Tuesday, January 16, 2018

5 Threats This Week

Here are some things to be aware of this week:

  1. Flu season is in full swing and it can be deadly.  If you are having severe flu symptoms, don't hesitate to seek medical attention.
  2. A huge snowstorm is hitting the east coast.  If you live in affected areas, try to stay off the roads and securely inside if possible.
  3. The recent mudslides in California are a good reminder that when an evacuation is ordered--whether voluntary or mandatory--it probably means you should get out.  These orders aren't issued lightly and are done for people's own safety.
  4. Here's a good reminder to take what the media says with a grain of salt.  It's hard to tell what to believe anymore.
  5. Another day, another false missile attack warning.  Among the lessons learned: warning errors can happen, people weren't prepared for such an event and didn't know how to react, and panic..so much panic.

Monday, January 15, 2018

10 Ways to Bulk Up Your Emergency Fund

As I've said before, the best way to survive many disasters is to have the money on hand to fix whatever problems come along with the disaster.  Need to evacuate?  You will need money for a hotel.  Have to hole up in your house for a few weeks?  You will need money to stockpile food, water, toiletries, and toilet paper.  Need to leave the country in a hurry?  Paying full fare for an airline ticket will be financially painful but if you have the money on hand, no problem.  Here are 10 ways to bulk up your emergency fund and help you become more financially prepared for a disaster:

  1. See if you are due any unclaimed money.
  2. Have a garage sale.
  3. Sell your body (parts).
  4. Sell stuff online that you no longer need.
  5. Get a seasonal, temporary, or part time job.
  6. Set up a side hustle business.
  7. Ask for a raise at your current job.
  8. Get a higher paying job.
  9. Use apps to make money.
  10. Cut your monthly spending.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Old Fashioned Tools and Supplies

When it comes to prepping for long-term disasters, the tools and supplies you want to stock up on are the buy-it-for-life, no-electricity-needed items most often purchased by country folks and the Amish.  Here is where to find such things:

Friday, January 12, 2018

I'm New to Prepping, Where Do I Start?

On many preparedness forums, in between the technical discussions about survival firearms and economics discussions about TEOTWAWKI, you will occasionally find someone who just started thinking about general preparedness and has no idea how to begin.  Their idea of being a prepper is somewhere between Rambo and Bill Proenneke, but their reality is a wife, a few kids, and barely enough income to make ends meet.  So if you fall into this category (and we all do at some point so no shame there), here is where to begin:  Start with the things that will help your family in the immediate future...

  • Do you have smoke detectors on each floor of your home and do they work?
  • Do you have a first aid kit that can take care of the flu, minor cuts, minor burns, and other small injuries?
  • Does everyone in your family have a copy of contact information for friends and family both near and far (phone number and email address for all immediate family members, for friends and relatives in town, and friends and relatives in the next town/state)?
  • Do you have an emergency fund?  $1000 to $2000 may seem like a lot of money, and it is to some people, but that amount will cover most minor emergencies such as a hotel for a few nights if you have to evacuate your home, a new hot water tank if yours decides to die one day, a fix to your vehicle when it decides not to start one day, etc.
  • Do you have some stored water for emergencies?  You can easily buy cases of water for a couple of dollars or a gallon of water for a buck.  A gallon of water, per person, per day, is recommended so if there are five people in your family, getting seven five-gallon jugs of water will take care of your family for an entire week.
  • Do you have enough food in your house to not have to go to the store for groceries for one week?  Two weeks?  One month?  Buying 21 cans of soup will take care of three meals per day for one person for a week; that will cost about $30.  That would probably be a miserable week, so consider mixing things up--packages of oatmeal, peanut butter and jelly, crackers, canned beans/fruit/vegetables, and some cookies and candy to keep people's spirits up.  Be sure to rotate this food into your usual food so that it doesn't go bad then replenish your stores regularly.
As you cover the basics, consider adding a few extras every week--make sure everyone in the family has a flashlight and extra batteries for a power outage, buy some tarps and rope to protect things during a storm, invest in small backpacks, even if you have to shop at the Goodwill, so each family member will be able to build an evacuation bag.  And most importantly, learn as much as you can.  You don't need much stuff to survive a disaster but you do need a lot of knowledge.  Learn CPR, learn about the most likely local disasters that could occur, and volunteer with agencies in your area that will teach you survival skills (CERT course, Search and Rescue, etc).

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Power Outage at CES

But for the irony in the fact that the largest consumer electronics show on the planet had no power for a few hours yesterday, Las Vegas probably wouldn't have made the national news.  Although it wasn't a major power outage, it left the Convention Center quite dark for a few hours.  This is a good reminder that a major power outage can hit at any time, even when you are least prepared for it.  Here are the items you want to have with you in such an event:

  • A glow-in-the-dark lanyard (you don't want to be run over by people or things in the dark so this way they can at least know you are there)
  • A small flashlight (yes you can use your cell phone for this but why run the battery down when a small, lightweight flashlight can do the job for you?)
  • A battery power bank (to at least keep your cell phone charged)
  • Small padlocks or zip ties (a blackout is the perfect time for someone to get into your day pack and snag your stuff--not that they will--but better safe than sorry so the minutes the lights go off, secure your gear)
  • A bottle of water and some snacks (if the power is out for a while the vending machines won't be working and you might be hungry/thirsty so plan accordingly)
  • Some cash (concession stands may still be taking cash for food and drinks but if there is no power you can't get your money from an ATM so carry actual money)
  • A whistle (always a good way to signal for emergency help if needed)
  • A photo of the floor plan showing emergency exits (the lit up kiosks showing the floor plan of the center won't be lit up if there is no power; make it a habit to always take a photo of the event center so you will know where the exits are in case of an emergency)
  • A GPS tracking app for friends and family (you may not be able to find people in the dark but if everyone in your group has a GPS tracking app on their phone you can all easily regroup)
  • Appropriate shoes and clothing (it goes without saying that any time you go to a large convention you want to have good walking shoes on but you should also carry a jacket in case you are evacuated from the building and out into the cold and rain)