Showing posts with label preparedness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label preparedness. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Stuck In Your Vehicle During A Snowstorm? 13 Things You Need To Do To Survive!


During a snowstorm, it is possible that you will be in the ditch or stuck on the road. You might hit an icy patch and slide into the ditch. You might hit a drift in the road and become stuck. You might have had some confidence you could make it home, but the snow is too high and you are stranded on the road. 

You could be leaving work and hear that the roads will be closed at 5:00 p.m. The snow is piling up and you are already hearing the roads are bad. The wind started blowing and the snow is sticking to the roads now. The roads are slick and snow plows are trying to keep up, but the snow is coming down too fast. The road departments are going to pull the plows off the road pretty soon. 

You decide to try to get home. You have surely driven in worse weather before. You know you need to go slow and watch out for the other drivers. You get a few miles out of town and notice some cars in the ditch. You think they must have been going too fast. You keep the speed down, but you are starting to have problems seeing the road. All of a sudden, you slide around on the road and start spinning in circles. You find yourself in the ditch very quickly. 

Now what do you do? 

1. Call for help. You should always make sure your cell phone is charged and this is one of the reasons why. If your insurance has roadside assistance, call them and see if you can be towed. You can call 911. You can call your favorite tow truck company. You can do a Google search quickly for local towing companies. You can turn on your location setting for your phone to find the closest towing companies and any other help you might need. 

2. Call a family member or friend. You should let someone know you are in the ditch. When you are going somewhere in the winter with potential snow and ice forecasted, you should always let someone know where you are going and when you should be expected or at home. If you end up in the ditch or stuck on the road, please let someone know. They may worry about you, but someone will know that you are still alive and awaiting help.

3. Keep an eye on the gas tank. This is winter and your gas tank should always be above half full, but sometimes that doesn't happen. You should make sure you have enough gas to keep the car running and stay warm. 

4. Run the car at intervals to stay warm. You should run the car at 15 minute intervals to stay warm. Always crack a window when running the car to avoid any carbon monoxide poisoning due to a plugged or blocked exhaust on the car. 

5. Do not leave the car unless help has arrived or is just across the road. Do not try to get help on your own unless you are very close (within 200 feet) to a house or farm place. You can easily get stranded in the snow if the snow is too high or you are on unfamiliar ground, risking hypothermia and frostbite. If you are in danger, use your best common sense. Leaving the car could put you at risk also.

6. Use your hazard lights on your car to signal for help. You should keep some roadside flares in your car to signal for help also. 

7. Do not use your cell phone more than you need to. Unless you can keep charging your phone in your car without wearing down your battery or carry a portable charger, keep the phone use limited. You want to be able to keep in touch with loved ones and help. Keep some word search puzzle books and reading material in the car with you to keep you entertained and off your phone.

8. Stay warm. Do what you can to stay warm while waiting for help. Use a blanket, keep a hat on your head, gloves on your hands, and use hand warmers and foot warmers to stay warm. Run the heat on the car for 15 minutes on/15 minutes off to stay warm. Keep boots in the vehicle if you are not already wearing them to keep your feet warmer.

9. Keep hydrated. When you leave home, you should have a full water bottle with you. Keep sipping on the water and stay hydrated. Being dehydrated can lead to bad decision making, health issues, and other problems which you can not afford to have in a situation like this. 

10. While you may only be stranded for 1-2 hours, plan on being stranded for longer. Tow bans can and do occur when the weather is bad enough and travel is not advised. If you are traveling and know the roads are closed, find a place to stay in town or stay at home/work. If you are traveling on closed roads, they will not come for you until the next morning or at their convenience. You could be stranded for several hours even with no tow bans. If you do decide to travel in bad weather, fill your tank with gas, buy some bottles of water, and grab some snacks. You may need them further on down the road. 

11. Use your vehicle emergency kit if you need to. You may need all those things or you may not need anything, but please use it. 

12. Stay aware and be ready to defend yourself. While most people are well-meaning and want to help you, there are people who just like to prey on the helpless. While you are in a situation needing help, you are not helpless. Be ready to defend yourself against those who would do you harm and be weary of anyone you do not know. Your life could depend on it. 

13. Do not try to dig yourself out or get yourself out of the ditch. Even with 4x4 or all-wheel drive, you may end up getting yourself even more stuck. Snow is pretty soft and you can sink in the ditch pretty far trying to get yourself out. If you get stuck on a drift, you may be able to back off of it. However, most people are "hung up" on the drift because they lack the tire traction to get back off the drift. If you are stuck in snow too high, you will need to wait for the snow plow to go by and still might need a tow truck to pull you out. Either way, wait for help and have them help you get out instead of getting more stuck. 

These are the main things you need to do to survive being stranded in your vehicle during a storm. Your top priorities to stay alive are to stay safe, warm, dry, and hydrated. You don't know how long you will be stranded and you need to be ready for anything. As always, use your best judgment and common sense to stay alive!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in November


November is here already. Actually we are already half way into the month because time just flew by! Harvest is just about over with. The gardens are done unless you have cold frames. Everything outside is tucked away, battened down, or cleaned up. November is the month to start focusing on the inside things.

Prepping is a lot of little things that add up to big things. You need to work on the inside of the house as well as the outside of the house. Late fall and winter is a great time to get started on the indoor prepping tasks as well as working on some skills.

Five Prepping Things to Accomplish in November:


1. Practice walking around your house in the dark. While this may not seem important, it really is. When the power goes out, you will need to be able to get around in the dark. If you think someone is in your home, you will need the familiarity and the darkness of your home for your advantage.

2. Stock up on baking supplies. November and December is a good time to get your baking supplies stockpile built up. Brown sugar, sugar, flour, cake mixes, frosting, and chocolate chips are all at their best prices right now. Keep your eye out for the loss leaders on the front pages of your grocery advertisements and get stocked up.

3. Get the inside of your house ready for winter. Put plastic on the inside of the windows. Get extra blankets and quilts on the beds. Put 100% cotton or flannel sheets on the beds to make them warmer. Have your supplies ready to go and tested in case of power outages, blizzards, and ice storms.

4. Time to get your prepper reading started. I know some of you read all year round, but some people really like to get their reading done over the winter. I know I do because I am too tired to read much over the summer. Whether you decide to read fiction or nonfiction, pick up some good books to get your knowledge level raised a little more. The more you know, the more you can do. Some books I recommend are:

Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide by Jim Cobb
The Prepper's Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster by Bernie Carr
Prepper Supplies Checklist: A Simple Guide to Emergency Preparedness by Nettie David
Prepper's Total Grid Failure Handbook by Alan and Arlene Fiebig

5. Make certain everyone has good, warm winter clothing. I know how it is. Kids grow fast. Gloves and hats disappear. A boot has a hole in it. Socks aren't warm enough or thick enough. Make sure everyone's winter needs are covered and their items are in good repair. Add some more sweaters and sweatshirts to the list too to keep everyone warm and cozy without having to turn up the thermostat!


Also check out:
Five Prepping Things to Accomplish in October
Five Prepping Things to Accomplish in September
Five Prepping Things to Accomplish in August

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, November 10, 2017

What happens when it is all gone tomorrow?


In your lifetime, something will probably happen to you that will make you wonder what you are going to do next. You could lose your job. You could be in a car accident and not be able to work or pay bills. You could have a tornado or hurricane wipe out your home and everything you have worked for. You could get divorced and be left with nothing. A loved one could be taken from you and you have to figure out life without them.

So much can happen that begs me to think about this. I have been through at least two of those scenarios. I have had to ask myself "What happens when it is all gone tomorrow?"

The worst thing about this question and these scenarios is that you have very little to no warning. You rarely get to pick when something bad and life-changing gets to happen to you. Very few people know they have cancer before they are diagnosed. Many people have shown up to work only to find the doors locked and find out they are unemployed. The weather service is pretty accurate, but you may only have days to a week to find out how devastating a storm can be. Bad things will happen that will completely change your life tomorrow.

We can prepare for just about anything. We can have supplies built up, plans in place, emergency funds and savings on hand, and another place to go to. We can take care of ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. We can draw up wills and living trusts to take care of our loved ones. We have insurance for health, vehicles, and life to take care of any contingencies. By our very natures, we like to plan ahead to be prepared for any event that could alter our lives.

But we can't prepare for everything. Something may happen that will wipe away everything we have worked, prepared for, and lived for. In all seriousness, that is the most devastating thing to have to go through. You don't know where to start or how to start building your life again. You don't know where to go. You don't know what the next step is. You are in shock. Disbelief and fear will take over.

You have to move on. That will be tough to do for a lot of people, but you have to. There are things you can do, however, to help you process this major life change and start to create a new life for you.

1. It will take some time to process what happened. Your mind will need time to process, recover, and make a plan. Give yourself that time, but don't dwell on the negative for too long. You probably have other people relying on you and you need to get on with things for their sake.

2. While these are bad circumstances, you need to stay positive and hope for the best while being realistic. You probably have others depending on you to take care of them and they need your best. Being bitter and angry will not serve you in any way and it will not make the circumstances any better.

3. Take care of the basics. If you are a prepper or survivalist, you know you need shelter, water, and food first and foremost if you are in this kind of situation. You need to find shelter, water, and food to stay alive. Next you need to stay warm if you are in that kind of climate. You need to take care of the basics so those depending on you will be taken care of and you will feel better too.

4. Take the next step. When your mind is under stress, you may not know what to do next. You will feel numb. Write down everything you need to do and what needs to be taken care of. Write down even the smallest things to do that you think you will remember. You are under stress so you may not remember those things. Pick one thing on that list and do that thing.

5. Prioritize what you need to do. What is the most important thing that needs to get done? If you have the basics covered, you need to pick the next thing to get done. Whether it is making legal or medical decisions, applying for unemployment benefits, shutting off services to save money, finding another job, calling insurance, or finding a new home, you need to get those things done. Figure out what is most important and do it.

6. Accept the kindness of others. There are people who will want to help you if they know you are in need. Please accept their help whether it is a place to stay, a meal, a shoulder to cry on, good advice, or a voice of reason. Sometimes the price of the help can be high so you need to decide that, but do not turn down help if you can use it. The help offered will make the burden lighter.

7. Do not make any "snap" decisions unless it is an emergency. In times like this, snap decisions can lead to regret. You may be under stress, but you need to use reason and common sense to make the next decision. You have yourself to consider as well as probably family to consider. If you are struggling to make a decision, ask your family and friends for their advice and knowledge. However, because I believe in this, do not ignore your gut reaction. If you know, deep down, what you should do and you know that is not from paranoia or fear, go with your gut and do it.

8. Seek information and good advice. As I said in #7, you should make informed decisions. You are in a situation that may seem like life or death or you may not have a lot of options, but you need to be informed. What are your options? What is the best treatment? What can I do to support my family? Where would be the best place to move to? These are all questions (and there are definitely more) that deserve well-researched, well-informed answers.

9. Don't be afraid of other people and their reactions. You have to do what is best for you and your family. You may make people sad or angry about your decisions and/or your plan of action. They may try to make you feel guilty or feel stupid about the decisions you make. Don't let these people have that power. It is one thing to feel like you need to take care of your parents (or something similar), but it is another thing if people make you feel like you can't leave or you have to accept your circumstances. You have to take care of you and make the best decisions for you and your family.

These ideas and things to do are not a complete plan. These are things you can do to start moving on with your life when it seems like hope is lost and/or you have lost everything. Taking the next step and moving on with your life may seem like the hardest thing to do, but for your sake you have to do it.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Coming To My House When SHTF Happens? We Need To Talk...


We occasionally have people say that they are coming to my house when stuff hits the fan. While that may sound like a good idea, we may have different ideas about what a good idea is.

When people tell us are coming to our place, I pause a bit. Some people get a quick "sure" and some people just get a laugh. If you get a laugh, we more than likely don't want you to come here. We have our reasons. Most people are not capable of working hard or doing what they are told. Some people crack under pressure instead of just getting things done. We have family and close friends to think about first.

If you are planning to come here and you think we might be okay with that, you need to keep reading. We have criteria for you staying here. We will make exceptions for the elderly and disabled, but usually they want to be more of a help than able bodied people do.

1. Be prepared to work. If SHTF does happen, life will not be easier for you or me. The animals will still need to be tended and possibly even more food will need to be grown for them. The already good-sized garden will need to be bigger and will still need to be tended and weeded. Depending on the circumstances, there will be a lot of work to do inside and outside the house. You will be expected to contribute and work for your supper just like the rest of us.

2. Please bring your own living quarters. If you have a camper that can be heated, you will need to bring it. Have a generator? Bring that too. We have limited space and I have a feeling you will be happier with your own space. Now would be a good time to make sure you can live long term in your camper. I would also make sure you can survive in your camper without electricity too.

3. Bring your food storage with you. In your mind, I may have a lot of food storage. In my mind, I will never have enough. If you are planning to come here, you better pack all the food you can safely bring in your vehicle and your camper. I don't care if it is perishable or not because you will need all the food you can bring. This food is for your benefit so bring it. With that line of thought, bring your portable water too. You will also probably need that too.

4. You will be coming to OUR place. While I regularly seek out other's opinions and wisdom, I (we) will be calling most of the shots. This is OUR place and I (we) will ask for the respect that we deserve. You are coming here and you will be here because of my permission. Don't like it? Too bad.

5. If you have skills, you will be using them. I believe in having people use their talents in the best way possible. I also believe in learning new skills and you will be teaching other people your skills. Either way, your skills will be a benefit to the group.

6. You might not be welcome. We might turn you away. I don't do other people's drama very well. I have no desire to live in commune like conditions. I have family and close friends to think about first. I don't have that much room. You get it.

Trust me, I understand desperation and I understand having no other place to go. Life throws curve balls like that sometimes. However, if you aren't planning ahead and/or do not have a plan in place about where to go if stuff does hit the fan, I might not feel that bad for you.

7. If you are bringing your kids, they need to understand that they will be contributors too. Kids as young as 3 can be put to work doing simple tasks. Start training them now to do simple things. Also, your teenagers' attitudes will not be welcomed. Start teaching them now to do what they are told. I understand that mistakes might be made and sometimes teenagers do not understand time tables, but they will be doing what they are told to do.

8. A good attitude will go a long ways for you to being able to stay here. We are not work all the time people, but we are not play all the time people either. I know some tasks will not be what you want to do, but I do things all the time I don't want to do. That doesn't mean I get to be grumpy about that. I also understand that if you are coming here, something traumatic has happened and you might not be a good mindset. However, you are responsible for your attitude, your emotions, and your reactions. I will only put up with a bad attitude for so long...

These may seem pretty harsh, but that is the way it is. We are preparing for worse case scenarios and can't afford to think that something might not be as bad as it could be. I know more people means more work, more food, and more planning. I can't really afford to be relaxed about preparing for the worse case or for more people.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

What This Prepper Buys: The $36 Dollar Tree Spree

Dollar Tree is possibly one of my favorite places to purchase prepping supplies for stockpiling. Everything's a dollar or less and we usually find good generic replacements for high dollar goods. While cheap goods is not always a good thing for prepping, sometimes it is a good way to build up your stockpile. If you are conscious about what you are buying and try it out before SHTF happens, you will know if it is a good deal or not.



Everything shown in the picture was $1 each. I spent more than $36 on this trip, but some of the items were for everyday use. I didn't buy anything spectacular. I have a decent basic stockpile and I am adding to it. I am also starting to plug holes in my stockpile and shore up some weak areas.

Let me explain what I purchased this time. I will start with the food items. I bought egg noodles because they figure in my food storage meals like Tuna Noodle Casserole. Lasagna is a popular birthday meal here and I always try to keep those noodles on hand. I bought eight containers of spices and herbs because I never want to run out of seasonings. Coconut oil cooking spray is a necessity in my mind. Seasoned bread crumbs also figure into some of my food storage meals as well as my garden fresh meals. Canned chicken is also considered a necessity in my food storage.

I always pick up those four packs of emergency candles when I can. Candles are not a great source of light, but they will light up a room enough to see and provide comfort.

I am also adding to my first aid stock too from Dollar Tree. I like the smaller packages because they are easier to pack for vehicles and bags. This time I got a couple of bandage wraps for sprains and other injuries. I also got 2x2 gauze pads after using some when I had nose surgery. By the way, they are a perfect size for drip pads under your nose! I also got a pack of 8 mini-size facial tissues for bags and bug-out bags. They are the perfect size in my opinion and light to carry.

I have started buying more of the hand soap refills rather than hand soap dispensers. I got two this time. I have plenty of hand soap dispensers already and I think refilling them is a better answer than keep buying them.

I also bought a fair amount of cleaning supplies this time. I needed more dusting spray and glass cleaner. I try to keep plenty of bathroom cleaner to keep the bathrooms sanitized. I wanted to buy more spray cleaners, but I didn't like their selection today. I have also started to keep more air freshening items on hand too so the house doesn't stink when things are starting too.

I also bought more Krazy glue because I also needed more of it. And really, can you have too much Krazy glue? It can fix and hold together a lot of stuff!

You can build up your stockpile cheaply. You don't have to spend $36 like I did, but $5-10 a week would be doing more than doing nothing. Look at what you need and start stockpiling!

By the way, you can check out my "What This Prepper Buys" here and here

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Thoughts - October 15

Happy Sunday, everyone!

What has been going on around here? We have been dodging more raindrops which hasn't been very good for getting things done again this week. The garden and the chicken coop are a muddy messes. We have some good weather coming this week and hopefully the ground dries up a bit.

We are still harvesting from the garden which is awesome. The grape tomatoes, a scant few tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, and bell peppers are all that is left. I pulled the peas along with the weeds today. I was a little disappointed with the second planting of peas, but the weather conditions have not been ideal. I did get a small bowlful that will work with a meal this week. I pulled one of the two grape tomato plants which was done. I also pulled the cucumber plants because they were done producing too.

The chickens are doing great. They are still eating their way through our yard and the feed. We are getting 14-16 large eggs a day. I do have a few new regular egg customers which is great. Now I am doing some research on meat layers and which breed I want to have. We will probably start with 25 meat chickens unless my coworker wants to have some too. Then we will be doing at least 50 birds.

Now, more than ever, am I glad we are learning these skills. I am very happy to have a well producing garden and chickens for eggs. I am thrilled that we are talking about expanding next Spring with meat birds and possibly a couple of feeder pigs to raise for the freezer. Even though homesteading and self-sufficiency is gaining popularity, I want to be ahead of the trend. I want these skills because you never know what is coming down the tracks.

Yes, my Spidey senses are tingling. We live in a very uncertain world which is getting more uncertain by the day.While there are some very good people out there, there are some people who aren't good. They are people who are willing to make the best out of a bad situation. And then there are people who would rather steal your hard work rather than do their own work. These are the people that worry me.

I am worried about a lot of things right now. World events, our bickering government, and more potential threats is making me want to close up the holes in our prepping. Homesteading and self-sufficiency is part of my prepping. I have been adding to our food storage, Rob has been searching the sale sites for things we need, and we are just trying to get organized and get stuff done. I hope you all are too.

Thank you for the emails after last week's post! I plan on getting back to each of you, but my online time was fairly limited this last week. It seemed like if I wanted to return emails or messages, I got interrupted!

In case you missed it, I posted one of my family's favorite meals last week. We eat this Easy Skillet Spaghetti almost every other week.

Please keep the people in California in your prayers. Losing your home to a fire is devastating and I can't even imagine trying to put your life back together after that.

What have you been up to this week? What is worrying you?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday Thoughts - October 8, 2017

Sunday greetings, everyone!

What happened this week? Rain. It rained, drizzled, and poured everyday except Wednesday this last week. Really, it was depressing. We have so much to do and that rain put a serious stop to it all.

I have a garden that needs to be weeded and cleared for next Spring. I want to get garlic planted pretty soon. I think I have almost all the tomatoes picked. Any tomatoes that are left will be for eating or fresh marinara. We still have zucchini and summer squash growing. The bell peppers are finally turning and I have been picking them for supper. I will probably freeze some peppers too. The potatoes are still not dug, but when the ground dries up a bit I will get those dug.

I am canning the last of the tomatoes as we speak. I have canned mild salsa, pizza sauce, chopped tomatoes, diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, and (today) pasta sauce. That is pretty good and should get us through most of the year except for the pasta sauce. We go through a lot of pasta sauce!

We are also getting 15-16 eggs a day. We have too many eggs, but I feel that is a good problem. I have been trying to sell the excess without a lot of luck. I was trying to sell a dozen eggs for $2.00 and 18 count for $2.50. Do you think that is too much for free range eggs? What would you pay for them?

We also still have a rooster to get rid of. Any takers?

We have been working on the kids' bedrooms in the meantime. We have purged a lot of clothes and sent a bag to Thred Up for consignment. We also have been making regular trips to the thrift store to get rid of more. We are working on cleaning and organizing now. Unfortunately, their rooms have gotten out of hand and this has been a long road. Frankly, they have too much stuff and we are working on that too.

Healthwise, I am feeling pretty good. My nose is healing and is still a little sore. I am starting to smell again which is weird. I have been working on developing some healthier habits like increasing my water intake and being more active. As of right now, I have lost 16 pounds. My clothes are starting to feel loose which I love!

What happened in Las Vegas this week has been weighing heavily on my mind. While I am concerned about the investigation and the actual facts, there is something that bothers me more. How can someone do that? Shoot into a crowd of people who were having a great time and just terrorize them like that? I don't get what twists someone's mind into thinking that shooting people like that is justifiable.

The blame game from this tragedy also bothers me. Instead of holding the individuals responsible for this shooting, people in general want to blame all gun owners or a political party or conservatives. Whatever. The problem with our country and society is the lack of personal responsibility. Granted, it is easier to blame a group of people rather than the individual. However, it is not right.

What have you been up to this last week? What are you planning for this week?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Saturday, October 7, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In October


October is here and so is fall. This is a great time to work outside, take care of any projects you wanted to get done during the summer, and wrap up any loose ends before winter arrives. October is usually pretty mild in Iowa with an occasional snow storm thrown in the last part of the month. I try to get as much done as I can in October because November is fairly unpredictable here.

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In October

1. Get the outside of the house, garage, and other outbuildings winterized. Home maintenance is an important part of prepping. Trim bushes away from the buildings. Compost and mulch any garden areas that need it. Seal up any cracks or holes. Get plastic over the windows that leak. Take care of any loose boards. Make sure the doors and windows seal up tight. You know what you need to do. October is a good time to get these things taken care of.

2. Stock up on pasta, rice, and potatoes. I know these are carbs, but they also provide calories and energy when you need it. I like to keep all forms of pasta on hand. I generally only keep brown rice on hand, but white rice does store longer if stored properly. I keep instant mashed potatoes and canned potatoes on hand as well as fresh potatoes. I also keep freeze dried potatoes on hand as well. Just store pasta, rice, and potatoes that yourself and your family will eat. I would like to remind you to keep extra water or broth on hand for cooking pasta and rice.

3. In light of recent events, I urge to add at least three more gallons of water per person in your household this month. If you have pets, add at least three more gallons of water for dogs, one more gallon of water for cats, and one more gallon of water for any other creatures besides livestock. One thing I have read from the recent natural disasters is that people did not have enough water and other liquids stored. Please add to your water storage this month!

4. Time to clean out your vehicles and switch over your emergency kits to winter supplies. Time to take out the sunscreen, insect repellent, and anything that can freeze. Time to add gloves, hats, scarves, and extra coats and blankets. There are several good lists about what to keep in your car during the winter, but this list is probably my favorite by The Homesteading Hippy.

5. Take stock of your own home winter emergency supplies and fill in the holes. We don't always realize how much stuff gets used throughout the year and what may need to be replaced. How is your unscented long lasting candle situation? I would check them to make sure you have enough and they didn't melt last summer. How are your C and D cell batteries? Most radios and heavy duty flashlights take them. How is your ready to eat food situation? Can you make it a week on just that food alone? How is your water storage? Do you have enough to drink, flush the toilets, and do any emergency washing?  There is a lot more things to think about, but these things would be at the top of my list in an emergency!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, September 22, 2017

To Prep or Not To Prep: You Always Have A Choice, But The Choice Is Yours!



I am fortunate to live in an area that doesn't have major natural disasters. Yes, we are at risk for tornadoes. Blizzards hit once in awhile during the winter. We are rarely without power and we are not down for long when bad weather hits. Droughts can be a problem, but never really for long. However, we have no major flooding (in my area), no earthquakes, and no hurricanes. Wildfires are a rarity.

In watching the hurricane coverage and listening/watching/reading first-hand accounts, my observations are all over the place. For my prepper friends, they learned a lot. They learned what they needed, what they were missing, and what they needed to stock up on. They learned what supplies they had were valuable and what was junk. Most would agree they were very happy to have their preps. Some of them were even able to help their neighbors, friends, and family with their preps.

Some people were not exactly prepared, but they got food, water, gas, and other supplies when they heard a hurricane could be coming their way. Some decided to smartly evacuate if they were in the worst of the path. Some did what they could to be prepared, but they were forced to evacuate anyway. I hope they had to-go bags ready and left when they saw the danger coming - either hurricane or the horrendous flooding that came afterwards in Texas.

However, I was shocked/surprised/baffled by the people who waited until the last minute to prepare for a hurricane. Some admitted to not preparing at all. For one thing, warnings were given for 7-10 days to get supplies and to get hunkered down. I understand a little of the "wait and see" attitude, but the forecasters were very positive a hurricane was heading in those directions. Even a Category 1 or 2 hurricane is a reason to get your supplies together, hunker down, and/or make immediate plans to leave the area. I understand jobs and school may hamper those plans, but you and your family's safety is a lot more important.

Secondly, if you live in a place where these kind of natural disasters can and do occur, why aren't people prepared?!?! You would bet I would have an area all ready to go in case of this happening. I would be sure to have a least two weeks of easy to eat food and a month's worth of food otherwise. I would have water stored and I would have extra gas on hand for vehicles and whatnot. I would have flashlights, lanterns, blankets, towels, sleeping bags, and more ready to be used in a closet.

You have a choice to be prepared. You always have a choice to be prepared. That choice is yours. If you are prepared, you greatly reduce your risk of being caught in a situation. If you aren't prepared, you have made the choice to be a victim. I know most people do not intentionally choose to be a victim, but they unconsciously do.

Some people choose to believe that some one or some government agency will come to save them. While many relief agencies try their best to get there to help, they are rarely there until after the disaster hits. Some of them are not able to reach people to many days after the disaster hits. In Texas and Florida, there are areas that have just seen help in the last day or so. Rarely does relying on outside help benefit the person waiting.

Puerto Rico just got hit by another hurricane and will need help for many months just for basic human needs. Puerto Ricans might have been ready for the first hurricane, but it is tough to be ready for another hurricane so soon. If you weren't ready well before this and had quite a bit of food and water stored, you would be waiting for help too. They have no real idea when power will be restored. The government is guessing in six months. While I am sure they will get water and food brought to them, six months is long time to be without power.

When making the decision to prepare, you always have a choice. I would rather err on the side of caution than to depend on outside help. I would rather have a lot of water and food in my home and not need it rather than be caught with a hungry family.

The choice is yours to prepare. It will always be your choice and your choice alone. With that said, you are then responsible for that decision. Lashing out on social media, YouTube, and mainstream media because help has not arrived yet is not being responsible for your decision. Saying you only had a couple days of food and water on hand when you knew you would probably be unable to access more for a week is your problem. Your choice and decisions should not be anyone else's problem.

Many people rode out the hurricanes with a few hardships, but nothing they were not expecting. They were prepared and ready to go. They might have done a little pre-hurricane stocking up just to be safe, but they were prepared for the hurricane. They were able to feed their family and even help out some of their neighbors. They might have been scared of what was coming, but they didn't let their fear rule them.

Some people choose to evacuate and get out of the city early. That was a smart decision too. They realized they were in a lot of danger and didn't want their family to experience that. They left with a good amount of time so that they were not caught in a lot of traffic. They had a safe place ready to go to and had already made prior arrangements. They had a plan in place to leave home if need be and I would bet they had a plan in place if they had to stay home for any reason. They still choose to prepare, but they choose to prepare by having a plan in place and executing that plan.

I don't pretend to understand what someone is going through unless I have experienced that situation myself. However, I know by being prepared, I would have the peace of mind to make a decision and stick with that decision because I had a plan. In cases of natural disasters, I would be having a Plan A, B, and C. I wouldn't want to be a victim and I wouldn't want to be waiting on outside help because of my lack of foresight and planning.

You always have a choice to be prepared or not, but the choice is yours. I know which one I have chosen. Hopefully, you will choose the same.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Monday, September 18, 2017

Ten Prepping Habits You Should Be Working On!


Habits can be good or bad. They can be a wonderful thing or a curse. However, I believe in having good habits as a prepper. We need to be diligent in our personal growth as preppers and habits do this for us. Habits keep us accountable and help us to become better preppers.

Some of these habits may seem a little different, but I see prepping as a personal thing to improve us as well as make us better people in general.

Ten Prepping Habits You Should Be Working On!

1. Organization. Being organized is only for your advantage in prepping. In an emergency or crisis, you will know where everything is. That is key for good emergency management, good response time, and good decisions. You will be able to see what you have and what you need to replace. You won't have to guess where everything is. You can tell someone where to find a key item and get the item quickly. I can not stress being organized enough.

2. Being Proactive. You want to be a proactive prepper. You want to see problems before they occur. You want to take care of problems before they happen. Need more water in your storage? Buy it now instead of waiting until a crisis is looming. A window needs to be fixed? Take care of it now before a storm blows it out or a thief finds a way in. You can scale this down to simple everyday things. Dishes need to be done? Do them now before the power may go out or the well pump quits. Laundry piling up? Put a load in the washer every day so you don't have to worry about it later. Taking care of things now will save you a major headache later.


3. Good Health. Your health is key in prepping. If you are too unwell to respond to a crisis or emergency, you might end up dead. Every prepper should be working on good eating habits, being in good physical condition, living in moderation, and working on/quitting bad habits like smoking and chewing.

4. Skill Building. Always Be Learning. You are never done learning as a prepper. There are new skills to learn and to hone. There is always new information to learn, process, and/or implement. As a prepper, you need to keep up to date on the current news, new trends, new information, and new threats that may be on the horizon. You may need to learn new skills to adjust to the new information you have learned. As a tip, I know preppers that learn a new skill every month. They learn about that skill and start practicing the skill. This is something we all should be doing.

5. Good Communication. Being able to effectively communicate is key. You don't want to have misunderstandings in times of crisis. You need to be able to listen well and talk clearly.

6. Becoming Debt Free. Life is better when you are debt free. There are times in life where debt is unavoidable, but trying not to accrue more debts is key. If you are in debt, try to find ways to get out of debt. I personally like Dave Ramsey's system, but that may not be for everyone. However, you should be finding new ways to make extra money and putting in the overtime now so you can have financial peace later.


7. Establishing Routines. Do you have good routines? Do you check the house every night to make sure the doors are locked and windows are secured? Do you have your clothes laid out the night before so you can get dressed quickly in the morning or during the night if you need to? Doing the same thing every day and every night is good for you. You established routines so you stay proactive about what needs to be done, what gets done everyday, and what problems need to be addressed. Routines keep your mind calm and reassured that everything was done and checked. Establish routines now to keep the chaos in check later.


8. Practice. Always keep practicing. Whether that includes your skills, your routines, your talents, etc. Most things you learn should not be learned once and thought to be done with them. You should always make time to practice what you need to know.

9. Conservation and Sustainability. Recycling. Reusing. Live somewhat minimally. Reduce our wants and focus on our needs. We really need to learn to quit being wasteful. When times of crisis come, we need to learn to reuse what we have and focus on just what we need to survive.


10. Learning To Live Without. This may be the hardest habit for anyone, not just preppers. We rely on our comforts so much and can get really cranky without them. We expect instant access to information instead of having to look it up in a book. We expect to be entertained when we want to be entertained. We expect to have air conditioning at our fingertips. We really need to learn to live without. If you learn this now, that habit will serve you later when the power is out or you are stranded somewhere for any length of time.


I consider these the top ten prepping habits that every good prepper should be working on! I am curious, however. What habits would you add to the list?

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, September 8, 2017

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In September


The end of August and beginning of September this year has taught us a few things. Being prepared is not only crucial, it is purely survival for those who have been or will be caught in the hurricanes and the wildfires. Living where I do, I get complacent about bug-out bags and having things together to be ready to evacuate.

Many people in Texas and now Florida are wishing they had listened to the warnings. They are wishing they had everything together in one place and ready to go. They are wishing they had food and water for a month. They are wishing they had their bug-out bags together and a secure place to go to.

This is why I do the Five Prepping Things To Accomplish each month. I want you all to be ready for the natural disasters as well as the life events that could change your life in a minute. While you get warnings to get ready most of the time, finding the supplies or the important documents at the last minute (or even week) could mean life or death for you and your family.

September is National Preparedness Month. Nothing is proving that more significantly that the natural disasters that are hitting the United States. While FEMA and the Red Cross encourage 3-10 days of food and water, I encourage you to make that a month or longer. The flood waters may recede and the fires may burn out, but who knows when you will be able to get gas and supplies again for awhile.

Five Prepping Things To Accomplish In September:

1. Stock up on fluids besides water. While you should have a plentiful supply of drinking water on hand, I encourage you to stock on other drinkable fluids as well. Broth, juice, pop, electrolyte drinks, and more not only help stretch the water longer, but they also help keep the spirits up and break up the water monotony. Broth is a great for cooking liquid as well. Rice and beans taste pretty good being cooked in chicken broth. It is also a great starter for soup.

2. Memorize and write down your emergency numbers. Having them on your phone is great and smart, but you need to memorize them or at least put them down on paper. You never know when your phone will die or be left behind. You will still need to know them. Taking this a step further, you should laminate that paper with the numbers and make 3-4 copies. You should have one in your wallet or purse, your bug-out bag,  and your important papers' binder or file.

3. Stock up on flashlights, lanterns, and solar lights. I would recommend a flashlight (or two) in every room. I have both oil-filled and battery operated lanterns. Please make sure you have extra oil and wicks for the oil-filled lanterns as well as have them filled and ready to go. Solar lights are great for walking around outside as well as inside the house. During the day, set them outside and be able to use them at night. I keep all of these light sources in my stash as well as around my house. Be sure to also have extra batteries and lighters for them too.

4. Solidify your bug-outs plans. Where will you go if you need to evacuate your home? Sleeping in your car or going to the woods is not really an answer. Will you go to a parents' or siblings' home? Will you choose a hotel 100 miles west of you? If you have a camper and can leave with it, where will you take the camper to? Don't pick just one place either. Have several options and prioritize those options. Plan A can be your parents 30 miles away. Plan B can be a friends house 45 miles away. Plan C can be the campgrounds 60 miles away. Plan D can be a hotel 90 miles away. Just have a plan, write it down, and memorize it.

5. Start accruing a cash stash. Having cash will help you in an natural disaster or emergency more than your cards or checks. I would have a lot of small bills that will not need to be broken by the store or another person. I would start with having $100 in small bills and increase that amount to $500 then to $1000. Having a fair amount of change will also help you too.

Check out these months:
1. Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in August
2. Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in July
3. Five Prepping Things To Accomplish in June

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Can You Stop Someone From Looting Your Home?



Inevitably, after every national disaster, riot, or crisis, we hear about looting. People without morals will steal other people's things for their own gain and profit. They will steal anything that looks to be valuable. They will steal from stores, storage areas, and homes. The looters will probably be in groups and, more than likely, armed. They will believe they have the upper hand and will use that to their advantage.

Can you stop someone from looting your home? I believe you can with some advance planning and training. Some situations will be unavoidable such as having to evacuate your home. However, there are ways to make sure you don't make it easy for them to loot your home.

If you have to evacuate your home, do what you can to seal it up. Please realize that flood and water damage from natural disasters will weaken the structure, but you need to do what you can. Most people know when they will have to evacuate so take the time to do these steps:

  • Board your windows up with plywood on the inside of your home. 
  • Put a deadbolt and a solid lock on your doors. 
  • Use 3 inch screws on your door's strike plates to make it harder to kick in the door. 
  • Barricade any decorative doors like French doors that are easy to kick in or break in.
  • Pay special attention to any easy access windows like basement windows. Make sure they are boarded up on the inside and barricaded with sand bags on the outside. 
  • Make sure the garage doors are down and locked. 
  • Put the valuables you are not taking with you in a locked, secured, and hidden box. If the valuables are too large, put them in a locked room or closet. 
  • Hope for the best. Hopefully, you will be able to come home soon and do what you can.

If you are home and looting starts in your area, you have to put the security of your family and home above anything else. You need to arm yourself and your family. You should already have adequate amount of guns and ammo for anyone that can shoot in your home. You need to talk to them about firing warning shots and then wounding someone if the need arises.

If you can, have other family and friends come over to help defend your home and your area. You will need to have a neighborhood plan set up ahead of time to keep the area safe. You also need to make your elderly neighbors a priority in keeping their homes safe. Do not rely on the police to get to your home when the looters are in the area. More than likely, they will be busy with rescues and other emergencies.

Looters will more than likely steal from unoccupied homes before they will steal from occupied homes. You need to make your home look occupied or always keep an adult at home at all times when looters are in the area. If you are in a neighborhood, people should be actively moving around the neighborhood in order to look occupied. If you are in a rural setting, do not leave home unless you have to. Even then, only one person should be leaving the home while the rest of the family/friends provide security.

Even if you are home, you need to follow the steps above for leaving your home to make your home as unappealing as possible to steal from. Looters are looking for easy targets first. They want to steal easy things to carry and they don't want to get caught. They want food, water, goods, and valuables. Some looters may be out looking for more than that.

Be aware that if the looters are desperate enough, they may not care if you are home or not. They may attempt a home invasion. You should try to defend your home as much as humanly possible, but you may have to flee. Please take into consideration your family when deciding to defend your home in the case of a home invasion. Their safety is worth more than your home. You are also no good to your family dead.

Looters are often driven by desperation and anger. Some are driven by profit and survival. They will have adrenaline running through their veins. If they have looted several places already, they will also have confidence on their side. A show of force may turn them away and it may not. You need to ready for both situations.

So can you stop someone from looting your home? I believe you can, but not always. The cost of defending your home may not outweigh the benefits. You may have to evacuate and will not be able to defend your home. You may be able to defend your home with help from neighbors, family, and friends. No matter what, planning and preparation will be key for defending your home against looters.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Friday, September 1, 2017

What Does National Preparedness Month Mean To Me? Time to Assess, Test, & Plan Your Preps!


Being prepared has different meanings for different people. Many people might prepare for the same things, but most of us have different circumstances. One person might try to prepare for everything possible while the next person just wants to get through the next crisis.

September is National Preparedness Month. This is a good time to assess, evaluate, test, and plan your preps. We have some national disasters happening right now and potential crisis coming on the horizon. As we are seeing, people have had to prepare with a plan to stay home and a plan to evacuate. Many people thought they only needed food and water for three days and now they find out they need it for a week or longer. Grocery store shelves were cleared a few days before the hurricane hit and prices rose for products in demand.

What does National Preparedness Month mean to me? It means I need to assess and evaluate my preps. Some of the questions I will ask myself are these:
  • Where am I with my water storage? 
  • Do I have enough one and five gallon water containers to keep us in a good water supply? 
  • How is my food storage? 
  • Could I reasonably last one month on what I have? 
  • Can I stretch it to two months? How is my fuel storage? 
  • Do I have gas cans and propane cylinders to fill? 
  • What do I need to replace in my preps? 
  • What do I need to add? 
  • What areas of my prepping need tweaking, boosting, and rethinking? 
I will consider taking the next step in my prepping. For everyone, the next step will be a different thing. For me, it is considering the purchase of a propane fireplace or wall heater that is non-electric. We need to be able to heat a few rooms without electricity and we cannot have a wood stove at this time. We also need to seriously consider a generator that we can directly wire into the well pump for water and a generator that will run a few things. Since these things take money, we will have to come up with a savings plan and shop around for good deals or used items.

National Preparedness Month means I need to test my preps. 
  • Do my preps still work? 
  • Do I need to replace batteries? 
  • Will my solar chargers work well and how long will they last without recharging? 
  • Do the external battery chargers work and how long do they last? 
  • Do the flashlights and lanterns all work? 
  • Do the lighters still work? 
  • Can I still make fire with a flint and steel? 
  • Does my camp stove still work? 
  • Can I make coffee on it? 
  • Are my gas cans in good shape or do they need replaced? 
Testing your preps now means you can take care of the problems now. I would rather know if things are not working correctly now rather than later. It is easier to replace batteries now than to be fumbling in the dark for them. It is easier to practice your skills now than to learn them in an emergency.

National Preparedness lastly means I need to keep planning my preps. 
  • How are my plans holding up?
  • Do I need reassess my plans?
  • What are my staying home plans?
  • What are my bugging out plans?
  • How are my kids getting home from school if something happens? 
  • Will my daughter be able to drive home from school or work if something happens?
  • How are we getting home from work if something happens?
  • What are my plans for the animals and livestock if something happens?
  • How will we handle security for our home and property?
Planning and re-planning my preps means I have everything taken care of "in case of an emergency". Plans should be reviewed every year as your family grows and life changes. You should also know and print your daycare's and school's plans for emergencies. You need to know where to pick up your kids and if you will be able to. Does your work have a plan for emergencies? You need to know that too and, if they don't have a plan, help create one.

National Preparedness Month is a great time to review, assess, test, and keep planning your preps. If you need help, just search the articles on my blog as well as doing a Google search. There is a lot of great information out there and, as preppers, we want other people to be prepared too!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

The 10 Cold, Hard, Ugly Truths About Prepping


Many people have a dim view of prepping. They think preppers are crazy. They think prepping is easy. A lot of people think they just need a little extra food, an emergency kit, and a case of bottled water and they will be fine. 

Then disaster is about to strike. All of a sudden, they are panicking. They wipe out the grocery shelves and empty gas stations when they find out the power may be out for a week. They wish they would have done more prepping before, but it looked like too much work. 

Prepping is work. It can be enjoyable work, a lot of fun sometimes, and a great bonding experience. The hard work pays off when you are feeling secure with your preps and knowing you can easily ride out a week with no power or a month with no job. You don't need to make a last minute panic trip to the grocery store. You don't need to wait in long lines for FEMA supplies. You don't need to apply for government assistance. You and your loved ones will be fine.

Those other people? The ones who thought you were crazy? They need to realize they need to do the work too. Most people don't understand the cold, hard, ugly truths about prepping. They just see it as a crazy thing or easy to do right before a storm. Then they find out the reality of what you do. They go through the hardships and wonder why they didn't do more. 

All your hard work pays off. You are prepared although, in your mind, there will be more you thought you could have done. Every learning experience is a teaching moment and you will learn more as you prepare more. You will know next time what you need to do. You will know what you need to buy and what measures you need to take now for the next crisis. 

Because you already know the 10 Cold, Hard, Ugly Truths about Prepping

1. You never be prepared enough. In your mind, you will always think there is more to do and to be done. That is okay. That mindset will keep you from getting comfortable with your level of prepping. That attitude will drive you to prepare more and harder. 

2. You can try to be prepared for everything, but more than likely you won't be. It is really not possible to be prepared for everything. Personal crisises will likely catch you off-guard. Disasters are unpredictable and can strike with only a few days notice. Trying to be prepared for all of that is mentally exhausting and almost impossible to do. You are better off doing the best you can to be prepared and not to be caught unaware. You should cover your basics and expand from there. 

3. Prepping is hard. If prepping was easy, everyone would be doing it. However, everyone is not (unfortunately). Prepping takes forethought, good decision making, smart thinking, skill learning, money, and time. You will have to decide what to prep for and how much to prep. You will have to save money for the big purchases. Prepping is not easy. 

4. Prepping takes time. You cannot accrue all your food storage in one day. Skills take time to learn, practice, and perfect. You will have to save money to make the big purchases or buy a home in an area you want to relocate to. You will have to make plans and practice them. Most people have the time to prep, but don't want to take it.  

5. You will never really be done prepping. There is always more you can do. If you are prepped for a month, prep for three months. Then take the next step. There is always more skills you can learn and perfect. You can always add to the food storage. You can always revise your plans. You can always do more prepping. It is just a matter of do you want to do more prepping?

6. You shouldn't prep out of fear, but you will prep out of fear at some point. Fear is a powerful motivator and that is not a bad thing. Just as long as you do not get crazy and buy out your local store. Being a little fearful will keep your focus sharp, but can also cloud your judgment. Just be wary of being too fearful.

7. You will have friends and family who will think you are crazy for prepping. Let them think it. They are not responsible for your survival. You are. Just be ready with a plan when they come knocking on your door. Also, practice saying "no". Be an encourager, not an enabler.

8. You cannot prep in just one day. Prepping takes time, money, skills, and resources. These cannot be acquired in one day. You might be ready for something short term, but long term prepping takes time and effort. Make a plan for your prepping and make lists for what you need to do, need to buy, and need to learn. 

9. Someone will be better prepared than you. Instead of being jealous, try finding out what he is doing and prep harder. Admire what he has done and take notes. 

10. You cannot be an armchair prepper. You cannot just buy, buy, buy and expect to be prepared. You bought enough food to survive five years, but how will you cook it? You have seeds for that survival garden, but have you ever planted something? You bought a gun, but have you ever shot it? You need to get around quickly, but are you in shape? Being an armchair prepper is a dangerous thing and will be more a danger to those he is trying to protect.

Most of you reading this already know these truths and have experienced them. However, you also know what you need to do and who you need to convince of these truths. They will be the ones standing on your doorstep, crying through the door that they need you to help them, and will not be nice about it. 

You already know the truth and they should know too.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Have An Overwhelming Urge To Prep? Here Are 25 Things To Do Now!


Some people are now finding an overwhelming urge to prep and/or prep harder. Whether it is world events or personal crisis driving that urge to prep, they just feel this need to prep or to get their preps in order.

This is not a bad thing! While some preppers will caution you against panic prepping, getting yourself and your family prepared for the next crisis is a good thing. In fact, you should take advantage of this urge to prep!

Some preppers, myself included, are feeling a need to get their preps in order and make certain we have enough water and food to last a while. I certainly don't have a good feeling right now about world events and that has made me look at what I need to do too.

So what can you do to take advantage of this urge to prep?

1. Get your water situation in order. Make sure you have enough drinkable water for at least two weeks, but a month would be better. They say a gallon of drinkable water per person per day. I stock up on the gallon size jugs and 24 pack cases of bottled water.

2. In addition to your water situation, keep some bottles of juice, tea, soda, and other drinks on hand. You can also stock up on powdered drinks to add to water. Water gets boring after awhile and having something to break up the water monotony will certainly keep the loved ones from getting crabby (hopefully)! Just be aware if you stock up on powdered drinks, that you might need more water to have with those.

3. Stock up on easy to eat food. If you lose power for any period of extended time, you will want food you can open, eat unheated, and be filling. That means having a healthy supply of canned vegetables, fruits, ready to eat soups, meats, and prepackaged meals (canned spaghetti, ravioli, etc.). You will want crackers, granola bars, cold cereal, muffins, survival bars, protein bars, and anything else you can eat without heating it up. I know most of you will have access to a grill, camp stove, volcano stove, and other methods to cook food, but you may not be able to go outside either. Again, I would have enough for at least two weeks, but a month would be better.

4. Buy a manual can opener. Scratch that, buy at least three manual can openers. Just in case one breaks or is misplaced. In addition to that, buy a bottle opener too. They also come in handy to open canning lids.

5. Buy trash bags. You will want the small kitchen size, the 13 gallon size, and the large black (33 gallon) ones. You may need the small ones for bathroom using purposes and to take the trash out every day to keep the home sanitary. The other sizes are just handy to have for all purposes.

6. Buy paper plates, cups, bowls, napkins, and towels. Buy plastic cutlery. You may not have a way to wash dishes. You will want something you can eat off of and throw away/burn easily.

7. Buy toilet paper. You really can't have too much of this stuff. You will always use it.

8. Buy a few more five gallon buckets. You can store water in them, use one as a toilet, wash laundry with a plunger in it, use to clean, and much, much more. Having a good supply (10-20?) of five gallon buckets will help tremendously.

9. Stock up your pets' and livestock food and water. You don't really want them to go hungry or struggle to feed them from your supply! We keep our dog food and chicken feed in steel trash cans with a tight fitting lid to keep the critters out of it and keep it fresher. We keep the cat food in five gallon buckets with a tight fitting lid for the same purposes.

10. Buy some more ammo and practice shooting more. Having a little more ammunition on hand will only help your cause. In times of crisis, you never know who might show up at your house. Ammo is also a good bartering item if you need to use it that way. Practicing your shooting will only help you feel better about your skills and gain confidence in using your gun of choice.


11. Have a way to cook outside the home? Whether you use your grill, camp stove, volcano or rocket stove, a campfire, and more, you need to find ways to cook food in case of no power or limited power. If you are using any of those methods, you need to keep your propane tanks filled and firewood stocked. You would not be out of line if you got more propane tanks (1, 5, 10, 20, or 30 pound) and/or had a very healthy stock of firewood and charcoal. Don't forget to get some matches and lighters too!

12. How are you going to see in the dark? Stock up on candles, flashlights, lanterns, lantern oil, matches, lighters, wicks, a few candleholders, and batteries.

13. Get your bug out bags and 72 hour kit ready to go. You may not be able to stay where you are and you will need to leave quickly. Having these ready to go will be a time saver and possibly a life saver!


14. Buy some external battery chargers, battery packs, and solar chargers for your cell phones. I know the other devices can be important, but having a working and charged cell phone can be a life saver and a game changer. Keep these things charged at all times for emergencies. Some of you might say that in certain situations a cell phone will be worthless, but I don't really want to take that chance. I would rather have one charged and ready to go than to be stranded without a way to communicate or get warnings.

15. Have things to entertain yourself and your kids. You should have a healthy supply of books, games, puzzles, craft projects, word searches, workbooks, and other toys to keep everyone from killing each other. If it is just adults, most of that stuff is still good to have on hand. If you like to knit, crochet, and do needlework, have some projects on hand to work on. You don't have to spend a lot of money on this stuff. The thrift stores are usually well-stocked on these things.

16. Consider your personal needs. Keep plenty of baby wipes, body wipes, toilet wipes, hand sanitizer, sanitary items for women, deodorant, baby powder, foot powder/spray, and whatnot on hand for times when the power is out. Other people's body odor can really be a bad thing. Being unsanitary can cause illnesses. Staying clean as possible will help you feel better.

17. Check the first aid kit and get it stocked up! Bandages, antibiotic ointment, gauze, tape, adhesive bandages, and more are all things you do not want to run out of. You can make your own first aid kit or buy one, but make sure it is ready to go at any notice. I would keep a really good one in the house and shop. I would also keep them in the cars just in case you need backup in the house.


18. Check your over the counter medications. If you are fond of taking ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen now, you don't really want to run out during a crisis. I would make sure to have multiple bottles of those pain relievers. I would also have on hand cold medicines, cough syrups, acid reducer medicines, multivitamins, Vitamins C & D, and any supplements or other medicines you take on a regular basis. Research and start practicing natural remedies too.

19. Keep up on laundry, dishes, and anything that takes water. If you lose power for an extended period of time, the last thing you want to worry about is how to do dishes and laundry without running water. Make sure the dishes are done every day and the laundry is done at least 2-3 times a week.


20. Get your plans in place. What will you do if you are at home and need to leave? What if the kids are at school? What if you are at work?  How will you get home and how many ways can you find to get home? What will you do if you are at home? What if you are stranded in another town or at another relatives' house? Play all the scenarios you can think of in your head and make a plan on paper for them. Memorize those plans and make sure your family knows them too. Then practice, practice, practice those plans.

21. Do you have addictions? How will you cope? Whether it is to nicotine, drugs, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, social media, and more, you will need to figure out if you can quit cold turkey, deal with the withdrawal, or have a plan in place to slowly wean yourself off these things. Ideally, now would be a good time to quit or at least cut back, but that is your personal decision. Just be aware that you may not have access to those things and will need to live without them.


22. Do you have a way to heat your home without power? If you don't, now would be a good time to figure out how you are going to deal with the cold. There are many ways to keep yourself warm, but finding a heater that works indoors without electricity would be ideal. If you can do a propane fireplace, that would be good. If you can do a woodstove, get one installed. Just make sure you have a way to stay warm. Also, have a battery powered carbon monoxide detector and extra batteries. No one wants to die that way.

23. Go for a walk. Get some exercise. Work out and get your body in shape. Whatever you need to do to handle the physical demands that a disaster or crisis may require of you. There are plenty of armchair preppers, but being in shape will give you the advantage. You will feel better, have a clearer head, resist illness, and be able to handle the stress better.


24. Practice living without electricity and running water. Spend a day doing that will be a big eye-opener to you and your family. One day will not compare with being without power for a week or longer, but you will have an understanding of what you need to do to be prepared.


25. Do you have a baby? Someone with special needs? An elderly person living with you? What special considerations do you need to make for them? Do you have extra diapers, wipes, and formula? Do you need to deal with oxygen tanks? Write down everything they need in a day and a week and figure out how you will deal with those things. Having a plan and being prepared now may mean the difference between life and death later.

Some of these things will be easy to do and easy to implement. Some of these things are harder and will take time to practice and implement. Some of these things will cost money and some are free. Some of these things involve self-improvement which is part of prepping too. Most of these ideas involve living without electricity and running water which will be a big problem for most people.

If you are getting started in prepping, these things are key for getting started. If you have been prepping for awhile, you should take the time to review these things and find your holes. You may think you are totally prepared, but there is no room for arrogance in prepping.

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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