would be if your home is in an area that the possibility of forest fires and one is headed your way or if you live on a coast line and a hurricane is predicted to visit your general area then you’ve got to have a bug out plan. Houses and things can be replaced, people not so much, and that’s why homeowner’s or renter’s insurance is an important to have.
So the other scenario you are going to shelter in place and here are some things to think about.
If you lose power what is your plan for a short term outage, say 24 hours. Start with a blackout kit and as funds allow consider a small inverter and a deep cycle battery then maybe a small generator. What about a longer term of several weeks, do you have enough fuel, food and water stored?
What if a tree limb is blown down on your driveway or worse yet falls on your house. Do you have a chain saw, ladder, fuel and expertise to remove some or all of it and affect temporary repairs with some blue tarps or plastic sheeting? Same question with a window being broken out, what do you have on hand to make temporary repairs?
If your home has a basement, is it prone to flooding? Do you have a sump pump of sorts and a way to power it? Would sand bags be an option to prevent some flooding?
What about your stored food and water, is it out of harm’s way and stored in multiple locations in your house? No food should be stored on a ground level floor; shelves are the better option both for security and accessibility.
Keep some old blankets or quilts purchased from goodwill along with some duct tape to wrap your freezer and refrigerator with to extend the time food stored in will remain cold / frozen until power comes back on.
Do you have a way to boil water and cook if there is no electricity or natural gas service? We rely on a charcoal and a propane barbecue pits as well as two different Coleman camping style stoves for our preps.
How many fire extinguishers do you have in your house, what are their locations and does each family member know where they are and how to safely and correctly use them? Small, 1 to 5 pound ABC rated ones are the best to have on hand and will work on all types of fires.
Consider how are you equipped to deal with minor injuries? Do you have some basic first aid supplies and knowledge on using them? If not check with your local Red Cross for sometimes free or at least low cost basic first aid courses.
Do you have some preparations for sanitation needs for your family if the well or city water is not available? Some of your stored water is needed in this situation and sanitary preparations for rest room needs should be planned for as well. (For some ideas on this topic click here).
Depending where you live what seasonal weather conditions should you plan for? How cold does it get where you live and what options do you have for off the grid heating? Ours is a Buck Stove insert for our fireplace and two cords of seasoned wood stored up. As a minimum at least have quality sleeping bags for every family member rated to your locations coldest expected temperature. If moving some furniture around is an option, you can pitch a tent inside your living area for everyone to sleep in. It’s a smaller space to maintain shared body heat with your family or friends. If it works for explorers in the artic Polar Regions it will work for you. Just remember to have a window open slightly for fresh air and so carbon monoxide from a non electric heat source can get out.
Proper seasonal clothing is also a form of shelter. If you have to be outside dealing with shoveling snow, removing debris or making repairs, your clothing matters. Breathable layers and preferably no cotton fabrics. Cotton holds moisture, dries slowly and you do not want that in cold weather, it can cause hypothermia. Don’t forget the proper shoes and socks for ankle support and protection from the elements.
Extreme heat is a concern for people in the southwestern United States as well as other parts of the country during summer time. Our ancestors survived for thousands of years without Air Conditioning. In fact air conditioning was not invented and commonly available to individual home owners until around 1902, less than a couple of generations. That being said a few inexpensive box fans would make sleeping a little more tolerable if power is available.
Outdoor shelter is covered by having the basic camping gear for your family, adequate tent and sleeping bags for your region. A camper of some type is a nice viable option too if you have the funds and storage location available.
That’s shelter in a nutshell, as always comment below if you have additional ideas or tips to share.